The NFL season is still five months away, but for the most part, free agency is wrapped up. We'll see veteran signings here and there, but there is not much left in terms of notable signings. We could still see a surprise trade come draft day, but even then, it's mostly just picks for picks.
With that in mind, here is a rundown of each of the 49ers 2014 opponents gains and losses in free agency, along with some thoughts on each. Who had the best free agency period, and who had the worst?
Kansas City Chiefs - Arrowhead Pride
Gained: OT Jeffery Linkenbach, LB Joe Mays, DT Vance Walker, DT Cory Grissom, CB Chris Owens
Lost: OT Brandon Albert, WR/RB Dexter McCluster, OG Geoff Schwartz, OG Jon Asamoah, DE Tyson Jackson, LB Akeem Jordan, S Kendrick Lewis, S Quintin Demps, NT Jerrell Powe
Thoughts: Yep, the Chiefs let go of just a little bit of talent. They have six picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, and they will have their work cut out for them. Their biggest losses appear to be on the offensive line. They've got some young talent they'll shuffle around, but they need to improve it to keep Alex Smith on his feet.
Philadelphia Eagles - Bleeding Green Nation
Gained: CB Nolan Carroll, S Malcolm Jenkins, S Chris Maragos, LB Bryan Braman, RB Darren Sproles (trade), OT Andrew Gardner, QB Mark Sanchez
Lost: DE Clifton Geathers, WR DeSean Jackson (cut), QB Michael Vick
Thoughts: The Eagles made some solid additions, boosting their defense with Malcom Jenkins and Nolan Carroll, and the trade for Darren Sproles is a big addition. And yet, this offseason will be remembered for the DeSean Jackson situation. They've got the offensive talent to make that offense go, but if Jackson blows up in Washington and the Eagles struggle even a little bit on offense, the Philly media will have a field day.
San Diego Chargers - Bolts from the Blue
Gained: RB Donald Brown, QB Kellen Clemens, LB Kavell Conner, TE David Johnson, CB Brandon Ghee
Lost: CB Derek Cox (cut), CB Johnny Patrick (cut), DT Cam Thomas, QB Charlie Whitehurst, G Stephen Schilling
Thoughts: The addition of Donald Brown gives them some serious depth at running back. Ryan Mathews put together a strong season, but injury concerns always hover over him. Adding Brown is great insurance for them. Other than that, it was a relatively low key March for the Chargers.
Washington - Hogs Haven
New Coach Jay Gruden (previously Mike Shanahan)
Gained: DT Jason Hatcher, CB Tracy Porter, OT Bruce Campbell, DE Clifton Geathers, LB Adam Hayward, WR Andre Roberts, LB Darryl Sharpton, OL Shawn Lauvao, WR DeSean Jackson, LB Akeem Jordan, S Ryan Clark, OL Mike McGlynn
Lost: DE Darryl Tapp, C J.D. Walton, C Will Montgomery (cut)
Thoughts: Washington made some serious changes this offseason, with the most notable being a new coach. There are some questions about Gruden and whether he really should be getting this job, but he'll get his opportunity. And he'll be doing it with an improved offense. The addition of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts gives Robert Griffin III some ridiculous options in the passing game. More importantly, they've taken some notable steps to shore up their defense. They need to come together, but they've really overhauled that unit.
Chicago Bears - Windy City Gridiron
Gained: DE Lamarr Houston, DE Willie Young, WR Domenik Hixon, S Ryan Mundy, LB Jordan Senn, DE Austen Lane, S M.D. Jennings, DE Jared Allen, DE Israel Idonije, S Danny McCray
Lost: QB Josh McCown, DE Julius Peppers, DT Henry Melton, DE Corey Wootton, WR Devin Hester, CB Zack Bowman, LS Jeremy Cain
Thoughts: The Bears normally stout defense was a disaster in 2013, and we've seen some changes, accordingly. The team's defensive front lost Peppers and Melton, but they added Houston, Allen and Young. I don't think it makes them dramatically better, but it should help get that group going. An under the radar move that could cost them is losing Josh McCown to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Jay Cutler stays healthy, it's no big deal, but if he gets hurt again, they're hurting for backups. I have to think they draft a quarterback at some point on Day 3.
Dallas Cowboys - Blogging The Boys
Gained: DE Jeremy Mincey, NT Terrell McClain, DT Henry Melton, QB Brandon Weeden, DE Jeremy Mincey
Lost: DT Jason Hatcher, C Phil Costa (cut), DE DeMarcus Ware (cut), DT Corvey Irvin (cut), LS Charley Hughlett, S Danny McCray
Thoughts: The Cowboys had to clean house to start to get their salary cap in order. Adding Melton is a step toward offsetting the departures on the defensive line, but the Cowboys need to hit big in this year's draft. They have 11 picks, but SIX of the picks are seventh rounders, and three are comp picks.
Denver Broncos - Mile High Report
Gained: CB Aqib Talib, S T.J. Ward, DE DeMarcus Ware, C Will Montgomery, WR Emmanuel Sanders
Lost: OG Zane Beadles, WR Eric Decker, LB Wesley Woodyard, DE Jeremy Mincey, CB Champ Bailey, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DE Robert Ayers, RB Knowshon Moreno, WR Trindon Holliday, DE Shaun Phillips
Thoughts: So, uhhh, yea....about the Broncos. Denver added some big names, but given their losses as well, the improvement might not necessarily quite as pronounced as it first appeared. Adding Talib, Ward and Ware are big moves, and Sanders is a solid addition as well, but a fair amount of it is replacing talent they lost in free agency. Sanders would appear to be a downgrade from Decker, although that assumes Decker wasn't overly benefiting from working with Peyton Manning. Talib does strike me as an improvement over DRC, and adding Ware and Ward are big additions. And of course, they should have Von Miller for the full season. That being said, given how badly they were beaten by the Seahawks, we'll see if it's enough.
