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Bill Barnwell grades 49ers offseason

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The San Francisco 49ers have had an up-and-down offseason, and it is reflected in grading. Here's what Bill Barnwell had to say.

The San Francisco 49ers offseason of roster additions is just about a wrap. The team has 89 players on the roster following Jarryd Hayne's departure. They will add another player, and we could see some additional transactions, but for the most part, what we see is what we get.

ESPN writer Bill Barnwell has been making a run through each division and grading what they've done this offseason. On Thursday, he got to the NFC West. He graded out the 49ers with a C. For comparison, the Arizona Cardinals got a B+, the Los Angeles Rams got a C, and the Seattle Seahawks got a B.

Barnwell broke down what went right, what went wrong, and what is next for each team. For the 49ers, what went right included:

  1. They held onto Colin Kaepernick
  2. They built around the lines with their draft picks
  3. They hired Chip Kelly

The expectations were tempered to some degree for all three. National media talking about Kaepernick returning view it as, "Well, this is Kap's best shot, and if it doesn't work out, they can always cut him next year." On the Chip Kelly addition, he acknowledged his limitations, and said he was about the most successful head coach the 49ers could have hired. There is room for debate on what the team could have elected to do to hire Sean Payton. After all, everybody has a price, and the 49ers certainly could have figured out a godfather offer. My guess is personnel power probably factored into not pushing too hard on Payton.

For what went wrong, he looked at the team's lack of activity in free agency with "They forgot to upgrade the rest of the team." He acknowledged the 49ers interest in comp picks, but pointed to the potential to sign players who were released, or wait until after May 12 to add players without impacting the comp pick formula (emphasis mine).

Even if they were worried about that fourth-round pick, the 49ers could have targeted players who were released by their teams and therefore don't impact the compensatory formula. Or they could go after veterans now, given that signings after May 12 won't qualify for compensation. It's not as if the 49ers should be selling out to win in 2016, but this is a team with enormous question marks and no prospects of note at wide receiver, to pick a position. Should they have taken a flyer on somebody like Rueben Randle or Rod Streater? Should they go after Riley Cooper, who at least has familiarity with Kelly's system and flashed some competence in years past? Signing somebody like Cooper for real money would have been a bad idea, but for the minimum when your other option across from Torrey Smith is Quinton Patton or Bruce Ellington? This feels like a team that isn't actively trying to get better, which seems bizarre.

The wide receiver position has been a tough one to figure out given the team's lack of experience behind Torrey Smith. The team could think Quinton Patton or Bruce Ellington might figure something out, but I continue to think it will be either DeAndre Smelter or Eric Rogers who emerges as a potential starter. That's not to say one of them definitely will, but I see one of them being that guy.

Under the "what's next" category, Barnwell talked about the Anthony Davis situation. I think most 49ers fans have moved on from Davis for the time being. He might come back, but I think most of us are just going to assume he won't until we actually see him in practice somewhere.