Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports


Roundtable: 7 Predictions for the 49ers’ 2022 Offseason

Feb 20, 2022 at 2:08 PM--


With the 2021 NFL season officially over, it's time to turn from playoff speculation to roster organizing. Despite a disappointing NFC Championship Game loss to the Los Angeles Rams, there's plenty to be optimistic about for next year's assemblage of talent. With a youth movement on the horizon in the quarterback position, 9 picks in the upcoming draft, and the entire free agency period still ahead of us, now is the perfect time to make some bold, assertive, and definitely-going-to-look-great-in-hindsight predictions.

With that, I've turned to the writers of 49ers Webzone to weigh in on some of San Francisco's hottest topics. I'm joined by managing editor David Bonilla, analyst Marc Adams, 49ers Redzone podcast co-host Rohan Chakravarthi, editor Brian Renick, and 2019 Fansided NFL Writer of the Year Chris Wilson. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

1. Free agency is a Wild West of outsized contracts, under-the-radar steals, and prove-it deals that can make or break a franchise's season with the right (or wrong) player. Who will the 49ers' biggest free agent signing be this offseason?

David Bonilla: San Francisco will hope to find a starting-caliber cornerback in free agency. But don't expect that to happen in the first few days of the new league year. The 49ers will likely look to score a deal, avoiding the initial frenzy and bidding wars.

JD Salazar: I'm taking a big swing right off the bat by guessing that San Francisco will pay up for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. While the versatile Deebo Samuel reinvented the "wide back" position in the Bay Area, Patterson quietly did the same in Atlanta, rushing for 681 yards and catching another 548. As a dual-threat player, Patterson would reinforce both the wide receiver and running back rooms as a durable weapon while enabling a truly unpredictable offensive scheme.

Marc Adams: Laken Tomlinson.

Rohan Chakravarthi: At the EDGE position, Arden Key was the premier signing last season on an extremely cheap contract. If he prices himself out of the 49ers' range on the market, look for the 49ers to aim for other value signings, or even potentially a splash signing opposite Nick Bosa.

Brian Renick: The 49ers have a pretty specific philosophy when it comes to spending resources on the defensive side of the ball: build back to front. I don't think they will change that philosophy this offseason, so a high-priced cornerback is likely not in the cards. I think the splash they will make will come with a player to pair with superstar DE Nick Bosa. They are going to give a two-year deal to an older pass rusher who is still productive and can fit into that situational pass rusher role Dee Ford was supposed to fill, while simultaneously weakening a division rival— welcome to San Francisco, Von Miller.

Chris Wilson: The 49ers' biggest free-agent signee will be pending free agent Jason Verrett. The team has a good chance of re-signing him due to his injury history, and the Niners have too many current players with contracts still unaddressed to allow the team to be active on the free agent market.

2. Among the 49ers' key free agents are G Laken Tomlinson, CB Jason Verrett, DT D.J. Jones, RB Raheem Mostert, CB K'Waun Williams. Which of them will end up re-signing with San Francisco in 2022?

JD Salazar: Given how intimidating LA's defensive line was in the playoffs, Laken Tomlinson has to be the top priority on John Lynch's agenda. Tomlinson has been a durable and effective guard his entire 49ers' tenure, and should be for several more years. I think we'll also find ways to keep Williams and Mostert on team-friendly deals, but Verrett is older and injured, and Jones will probably price himself out of the 49ers' budget. Give me Tomlinson, Mostert, and Williams for 2022.

David Bonilla: Of that group, Tomlinson and Jones will be priorities. A deal for Jones might be manageable but Tomlinson will garner some demand. I believe both sides will get it done, though. Those are my two picks. The 49ers probably would like to hold onto Williams, but will the cornerback be content with another one-year deal just to stay at his home of the past five seasons?

Marc Adams: Tomlinson and Mostert.

Rohan Chakravarthi: I think three of the five stay. Laken Tomlinson is expected to start talks soon with the 49ers, D.J. Jones wants to stay, and the other three are valuable veteran depth pieces. They could get money elsewhere, hence why I believe only three of the five re-sign.

