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49ers All-In: Time to Push the Chips to the Center of the Table

Jun 23, 2024 at 3:00 PM

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Going into the 2024 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers are coming off another deep playoff run as well as yet one more heartbreaking loss with all the chips on the table. In the last five seasons, the 49ers have amassed two Super Bowl appearances and four NFC Championship trips. That accomplishment is almost unparalleled within the last handful of NFL seasons, with the Kansas City Chiefs being just a cut above in terms of sustained success. Of course, the Chiefs have also been able to seal the deal and collect three Lombardi trophies since 2019, two at the expense of the 49ers (much to the chagrin of the Faithful). With that in mind, it is important to point out that, in the NFL, all the consistent success is generally viewed as an overarching failure absent a Super Bowl ring or two (see the '90-'93 Buffalo Bills).

The key question here is: Is it realistic to expect the 49ers to sustain this level of success going forward? On the one hand, it is fair to say that the proven stability that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have brought to the franchise bodes well for the 49ers' short- and long-term prospects. After a couple of years of roster-building, the 49ers have been perennial contenders under the current regime – with the injury-ridden and nomadic 2020 season being the lone exception. Nonetheless, many experts have pointed out that the 49ers window of success is closing and underline the 2024 season as perhaps the most critical of the Lynch/Shanahan tenure.

The primary reason for this popular make-or-break take is that after the 2024 season, the 49ers will likely have to break the bank for Brock Purdy – especially if he replicates his 2023 level of play. Now, I am far from a salary cap expert. However, considering the current going rate for top ten quarterbacks in the NFL, it is safe to assume that Purdy could very likely command close to $60 million per season. Once that figure goes into effect, it will be much more difficult for the 49ers front office to field the deep and stacked roster we have become accustomed to.

Beyond Purdy's contract, there are additional questions revolving around the 49ers roster as currently constructed. Will Brandon Aiyuk remain in red and gold beyond this upcoming year (provided he is not traded before training camp)? Is Deebo Samuel as good as gone after the 2024 season? How much longer is Trent Williams willing to play? All of these are real questions that must be answered, especially as it pertains to the future success of the franchise.

With all of the previous factors in mind, it is my conclusion that the 2024 season will indeed be an especially important one for the San Francisco 49ers. Now, I am not ready to proclaim that this is the season that their championship window closes. However, this upcoming NFL campaign must be approached with a marked sense of urgency by the 49ers. The 49ers need to enter and go through this season with a bit more, albeit calculated, reckless abandonment. This includes going for it on 4th and short more often, exploiting the new NFL kickoff rules by deploying their premier skill players on special teams, utilizing more stunts and varied fronts on defense, and going to the deepest and most creative corners of the playbook on both sides of the ball.

If this is indeed a pivotal season for the 49ers, they should approach it with a no-holds-barred mentality in all aspects of their operation. Whatever the ultimate outcome of the 2024 season is for the 49ers, they should be able to look back and know that they left no stone unturned in their pursuit of Lombardi number six.
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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