And once again, we are getting very close to the conclusion of the NFL regular season. For the San Francisco 49ers, their 2012-13 campaign has been very bold and revealing. The Niners have seen which players are going to be consistent for this team year to year, as well as who could be on their way out.
Like we've seen in the past two offseasons, Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke will continue to self-analyze and make intelligent business decisions for the betterment of the team. Even though the 49ers have a very complete team, there are areas where they can improve, and in some cases, save money in the process.
Following this league year, fans should expect an offseason as bold as their regular season. Here are some players that might not be with the 49ers after this season:
At this point, San Francisco’s kicker might be leading this discussion. After a career-year for David Akers in 2011, there has been a drastic decline in his performance. The once automatic special teams stud has faltered, and it’s cost the 49ers opportunities for points this season.
It was a decline like this that originally gave the 49ers a chance to acquire Akers from the Eagles. Although he has been battling a pelvic injury, his made FGs during pre-game warm-ups have not carried over once the clock starts.
With the depth that the 49ers have, they might even spend a late pick in this year’s draft on a new kicker.
The headlines regarding San Francisco’s former starting QB have been relatively quiet. Following the huge Week 15 victory where Colin Kaepernick improved to 4-1 as a starter, the 49ers are at the point of no return.
This is Kaepernick’s team now, and unless Smith wants to take a massive pay-cut and continue being a backup, the team should finally part ways with No. 11.
For Ginn, muffed punts, as well as a lack of dynamism and consistency are going to cost him his job. He also lacks dimensions as a player, as Ginn is a complete non-factor as a pass-catcher.
He has not been as threatening in 2012 and with the emergence of LaMichael James and Kyle Williams as returners, Ginn is expendable. Ted Ginn’s contract will expire at the end of this season, and it would be surprising to see the team retain his services.
On Sunday night, 49ers star defensive lineman Justin Smith injured his elbow and had to leave the game. The ever so versatile Ricky Jean-Francois stepped in for Smith at right defensive tackle and played well.
In a huge moment late in the fourth quarter, Jean-Francois registered a sack on Tom Brady. With Sopoaga, 30, and Jean-Francois, 26, both viable starters and in need of contracts, the team might want to invest in the up-and-comer. We could see RJF become the team’s starting nose tackle in 2013.