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With the NFL season winding down and the offseason set to begin in March, the Forty Niners are going to have a lot on their shopping list if they intend to compete in 2019. This year we learned that a lot of the options this team has in-house are not the right guys. This offseason the Niners will have plenty of cap space to make some sizable free-agent acquisitions; along with high draft picks and potential big trades, this team can get good very quickly.
The first order of business for the Niners is to know what they’re going to do with the second overall pick. The assumption is that they will draft an edge rusher, whether that means the best available at number two, or trading back and grabbing one of the other top edge players. But will they be using that first round pick on an edge rusher? Maybe they sign one in free agency, and instead draft Quinnen Williams, who many believe is the second-best player in the draft behind Nick Bosa. All we know is that the Niners desperately need a star edge rusher, but how they acquire one is yet to be determined.
The theme of this offseason is probably going to be defense. Aside from the edge position, the Niners still need a lot of help on defense. There are glaring holes at safety and cornerback and they both need to be addressed with some veteran acquisitions. Luckily for the Niners, one of the best safeties in the league, Earl Thomas, happens to be a free agent. It was believed that the Cowboys and Earl Thomas are a match made in heaven, but with Steven Jones’ (son of Jerry Jones) comments the other day, it seems like the Cowboys will not be making any big splashes this offseason.
If the Cowboys indeed are out on Earl Thomas already, the Niners have a good chance to land the former Seahawk. With Richard Sherman a Niner, we can expect plenty of recruitment from him and other Niners once free agency begins. Aside from safety, the Niners need help across the field from Richard Sherman. With Ahkello Witherspoon still developing, it would be wise for the Niners to acquire more competition at that position, a veteran cornerback.
The next offseason need is wide receiver. The Niners have been able to get by with the wideouts they have on the roster, but they still lack that true number one guy; the guy who will consistently put up big numbers and provide that red-zone threat. Among the free agents, there are not really any names that jump off the page. Tyrell Williams, Golden Tate, Devin Funchess, and Donte Moncrief are all intriguing, but none of them are guys you can rely on. If the team is going to acquire an elite talent, it looks like it’ll be through trade or the draft. With the Antonio Brown drama heating up every day, it looks like the Pittsburgh star will likely be dealt this offseason, and right now the Niners are heavy favorites to acquire him.
The last remaining need for the Niners is to continue to shore up that offensive line. The o-line was much improved this season and was a big bright spot in 2018. However, there’s still room for improvement. Continue to draft talent on the offensive line and continue to sign free agents that can come in and compete. There should be constant competition on the offensive line and this offseason should be no different.
With these moves all likely to be addressed in some way, this should be the offseason when this team takes that next big step. The Niners have the potential to acquire so much talent and really transform this team into a serious contender next season. Because it's the third year under Lynch and Shanahan, they’re going to feel pressure to make some bigger moves and really build something special. This should be an exciting offseason as Niner fans are already looking towards March and beyond.
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