The first day of trades is now officially complete for the San Francisco 49ers. Gone is Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs, and arriving is Anquan Boldin from the Baltimore Ravens. So now what? Now where do the 49ers focus their attention? They have players of their own testing the free agent market, they have positions to fill from recently released or traded players, and they have players that are in the twilight of their careers now. So what position do they look to shore up first, and how long do they wait to wrap up the other positions?
First of all, they have no kicker on the roster right now. They released David Akers just a week ago, and did not have any backup what so ever. The kicker position will probably be their biggest concern. He will ultimately lead the team in points scored, so they will want to get someone under contract as soon as possible.
It is quite possible that they will also need to be shopping for a safety before too long. Free agent safety Dashon Goldson has reported to the team that he will indeed test the market. And being that he has played very well over the last few years, his stock is probably pretty high. The 49ers still have three safeties on their roster, but only Donte Whitner stands out as a consistent contributor to the team. C. J. Spillman only recorded 11 tackles on the year and Trenton Robinson did not record a single statistic. Obviously the 49ers will have to look for a viable safety if Goldson leaves. Fortunately they have a lot of draft picks to trade with.
The 49ers will also be looking for a back up tight end now that Delanie Walker has signed with the Tennessee Titans. They have a stud tight end already in Vernon Davis, but he cannot be expected to play every down this coming season. The current back up is Garrett Celek, and though he is making significant strides in being a valuable part of the offense, he is not there yet. He cannot at this point be tasked with filling the role of Davis if and when he is not on the field. The 49ers do not need a high money option as a back up tight end, but just one that can offer a little more comfort in the absence of Davis.
They might also be in the market for another pass rusher, more than likely a defensive tackle. With the injury to Justin Smith last season, the sacks and quarterback pressure dropped considerably. And not to mention, Smith is entering his 13th year in the league. Still a very productive part of the defensive line no doubt, but with that longevity comes more opportunity for injury. That many years in the league is tough on a defensive lineman, so it’s probably a safe bet that the 49ers start shopping for one quite soon. And again, with a ton of draft picks to play with, it’s anyone’s guess as to whom the 49ers eventually bring in.
Finally on the to do list is a back up quarterback to fill the void that was left by the Alex Smith departure. Scott Tolzien is the current back up to Colin Kaepernick, but it’s apparent that the 49ers do not hold him with the highest confidence. It was specifically why they drafted Kaepernick in the first place, to fill a second string role and to take over once Smith made his exit. Luckily there is a ton of free agent quarterbacks on the market that can fill a role no higher than back up. The 49ers will not have to spend big at all to get one of them, but they do need to consider the type of offense they run before jumping on just any one person.
With some creative deal making and a little bit of luck, the 49ers should be sitting pretty within the next couple of weeks.
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