Another season in the books. It was a good season that had it's fair share of ups-and-downs. The defense played lights out all year, special teams were greatly improved over 2012 (aside from the returner position), but the offense was uneven at best. Crabtree's return did seem to provide a spark, but this team needs to find out how to move the ball easier and how to score in the redzone. It seems redzone production has been an issue forever as the team always settles for too many field goals. All that being said, I am excited for what the 2014 season could hold given the makeup of the team. There are a lot of question marks, so let's dive in to the off-season.
Here's a list of the 49ers who are scheduled for free agency:
CB Perrish Cox
DL Demarcus Dobbs
LB Michael Wilhoite
The F.O. needs to figure out how to keep Boldin. I'm sure we can all agree on that. A full year with Crabtree/Boldin/Davis/Patton would be a site to see. Give them a full offseason together to build on their chemistry, and I see us hoisting the Lombardi next year.
Other than Boldin, Phil Dawson seems like a no-brainer to resign. Also Wilhoite will stay with the team due to Bowman's injury. Every other position gets tricky. Who I think is definitely out: Manningham and McCoy. They are the only real locks at not getting resigned I can see. I think Goodwin will end up retiring but you never know. Either Rogers or Brown are gone (maybe both). Rogers seems most likely since he saves us the most money and looks to definitely have lost a step. Eric Wright's alleged falling out may have opened the door for Brown to return. A month ago I would have said next year's DBs would have been Brock, Culliver, and Wright with Cox and Morris competing for the Dime role. Now I'm not so sure. Demarcus Dobbs probably gets released due to Tank and Quinton coming back for injury, but it will definitely be a training camp battle. Osgood probably sticks around due to his special teams play. Anthony Dixon... you can never count this guy out. So I won't now.
Lastly... Donte Whitner. Whitner has his fair share of critics, but I think his pass coverage improved greatly between 2012-2013. Never discount a veteran with experience. Since our corners are likely to see major shakeup, having someone like Whitner holding the backfield together could be key. Eric Reid is good, but a lot of that has come from what he learned from Whitner. I worry at the prospect of a second-year player and possibly a rookie as our starting safeties. I think the team should find a way to keep Whitner.
We'll definitely be targeting a top CB and a top WR in the draft. I also see us making picks for the OL, DL, and QB. Other than that, who knows what Baalke has up his sleeve.