It would seem clear that the Niners do not intend to extend Carlos Hyde. Personally, I think that that makes good sense from the viewpoints of both parties. For the Niners, they can obtain better value by finding a replacement who is a better scheme-fit for Shanahan's zone scheme for less money than Carlos may command. For Hyde, his skill-set is better suited for a power-run scheme where he can be the featured RB and will likely perform better than he did in 2017. A win-win situation.
Identifying the right replacement is a two-tiered process. The first question is: Given that the RB roster without Hyde consists of 4 young guys with very limited experience, does it make more sense to seek a replacement via free agency or through the draft? Then, based upon that answer ...
If via free agency, should the Niners sign:
- A bigger RB like Isaiah Crowell (age 25), who is a tough all-around runner, who is faster than Hyde and is also a good receiver and blocker, and who Shanahan worked with in Cleveland.
- A smaller speed back like ...
Dion Lewis (age 28), a speed back with good receiving skills but who has a frequently-injured history, or
Jerick McKinnon (age 25), a speed back younger than Lewis who has flashed in the past and "wants to be the guy" but who has never yet been given that opportunity
If via the draft, should the Niners:
- Trade up in the draft to select a second-round RB like Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, or Rashaad Penny, or
- Simply select a guy in the mid-rounds from a very deep RB class