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The Future is Bright and Exciting for the 49ers

Chris Beno
Dec 16, 2021 at 6:45 PM--

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With four games left on the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers not only look to make a push for the playoffs, but are wired to make a deep run once they are in. Considering the team has some unknowns going into next season with a new starting quarterback and over 30 free agents, there's a lot to look forward to going into next season that should bring a lot of hope and excitement to this fan base.

Here's a look at some of the things I'm personally looking forward to in the next few months.

The rest of the 2021 season

With only four games left on the schedule and currently sitting in the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture, the 49ers could make a move into the fifth seed by the end of the season. However, they need a lot to go right to ensure that happens.

This week they face the Atlanta Falcons at home. The Falcons are the best of the worst teams in the NFC with a 6-7 record. The teams they have beaten are the Panthers, Jaguars, Saints, Dolphins, Jets, and Giants. The games they lost have virtually been nothing short of a blowout. There should be no reason the 49ers should lose to this team.

With that said, this isn't a game to take lightly. For much of the season, the 49ers have been consistently inconsistent, having lost games with self-inflicted, fundamental mistakes.

According to, if the 49ers beat the Falcons on Sunday, they have an 88% chance of making the playoffs. If they somehow lay an egg against one of the worst teams in football, not only do they not deserve to be in the playoffs, but they drop to having a 31% chance of making it. Do not sleep on this game or this team.

Following the Falcons game, the 49ers travel East to face the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football. This will be the toughest game left on the schedule, and on paper appears to be a scheduling loss because of having to travel East on a short week. A win here would be a massive confidence boost to a playoff-bound team.

The remaining two games are against the Houston Texans and then the L.A. Rams to wrap up the season. That Rams game will have huge playoff implications, whether it's for playoff seeding or just even to make it in. However, there is no reason the 49ers can't finish the season with a 3-1 record during the final stretch.

Trey Lance

Whether you want to hear it or not, the 49ers will have a new starting quarterback next year. Unlike current starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Lance has the higher ceiling and big-play ability with both his arms and legs. That adds an extra element to this offense that is very exciting. With that said, it should be concerning that he could not beat out Garoppolo for the starting job this season.

However, his inability to get on the field will only delay the growth pains that he will inevitably encounter as a starter in the NFL. While Lance will struggle at times, he will without a doubt provide a level of excitement at quarterback that this fan base hasn't seen since Colin Kaepernick.

Raise in Salary Cap

The salary cap in the NFL will go from $182.5 million this year to $208.2 million in 2022. Adding $25.7 million to the cap is huge for a team like the 49ers, who have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball.

For much of the Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch era,, the 49ers have opted to stay cheap in filling those holes through the draft. But, with no first-round pick in 2022, the 49ers should be active in free agency.

Free Agency

With a $25.7 million cap raise and the potential trade or release of Garoppolo, which would free up an additional $27 million, the 49ers actually have a ton of money to spend for once. Also, look for defensive end Dee Ford to be either released or retire, which would be more cap savings. Finally, potential contract restructures could free up even more money (Arik Armstead is a good candidate).

The 49ers could easily have anywhere from $60 million to $75 million in cap space just from these moves alone. This bodes well for a team that has over 30 players entering free agency and no first-round picks for the next two seasons.

Positions or roles they should target are corner, defensive end, wide receiver (return man), and potentially right tackle if Mike McGlinchey can't go. Fixing the right side of the line should also be addressed, especially if rookie guard Aaron Banks can't get on the field.

For me, free agency is my favorite part of off-season activities, and the 49ers look to be heavily involved in it.

DeMeco Ryans

I remember some people yelling from the high heavens for this man to be fired. Shame on you. What Ryans has done in his first year as a defensive coordinator is nothing short of amazing.

In the first game of the season, he lost his number one corner for the season. The defense has battled injuries in the secondary all season long, had to rely on rookies to step up in key moments or even start, had injuries at linebacker, signed free agents to come in to be either starters or key contributors; and still put together one the top defenses in the league.

The 49ers have the No. 6 overall pass defense in the NFL right now. This is amazing, considering the secondary is barely held together with toothpicks and masking tape. The pass rush was supposed to be the band-aid that hid the weaknesses in the secondary, but aside from Nick Bosa, the pass rush isn't as impactful as everyone thought at the start of the season.

Throw in the emergence of linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga who have stepped up and played great, and you have one hell of a rookie campaign for DeMeco Ryans. I can't wait to see what he is able to do with the talent they bring in via free agency.
  • Chris Beno
  • Written by:
    Coming from Elk Grove, California I grew up a Bay Area sports fan. I've been cheering for the 49ers for as long as I can remember. In 2005 I joined the Army when I was 18 and got stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I just kind of hung around here. I've always enjoyed writing and have typically focus on writing music. I am truly blessed to get to cover the 49ers, and have my articles published on the 49ers Webzone. I appreciate all of the Faithful that take the time to read the articles that myself and other contributors put out there. The 49ers have without a doubt the best fanbase, and best content creators around.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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