clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A look back at Bill Barnwell’s 5 suggestions for the 2017 49ers

The 49ers were aggressive in some ways and patient in others. Here’s how Bill Barnwell’s suggestions panned out.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrapped up his annual series where he offers five suggestions for how each team should approach the offseason. He made some obvious suggestions for the San Francisco 49ers, while mixing in some interesting alternatives.

There is a lot of work left to do this offseason, but for kicks, I thought it would be interesting to look back at what Bill Barnwell said the 49ers should consider a year ago. It was the start of a new era, with the arrival of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. Roster overhaul was the name of the game, but Barnwell also pointed to a need for patience. Here are the five things he suggested last year.

1. Re-sign Eric Reid
2. Resist the urge to do something dramatic at quarterback with the second overall pick
3. Actually, resist the urge to do something drastic in general
4. Pursue defensive help
5. Re-sign Carlos Hyde

The 49ers did not extend either Reid or Hyde, and a year later, both stand a decent chance of walking in free agency.

Last week, John Lynch talked about his desire that the team be aggressively prudent. They stunned a lot of people when they gave Kyle Juszczyk the biggest contract a fullback has ever received by a wide margin. The Malcolm Smith contract also caught a lot of us off-guard. But even with the money they spent last year, nothing has put them in a position to be hamstrung over the next two or three years. Part of that comes from having a ton of cap space, but also the fact that the deals allow for easy outs two or three years in.

I would contend the 49ers really did not do anything drastic prior to the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. They moved down from No. 2 to No. 3 and drafted Solomon Thomas. They did get aggressive in moving up to draft Reuben Foster. In hindsight that is looking a more problematic, but we have yet to see how this whole situation will play out.

Aside from not extending Reid or Hyde, the 49ers did not quite approach their defensive adjustments like Barnwell suggested. He said the team should look for young talent that are going to hit their peak in the next couple years. He mentioned edge rushers Jabaal Sheard and Nick Perry, as well as cornerbacks A.J. Bouye, Stephon Gilmore, and Logan Ryan. The 49ers added Elvis Dumervil as an edge rusher, and then added Ahkello Witherspoon in the draft. Malcolm Smith ended up on IR, but will likely be a key contributor in 2018.

The team heads into 2018 free agency with a big chunk of change now, and just as much if not more in 2019. The Jimmy Garoppolo contract is loaded up this year, which could put the team in position to make some big moves next year. How the team approaches this year’s free agency will give us a helpful hint exactly how much they want to push things in 2018 vs. 2019.