The last few days we've seen all sorts of speculation about the contract statuses of guard Alex Boone and tight end Vernon Davis. Both players are reportedly not pleased with their current contracts, and have skipped part of the offseason workout program because of this. It is not yet a holdout since the program is voluntary, but when minicamp and then training camp roll around, we'll find out how serious this could be.
These contract questions have gotten us starting to think about the future. Boone and Davis are two parts of that future, but there are plenty of other free agents for the 49ers to consider. The team has considerable depth, which means some veterans will be gone this year or next year. A lot of familiar faces will remain, but some will start to depart.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun, if random exercise to actually look ahead to the 49ers 53-man roster in 2015. It's impossibly early to project draft picks, free agent additions, and potential trades, but I thought it would be fun to just sort of play around with. You don't need to list out 53 specific players. Instead, list out the current 49ers players you think will be on the team, and then you are welcome to plug in the phrase "Player X" as a place-holder for a given position. For example, if you think Kap will be back in 2015, but have no clue about the backup QB(s), you could say
QB: Colin Kaepernick, Player X, Player X
If you feel like making additional predictions about free agency additions, you're more than welcome to do that as well, but I think it's as much about figuring out the status of current 49ers more than anything else. But do with it as you please. There are no real hard and fast rules.
Here are my predictions. I have eight "Player X" place-holders. If Jonathan Martin makes the 49ers roster in 2014, the 49ers give up a seventh round pick. Stevie Johnson is worth either a third or a fourth round pick depending on how he performs. Blaine Gabbert conceivably could cost the 49ers a late 2015 pick, but we're hoping he does not reach the playing time incentives. With all that in mind, the 49ers would be at approximately seven draft picks. I imagine they'll end up with more through some wheeling and dealing later this August, and again on draft day.
8 "Player X" options to cover free agency and the draft seems pretty slim at this point. I suppose it could be some sort of confirmation bias, but I suppose we'll see how things play out. The most notable absences would be Michael Crabtree and Mike Iupati. I hope the 49ers re-sign Crabtree, but with so many contract issues to sort through, and only so much money to go around, somebody is not going to get paid. At this point, I'd be surprised if Iupati got an extension, but with Crabtree, anything could happen and it would not surprise me.
I also have guys like Dan Skuta, Glenn Dorsey, and C.J. Spillman departing in free agency. All have been valuable contributors, but the 49ers will look to go younger and cheaper in their place. One guy that is interesting to consider is Justin Smith. If (WHEN) the 49ers were to win the Super Bowl, does he potentially walk off into the sunset? He would have one year left on his contract, but nothing would surprise me.
So, here you have it. Shortly after the draft I put together my way too early 2014 roster projection. And Friday, we had a FanPost of roster projections. Today, I put together my insanely early 2015 roster projection.
QB (3): Colin Kaepernick, Player X, Player X
RB (3): Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore, Jewel Hampton
FB (2): Bruce Miller, Trey Millard
WR (6): Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Chuck Jacobs, Player X
TE (3): Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Player X
OT (3): Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Jonathan Martin
OG (3): Alex Boone, Joe Looney, Brandon Thomas
C(2): Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin
DT (4): Justin Smith, Tank Carradine, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Lawrence Okoye
NT (2): Ian Williams, Quinton Dial
OLB (4): Aldon Smith, Corey Lemonier, Aaron Lynch, Player X
ILB (4): Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Chris Borland, Michael Wilhoite
CB (6): Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Jimmie Ward, Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser, Player X
FS (3): Eric Reid, Player X, Player X
SS (2): Antoine Bethea, Player X
K (1): Phil Dawson
P (1): Andy Lee
LS (1): Kevin McDermott