As we approach the 2010 NFL season, we'll be working to figure out the 49ers 53-man roster. I'll be posting position-by-position projections that will help us narrow down the list of bubble candidates and figure out who really has a shot at making the roster. These projections will take place over the next two months as we prepare for training camp.
One issue that we do have to keep in mind is the potential for late free agent signings. The last couple seasons have seen the 49ers adding players late in the offseason, and these acquisitions turned out to be incredibly important. Two years ago the 49ers signed Takeo Spikes at the beginning of training camp. The team needed a Ted linebacker, so they brought him in to compete for that position, and also to provide a bit of veteran leadership for what was a fairly young defense. In the course of the next two seasons, Spikes has become a key leader on the defense, a mentor for Patrick Willis, and a popular 49er.
Last year, the 49ers saw Walt Harris blow out his knee during OTAs, leaving the team potentially short a key cog in the secondary. The team went out and added Dre Bly. Bly certainly had his ups and downs in 2009, but nonetheless he showed he still had a few tricks up his sleeve. After initially coming in battling for the nickel and dime roles, Bly eventually found himself starting opposite Shawntae Spencer. While he was a solid contributor in 2009, it does not look like he'll be back in 2010.
The question now is whether the 49ers will be adding a potential impact veteran over the next two months. If everybody stays healthy, I'm not sure I see that happening. The team entered the offseason with several specific areas of concern, and they appear to have added sufficient talent to fill the holes for now. Obviously some of these guys might not work out, but that's a story for a different day. For now, the team added potential starters for the offensive line, a variety of kick/punt return options, another backup running back, a backup QB, and some cornerback help. The team could potentially add another veteran out there, but I'm thinking Will James is the last of the veteran additions at this point.
The circumstances surrounding the addition of Dre Bly last season are what make this still potentially an issue. Walt Harris blew out his knee during a voluntary workout in May. So, injuries could certainly open up the roster for some additions. However, assuming people stay healthy, I'm not sure I can see anywhere the team will make additions. Any contrary thoughts?