Brian Renick: I think Jason Verrett comes back on an incentive-laden deal, and Raheem Mostert comes back for one more run. The roadblock to Mostert's return could be Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins, but at this point in Mostert's career, I think playing for a Lombardi Trophy will be a more important motivator. Kyle Shanahan has never displayed a willingness to invest much capital in the guard position in his offense, and Tomlinson is likely going to price himself out of San Francisco, as is defensive tackle D.J. Jones. K'Waun Williams has been great for the 49ers, but he is on the wrong side of 30, and the 49ers are likely looking to get younger at the slot corner position.

Chris Wilson:
Tomlinson: Yes, but they will overpay.
Verrett: Yes.
Jones: Yes, and he will get paid.
Mostert: No. His agent will continue to be an issue. K'Waun: Yes, I think he will sign one final deal with San Francisco.

3. The biggest domino for San Francisco is undeniably quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and his $27 million contract. With 3 first-round picks invested into quarterback Trey Lance, Garoppolo appears to be on his way out. Where will he end up, and what will his trade return be?

Marc Adams: Indianapolis, for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023-third.

David Bonilla: If Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson remain with their respective teams, I think Garoppolo will end up with the Pittsburgh Steelers, probably for a third-round pick and another late-round selection. The payment could be a second-round pick if the quarterback market dries up quickly.

JD Salazar: As a proponent of chaos, I'm excited by how this one could end up. I think Rodgers and Wilson also stay, which leads me to this 3-team proposal: Garoppolo to the Washington Commanders for a 2023 third-round pick, a fourth or fifth-round pick from Washington to Tampa Bay, and Tom Brady's contract rights to San Francisco. Go big or go home, right?

Rohan Chakravarthi: The most logical spots are Pittsburgh and Washington. Both have good rosters around the quarterback, which could work in Jimmy Garoppolo's favor, as he would be a serviceable upgrade from their respective starters last season. I'd say the return should be a conditional pick, contingent on Garoppolo's snap count and if the team makes the playoffs, similar to Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz deal (Wentz was traded for a second-round pick that became a first-round pick if he played 75% of his team's offensive snaps, or at least 70% of offensive snaps while the Colts made the playoffs).

Brian Renick: I think the Steelers make the most sense for Garoppolo, but I think the Washington Commanders are going to end up being the team that is most desperate to get a competent quarterback under center for head coach Ron Rivera. Add to that the relationship GM John Lynch has with Washington GM Martin Mayhew, who was a part of the 49ers' front office from 2017 up until last offseason, and you have the recipe to make a deal. Ultimately, I think the compensation is a 2022 second-round and a 2022 fifth-round pick, but if a bidding war does happen, Washington could be willing to part with the 11th overall pick.

Chris Wilson: Although it's rare for teams to trade their prior "franchise quarterback" inside the conference, I think Jimmy G is most likely to land in Washington or Tampa Bay. I think the 49ers could get a late first-round selection for Garoppolo, but it's more likely they will end up with a second-rounder in compensation.

4. Despite last year's investments, the 49ers are working with a lot of draft ammo; 9 total selections, with four of them compensatory picks for departed coaching staff (1 third-rounder and 3 seventh-rounders). But draft picks can come and go quickly on the trade market and especially on draft days. Will the 49ers end up selecting more or less than 7.5 players by the end of the 2022 draft?

Rohan Chakravarthi: I think they'll hit the under, but just under at either six or seven picks. There's a lot of valuable depth in this draft class, so it's interesting to see whether they try to gain late value, but with a championship window on the line, I feel they go for more proven talent to help the roster currently while also building for 2023, like they did last year.

David Bonilla: Under, but not my much. Seven selections after some movement on draft days.

JD Salazar: The 49ers have a roster that's already in win-now mode, so despite their incredible valuation of fifth-round selections, they don't have a ton of room for developmental projects (and another Jalen Hurd saga makes my stomach twist in knots). I think they lose a seventh-rounder in a trade and lose two more to move up on draft day, drafting 6 players in all.

Marc Adams: Under.

Brian Renick: I'm going to take the under here, but just barely. I think the team will end up with more than the nine picks they currently have after trading Jimmy Garoppolo, but they have had a propensity to move around the board under GM John Lynch, so I think they end up drafting seven players in the 2022 draft.

Chris Wilson: Under, and please let me know if anyone knows where I can place a prop bet on this.

5. Trey Lance is locked in as the franchise's future, but good teams carry solid quarterback depth to insulate the position. Who will the "other" QB be next year?

