Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Where the 49ers Roster Stands Pre-Free Agency

Mar 10, 2015 at 11:04 AM7


There is no doubt that the San Francisco 49ers roster will look different than its 2014 counterpart, but how different will be determined by the next few days and the NFL Draft. The team is getting ready to dive into free agency and is hopeful to fill in some of the gaps and add some depth. After all, the team was devastated by injuries last season.

The team will be able to stretch the field more with a signing of wide receiver Torrey Smith. Multiple reports state that the former Baltimore Raven coming to the 49ers is a 'done deal.'

Free agency kicks off today at 1 PM Pacific.

So let's take a look at the starting offense first as it stands now.

Quarterback
Colin Kaepernick
On Sunday night, there were rumors that Kaepernick was on the trading block and that teams had contacted the 49ers to gauge their interest. 49ers general manager Trent Baalke was quick to label the rumors as false. This rumor was a bit odd considering Kaepernick is the only quarterback under contract with the team, but this might not have been an issue if it had been a trade that included another quarterback.

Running back
2014: Frank Gore
2015: Carlos Hyde
A hopefully healthy Kendall Hunter will return as well, which will allow to 49ers to switch between two — maybe even three — running backs, keeping each one fresh. Gore's legacy with the team is clear, but the team may not miss much of a step here if everyone is healthy. What they will miss is the leadership that Gore brought to the offense.
Status: Even

Fullback
2014: Bruce Miller
2015: Trey Millard
On Monday, Miller was arrested on spousal battery charges. He may not be with the team much longer. They may be looking for a replacement.
Status: Downgrade

Wide receiver
2014: Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson
2015: Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith … ?
Smith will be a great signing that will allow the team to stretch the field. Boldin has been helping to recruit Smith to the 49ers and he is better than Crabtree. The 49ers are making out great here. Behind these guys you have players like Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton. If the 49ers do release Stevie Johnson, which everyone believes they will, then they will likely look to the NFL Draft to fill in that number three spot.
Status: Upgrade

Tight end
Vernon Davis
Despite his drop in production last season, Davis is not going anywhere.

Tackle
Joe Staley, Anthony Davis
Nothing changes here and they will remain in the 49ers' long-term plans. Both players are signed through 2019.

Guard
2014: Mike Iupati, Alex Boone
2015: Brandon Thomas, Alex Boone
The loss of Mike Iupati is tough, but remember that the 49ers had already been planning for life after their best offensive lineman. They drafted Thomas last year, who fell to the third round because of a torn ACL. Thomas may have been a steal for the team. The only reason for my status grade here is because we have never seen him play at the NFL level. However, they may be fine for years to come at the left guard position.
Status: Downgrade

Center
2015: Daniel Kilgore
2014: Marcus Martin
Kilgore suffered a season-ending leg injury in late-October. Marcus Martin struggled a bit filling in for him, but got some valuable playing time. Even if Kilgore is ready for the 2015 season, Martin may be the team's future at center.
Status: Even

And now the starting defense as it stands now…

Defensive end
2014: Justin Smith, Ray McDonald
2015: Tank Carradine, Darnell Dockett
Carradine showed flashes of solid play in 2014, but to consider him at the level of Smith right now would be premature. There is still a slight possibility that Smith will return, but all signs say that he will retire from the NFL. McDonald was released because of multiple off-the-field issues and the team brought in Darnell Dockett from Arizona, who is a fantastic pass rusher. The 49ers may be just fine at the defensive end position … at least as far as the starters go. However, Dockett's age does not make him a long-term solution.
Status: Even

Nose tackle
Ian Williams
Nothing changes here and the team likes Williams. However, this is a contract year for Williams. An added bonus is that Glenn Dorsey will be returning from injury.

Outside linebacker
2014: Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks
2015: Aldon Smith, Aaron Lynch
The team is expected to release Ahmad Brooks after June 1 or at least designate him a post-June 1 cut. Lynch has played well when asked to do so and the team is comfortable enough with him to consider Brooks expendable.
Status: Even

Inside linebacker
Pre-2014: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman
2015: Chris Borland, NaVorro Bowman
This one is noted with "pre-2014" because Willis and Bowman were meant to be the starters. Bowman did not play a snap, Willis missed much of the season, and Borland started late and got injured at the end. The position in 2014 was in too much flux to use as a fair comparison. With that said ... Willis, who will retire from football, was the heart and soul of the defense. Forget his on-the-field contributions, it is his leadership that will be very tough to replace. Borland had an amazing rookie season despite only playing part of the season. He got shoved around by some of the more physical teams and players — but he was a rookie thrown into a starting role. He will only get better. For now, the status is a downgrade because of everything that Willis brought to the position and defense in whole, but the team will be just fine as Borland continues to improve.
Status: Downgrade

Cornerback
2014: Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox
2015: Tramaine Brock, ?
Culliver will demand too much money in free agency, pricing himself out of the 49ers' plans. Cox may return, but is a free agent as well. Brock is the next man up. Behind him, you have a lot of youngsters like Jimmie Ward, who struggled in the nickel last season, Dontae Johnson, who the team likes but is raw, Marcus Cromartie, and Leon McFadden. The team needs to address the cornerback position big time because it is a bit of a mess as it stands.
Status: Downgrade

Safety
Antoine Bethea, Eric Reid
Reid has been concussion prone and has been seeking expect advice regarding the issue. With some coaching and adjustments to his tackling, he could limit his injuries.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


7 Comments

  • Lucky Phil
    What would Jesus do...
    Mar 12, 2015 at 2:25 PM
    0
  • Lucky Phil
    everything is going to sh!t.
    Mar 12, 2015 at 7:56 AM
    0
  • Bobbie Lince
    Why isn't anyone talking about Bowman???Is he healthy to come back or NOT!!!
    Mar 10, 2015 at 9:09 PM
    0
    Response: Reports say that he has been working out at the team's facility and has been looking on track to return.
  • brian
    With the expected release of both Johnson and brooks and the restructuring of certain contracts, to go along with the retirements, the team could see 25-30 million in cap space. We need to make a huge impact in free agency.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 1:57 PM
    0
  • bambam1982
    #49ers will be fine.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 12:12 PM
    0
  • maui dave
    Gbood write up. The glass half full view could be that: Kap will finally be set free from Roman's conservative O scheme an upgrade. A young explosive Hyde will be an upgrade over an aging Gore Full back may not even be a part of Geeps O so no loss if Miller leaves Vernon can't possibly be worse than last year...upgrade O line should improve because Davis will be healthy, Boone no hold out returns to form, more experience for Kilgore/Martin, Staley is solid and maybe Thomas can actually pass block unlike Iupati. D-Line...Dockett for Smith is about even, Tank becomes the beast we all hoped for, Dorsey/Williams stay healthy and Tomsula improves that unit Line backers Smith, Bowman, Borland and Lynch wreak havoc no problem there. DB Brock returns to pre injury form safties are all pro calibre and we retain,sign a FA to fill the 4th spot. D will be good.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 11:27 AM
    0
  • Matt
    Since Willis hardly played and Bowman did not play at all in 2014, it seems kind of silly for the inside linebacker status to be a downgrade. If Bowman is healthy for 2015, that will be a big upgrade compared to what they had in 2014.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 11:17 AM
    0
    Response: Good point. I have relabeled it as pre-2014 with a notation. Originally it was just meant that they were supposed to be the starters. Clearly the position was in too much flux for a truly fair comparison. Thanks for the comment.

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