The San Francisco 49ers have a lot of work in front of them if they are going to turn around what has been a disastrous fall from glory. The team has no answers at the quarterback position, they have numerous draft picks under-performing, and of course, the future of general manager Trent Baalke is in doubt.
Friend of the site, Matt Miller, recently put together a look at how he would fix the ten worst teams in the NFL. In looking at the 49ers, he started big, dismissing the entire coaching staff. He replaced the group with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as head coach. He has McDaniels bringing over Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll to be his main offensive assistant. He also has the 49ers hiring Mike Vrabel as defensive coordinator. Vrabel interviewed with the 49ers a year ago, according to reports, but he reportedly turned down the job. Given his Patriots connections, it could make sense for him to partner up with McDaniels. And with that move, he would have the 49ers moving to a 4-3 defense.
Miller then moves on to what he would do in free agency and the draft. He lists a $38 million figure for the team’s cap space, but they will have considerably more than that, even before factoring in any released players. The 49ers have approximately $40 million in cap space they can roll over to next season. They don’t have to roll it all over, so that will be something to track. But either way, they’ll have a ton of cap space.
Miller has the team signing wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, cornerback A.J. Bouyte, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, strongside linebacker John Simon, and re-signing quarterback Christian Ponder.
In the draft, he has the 49ers spending their top pick on Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. He is viewed by many as the best overall option in the draft, regardless of position. Miller has pushed that the 49ers need to go best player available, as opposed to focusing on a first round quarterback.
However, he does have them adding a quarterback. He projects the team trading their second round pick, which will be at or near the top of the round, to the New England Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He is nearing free agency, and the Patriots will want to move him before they get nothing in return. Tom Brady will eventually retire, but it seems unlikely to happen while Garoppolo remains under his current contract.
The 49ers clearly need to address the quarterback position. I have no idea how they plan on addressing it. They might use their top pick on the position, they might try and acquire one through a trade, or they might sign a veteran free agent. I don’t think anybody can say with certainty what the team will do. But this is a fun thought exercise to at least consider the possibilities.
You can go through the rest of the Miller’s draft picks, and the other specifics of the offseason here.