In the recently completed NFL Draft (has it really been almost a month?), the San Francisco 49ers had the most picks (prior to their trades) and ended up with a ten-person haul that included a quarterback, defensive backs, a converted outside linebacker, a defensive lineman who apparently will play fullback, two offensive linemen, a running back, and a wide receiver. A nice little haul to add depth to a litany of positions.
One postiion not addressed was inside linebacker. The 49ers have no need to replace Patrick Willis, but there are questions about the Ted linebacker position. Takeo Spikes has manned the role for three seasons now and has quietly been a significant player for the defense. He redefined the way the Ted operated in the 49ers system in a sense as he was making as many big plays as the other big names on the defense.
As we roll through this "offseason" Takeo Spikes will be a free agent at some point whenever the transaction period opens. The 49ers added NaVorro Bowman in the third round last year and added Scott McKillop in the fifth round the year before. They also added Alex Joseph, who would seem to be in the mix for inside linebacker playing time.
The question is what the 49ers should and will do before next season. If the lockout drags into late August or beyond, free agency could conceivably be frozen for a season, which means Takeo Spikes would be back in San Francisco in 2011 on a one year deal based on his 2010 salary. If that happened, I could see Bowman getting more work in the starting rotation, but barring a significant drop, Spikes would likely be the starter.
If transactions do happen, I'm fairly certain most every 49ers fan wants Spikes back. It would be interesting to see if Bowman could emerge as the starter, but Spikes would be a fantastic safety net for one more year. I haven't seen a single word said about Spikes status for the upcoming season. Have I missed any comments to the media by anybody on this? Do the 49ers roll the dice and go younger with Bowman in a transition at the Ted position? Or is it stupid to even consider that at this point?