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Peter King: A healthy 49ers team would be the best in the NFC West, could be the best next year

Nov 25, 2020 at 6:40 AM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are far from the best team within the NFC West. At 4-6, they sit at the bottom of the division, looking up at the slugfest for first place between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks. The Arizona Cardinals are in a close second-place spot.

Of course, injuries have been a significant part of the 49ers' storyline this season. The roster has been decimated unlike any in recent memory, and the defending NFC champions look almost unrecognizable on the football field.

A healthy 49ers team probably would be in the thick of things. That's what Peter King of NBC Sports believes. In fact, a healthy Niners squad may have once again been the measuring stick of the division.

Unfortunately for head coach Kyle Shanahan and his squad, this season's high hopes may have to wait until 2021.

"They definitely could be the best team in the division next year. Absolutely," King said on the Damon, Ratto & Kolsky show. "I'm not saying they will be, but they could be if they get (Jimmy) Garoppolo straightened out."

King believes Shanahan and the 49ers will have to at least discuss the quarterback situation during the upcoming offseason but feels Garoppolo will probably return next year. Much of that might depend on San Francisco's draft position next April, but the veteran writer sees offensive tackle and cornerback as two of the team's top draft needs.

"I think this is a very important offseason, as weird as it may be because of COVID and those other restrictions about how much you can work with players, but this is a really important offseason for the Niners at that position," King noted. "You also have to say it's important to get these guys who were such vital players back healthy.

"Look, I don't know that it's realistic to expect that Richard Sherman can give you one more top-six or -eight cornerback year, but the Niners need that. And I think if Sherman and (Nick) Bosa come back -- Bosa, I would expect, would be every bit as good as he was (last year).

"If Richard Sherman can come back next year, and be very close to what he has been as a Niner, there's no reason to think -- and add in Fred Warner and the other talent that they have -- there's absolutely no reason to think that they can't be and won't be the best team in that division because if they were uninjured right now, if they had the sort of physical balance sheet of a team like, let's say the Rams, I mean, really, who would be better right now? The 49ers or the Rams?

"The Rams would be very, very competitive. But if the Niners had Sherman, Bosa, Garoppolo, (George) Kittle right now playing, I'd take them over the Rams."

The 49ers and Rams are set to clash on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

You can listen to the entire conversation with King below.


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