Brian Renick: With Assistant Head Coach Anthony Lynn coming to San Francisco, I think the logical choice is to bring in Tyrod Taylor, who played under Lynn in Buffalo and Los Angeles. Taylor has a similar game to Trey Lance, so Shanahan would not have to change the offense to cater to the strengths of his game if Lance were to go down, and he would serve as an excellent mentor for Lance as he continues to learn how to be a pro.

David Bonilla: Besides Tom Brady? I'm joking. I agree with Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Tyrod Taylor makes a whole lot of sense. He's a veteran Lance can learn from but also a serviceable quarterback, should he be called to enter a game.

Marc Adams: Tyrod Taylor.

JD Salazar: I'll stick to my guns and double down on Brady. But I have to admit that Tyrod Taylor would be a strong choice otherwise. Ryan Fitzpatrick would be another interesting name, but he still seems determined to play a starting role.

Rohan Chakravarthi: I think it'll be a veteran quarterback with good ball protection that doesn't necessarily provide opportunities for mistakes. However, like former 49er quarterback Tyler Bray said, this offense is extremely complex. So, I would not be surprised if the backup was either a quarterback from a former Shanahan offense or even Nate Sudfeld.

Chris Wilson: Preferably for Shanahan, someone he's worked with in the past, but that means there aren't many players to choose from. Instead, I think the team will go with a quarterback who is mobile and could be thrown into the game in a pinch, but does not pose a threat to Lance long-term, e.g., "TyGod" or Marcus Mariota.

6. After their respective breakthrough seasons, both Deebo Samuel and EDGE rusher Nick Bosa are in line for hefty contract extensions at or near the top of their positions. Who will get extended first?

Chris Wilson: Deebo, because he's less expensive, and we have the opportunity to buy at the extreme high.

David Bonilla: Samuel. The 49ers have a little more leverage with Bosa because of the fifth-year option.

Marc Adams: Deebo Samuel.

JD Salazar: I'm going Bosa here. 15.5 sacks after tearing your ACL makes you as sure of a commodity as it gets, so I'd be comfortable penciling him in for way longer than Samuel. I think he'll get a monster extension that makes the back end of his contract relatively affordable, maybe even as high as 7 or 8 years.

Brian Renick: I hinted at this in an earlier question, but I think Samuel will get extended first, not because Bosa isn't deserving, but because he is likely to reset the market at his position and the 49ers are going to wait until the cap explodes next offseason in order to make that happen. Not only that, but Samuel had the better season in 2021 in terms of accolades and overall impact.

Rohan Chakravarthi: Deebo. Nick Bosa potentially becomes the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, but there's no rush to get a deal done, because all of the big-name defensive ends of Bosa's caliber aren't extension-eligible. Samuel, however, is competing with fellow third-year receivers D.K Metcalf, A.J. Brown, and Terry McLaurin to receive an extension. Not to mention, Davante Adams is a free agent and will be looking to set the market.

7. Alright, last one. Team cohesion is one of the biggest factors to a healthy franchise, and powerful voices in the organization can unsettle the decisions made at the top. With that said, how many more times will Joe Montana publicly comment on Trey Lance's development this offseason?

David Bonilla: No comment.

Marc Adams: Zero. Unless he's asked.

Brian Renick: No comment.

Rohan Chakravarthi: No. Just No.

JD Salazar: Hey, it was only mostly a joke! (3)

Chris Wilson: As many times as it takes to stay as relevant as Steve Young.



Be sure to comment with your own offseason predictions for posterity. I certainly can't wait to look back fondly at the days before we realized Andy Dalton would lead us to a Super Bowl in 2022. Happy guessing!

Poll

  • Where will Jimmy Garoppolo end up in 2022?
  • Washington Commanders
    42%
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
    32%
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    11%
  • Indianapolis Colts
    10%
  • Other
    4%
  • 1,074 votes
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.



1 Comment

  • Bill Bruneau
    Lance and Aiyuk are training in the same place, as well as Sudfeld. Seems pretty clear that Sudfeld will be dialed in with Aiyuk and probably the others as part of Lance's practice. Sudfeld has had a year to digest Shanahan's system as well. Seems pretty clear to me. Maybe looking for a third developmental QB coming cheap
    Feb 20, 2022 at 7:20 PM
    0

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