New York Giants - Big Blue View
Gained: RB Rashad Jennings, LB O'Brien Schofield, OG Geoff Schwartz, C J.D. Walton, LB Jameel McClain, OT Charles Brown, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Walter Thurmond, DE Robert Ayers, OG John Jerry, S Quintin Demps, WR Trindon Holliday, C J.D. Walton, CB Zack Bowman, WR Mario Manningham
Lost: DT Linval Joseph, S Ryan Mundy, TE Brandon Myers, DE Justin Tuck, LB Keith Rivers, WR Hakeem Nicks, G Kevin Boothe, WR Louis Murphy
Thoughts: The Giants quietly put together a fairly solid free agency period. Most notably, they've shored up their secondary depth, and boosted the offensive line. They had a rather meh season last year, and Eli Manning will need to get back on track, but they've started the offseason fairly well.
Oakland Raiders - Silver & Black Pride
Gained: OT Austin Howard, DE Justin Tuck, LB LaMarr Woodley, CB Tarell Brown, CB Carlos Rogers, DE Antonio Smith, WR James Jones, OT Donald Penn, G Kevin Boothe, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, DE C.J. Wilson, QB Matt Schaub
Lost: DE Lamarr Houston, OT Jared Veldheer, CB Tracy Porter, RB Rashad Jennings, CB Phillip Adams, WR Jacoby Ford, CB Mike Jenkins, DT Vance Walker
Thoughts: People are dogging the Raiders for adding more veteran players, but it should make them at least more competitive for now. They need a lot more young talent, but given the excess of cap space they had, they also needed to add some veterans. Things looked ugly early on when Veldheer walked and they then had the screw-up with the Rodger Saffold signing, but Reggie McKenzie righted the ship once that cleared up. They're still not a particularly good team, but I think we'll see an improved defense in 2014. It's easy to joke about them grabbing the 49ers sloppy seconds, but given where that defense was in 2013, Brown and Rogers should be decent additions. Now they just need to figure out this whole draft thing. They hold six picks, and given the depth of the draft, I would not be surprised to see them move back in the first round (barring Clowney slipping).
New Orleans Saints - Canal Street Chronicles
Gained: S Jairus Byrd, FB Erik Lorig
Lost: S Malcolm Jenkins, RB Darren Sproles (trade), OT Charles Brown, S Roman Harper (cut), WR Lance Moore (cut), FB Jed Collins, DE Tom Johnson, CB Jabari Greer, LB Will Smith
Thoughts: The Saints had a whole bunch of salary cap problems, leading to several cuts. Add in the trade of Darren Sproles and the offense took a noticeable step back. The addition of Jairus Byrd will help the defense, but they remain cap-strapped, particularly while they try and figure out what to do with franchise tagged Jimmy Graham. They tagged him as a tight end, but he is challenging that in hopes of getting the wide receiver tender. If that happens, the Saints will be in even more cap trouble.
Arizona Cardinals - Revenge of the Birds
Gained: OT Jared Veldheer, RB Jonathan Dwyer, WR Ted Ginn, C Ted Larsen, TE John Carlson, WR Ted Ginn, CB Antonio Cromartie
Lost: LB Karlos Dansby, TE Jim Dray, WR Andre Roberts, LB Jasper Brinkley (cut), CB Javier Arenas, CB Antoine Cason, LB Dontay Moch
Thoughts: Losing Roberts is going to hurt, but they can mitigate this with one of the many receivers in this year's draft. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd is a great 1-2, but they need to add a little something to that. Adding Veldheer is huge for their offense line. Combine that with what they hope will be a full year of guard Jonathan Cooper, and that offensive line is moving in the right direction.
Seattle Seahawks - Field Gulls
Gained: WR Taylor Price, OG Greg Van Roten, CB Phillip Adams
Lost: WR Golden Tate, DT Clinton McDonald, DE Red Bryant (cut), DE Chris Clemons (DE), OT Breno Giacomini, LB O'Brien Schofield, S Chris Maragos, CB Brandon Browner, CB Walter Thurmond, G Paul McQuistan
Thoughts: As is often the case, the Super Bowl champs have to deal with the rest of the NFL picking them apart. The Seahawks lost quite a few free agents, but given their young talent coming due for new contracts, it's not really a surprise. And it also means they'll load up on comp picks next year. The most important free agent was Michael Bennett, and they got a deal done with him. Their 2013 draft class was quiet compared to the previous two, so they'll be looking for contributions from them in 2014. And of course, they'll be hoping for a healthy Percy Harvin. He should enter the season healthy, but beyond that is entirely up in the air.
St. Louis Rams - Turf Show Times
Gained: DT Alex Carrington, QB Shaun Hill, WR Kenny Britt
Lost: OT Chris Williams, QB Kellen Clemens, OL Shelley Smith, CB Cortland Finnegan (cut), TE Mike McNeill, S Darian Stewart
Thoughts: The Rams were relatively quiet for much of free agency, before recent additions of Hill and Britt. The Britt signing has a lot of upside, but Britt has struggled with health and consistency. None of their moves thus far should impact their draft plans, and with two first round picks, including the No. 2 overall pick, this is a huge year for them. They absolutely have to hit on these picks. The big question remains what Sam Bradford can do for them, but they can at least put a lot of talent around him.