For the many 49ers faithful around the tri-valley area, this offseason may very well be more painful than the last. After signing the two most impactful players from the Super Bowl that was not, and adding future hall-of-fame receiver Randy Moss, the red and gold still could not bring a championship trophy down Broadway.
Surely some will have tempered expectations during the 2013 season, but it should not be forgotten that the current list of free agents and the impending draft class could ultimately propel the defending NFC champions to the top spot.
Of all the speculation that will ensue until April, none is more pivotal for the 49ers than what fate has in store for Alex Smith.
There has been banter in the media and in team’s front offices of who might acquire the 28 year-old (soon to be 29) quarterback and what will need to be sacrificed. Surely it would be silly for the 49ers to keep him beyond April 1st and deduct $3M from their cap.
Even further removed from speculation is the near-certainty that David Akers will be released and the sure-possibility that Mario Manningham, Parys Haralson, Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers will either be forced to re-structure their contracts or find a new home. Of course, until anything happens, it’s pure speculation.
Cutting those five players would save the 49ers just under $25M.
That’s enough to sign receiver Mike Wallace, trade for Percy Harvin (and give him a new contract), or acquire premium defensive players like Dominique Rogers-Cromartie or Henry Melton.
Let’s also not forget that Dashon Goldson could demand a hefty payday if resigned as the franchise tag does not seem to be a reasonable option because it would cost the Niners $7.5M.
General Manager Trent Baalke has a whopping 11 draft picks guaranteed and another three potential compensatory picks. Nothing to scoff at, especially considering the number of holes that so many teams have in so many different areas, and the variety of uses for the picks.
While anything can happen any given Sunday, March 12th marks the beginning of the trade period and there should be some instant indications of the moves that the 49ers have in mind.