Alex Smith Signs With 49ers: What Next?

49ers quarterback Alex Smith reportedly agreed to terms on a new contract, which answers one of the most pressing questions of the offseason. Although the news has focused on Smith over the last week, the team has spent plenty of time considering their options at a variety of positions. Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz visited the 49ers on Tuesday, but left without a contract. The team also ran a mass audition for a variety of random free agents on Monday.

Now that the 49ers have their starting quarterback in place, the question is what the 49ers need to address next. The NFL Draft is a month away and the team will have plenty of work to do there, but there are still plenty of solid free agents on the market. The team has gone with some under the radar signings, and there are plenty of those kinds of options available.

The 49ers biggest question mark in the eyes of many fans is right guard. The team hosted Leonard Davis last week and Geoff Schwartz yesterday. Davis would appear to be more of a short term option, while Schwartz is a mix of short term option with some long term upside. I still think the team has high hopes for Daniel Kilgore. So much so that rather than make a run at a big name in free agency or draft a guard in the first two days, I think they think Kilgore can win the job sooner rather than later.

Other than guard, safety has several depth question marks. Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner are a very solid duo, but Goldson is only signed for one more year and C.J. Spillman is the only backup right now. I could very well see the 49ers going after a safety fairly early in the draft. I don't know if they will like what is available in the first round, but I think the team grabs a safety sometime in the first two days. The team needs some depth given that C.J. Spillman is the only additional safety on the depth chart, but I'm not sure if we see a free agency pick-up.

Outside linebacker also remains a question mark, depending on what the team decides to do with Parys Haralson. He is scheduled to earn $2.45 million this year, but will likely be operating as a backup to Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. I could see the team drafting an OLB early on, but I also think Haralson will make his way into camp competing with that young linebacker. If they do address OLB depth with a fairly high pick, we could see the team then decide to release Haralson in late August.

The kick and punt return positions still have some question marks. We could see Kendall Hunter and Perrish Cox getting some work, but it remains to be seen if they are long term options. Ted Ginn is still on the market, but he is looking for more work in the receiving game. I think there could be a specific role on the offense for him, but I also don't think the 49ers feel a need to bring him back for that. It would be nice if he could just recognize what his value is in the NFL, but that's life I suppose.

Beyond that, center, maybe running back (depending on their thoughts on Rock Cartwright vs. Anthony Dixon, more on that to come) and possible defensive line could use some help. In terms of free agency, if the team adds a lineman like Schwartz or Davis, I could see Kilgore getting some work at center to have an option if Goodwin gets hurt. However, we could also see the team draft a center given the fact that while solid, Jonathan Goodwin is not getting any younger.

The 49ers are clearing up their issues, and are generally working from a position of strength. I could see a couple more free agent additions, but outside of the guard position, I do not anticipate anything particularly significant as it would impact the 2012 starting lineup. It's all about depth.

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