I’d love to know what everyone would like to talk about this month. Pending free agents? Segue into draft talk? We’ll probably begin to review the roster, but I’d love to hear any suggestions. This time a year ago, we were pretending that the Vikings were going to challenge the 49ers in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
Four of the above teams finished last in their respective divisions in 2020 — the Falcons, the Lions, the Eagles and the Jaguars. You’d figure a healthy 49ers team should be able to beat at least three of those teams.
The 49ers also will face the Bears in Chicago. The Bears head coach, Matt Nagy, is terrible and probably will get fired after 2021. And we don’t know who their quarterback will be next season. So the 49ers could win this game, too.
“Gauge trade interest for oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo, but ultimately consider reasons to keep him too,” wrote Jeremy Fowler. “The 49ers are 24-10 with Garoppolo and 7-25 without him since 2017. Keeping him doesn’t preclude San Francisco from drafting a quarterback in the first round and applying pressure on the veteran.”
“It would be helpful to find out what’s causing all these injuries to virtually every position and use that information to prevent them in 2021,” adds Fowler. “Keep either (Jason) Verrett or Richard Sherman at corner, but not both; can’t afford both, because re-signing linebacker Fred Warner (a 2022 free agent) and left tackle Williams are paramount.”
“The 49ers struck again. Aiyuk is in the same mold as the George Kittles’ and the Deebo Samuels’ added to San Francisco’s roster in recent years. He’s a dynamic player with the ball in his hands and dangerous after the catch.
“His 80.8 receiving grade on the season trailed only (Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin) Jefferson among rookies, and he got to that mark as the top option in the passing game for a 49ers team that was hammered with injuries for much of the season. Aiyuk’s relatively modest totals of 60 receptions for 748 yards and five receiving touchdowns were all top marks for San Francisco this season.
“A more stable quarterback situation in 2021 and a healthier 49ers offense should only help Aiyuk moving forward.”
“I can’t tell you with great (certainty) that, yeah, he’s going to be ready,” Lynch said via the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re working hard – and he is working hard – to try to get there.”
Ford had back issues prior to arriving in San Francisco. He played in just three games of the 2011 college season because of a back issue that required surgery, and he missed 10 games for the Chiefs in 2017 for another back surgery.
The 49ers originally described Ford’s injury as a neck issue, but it’s since been reclassified as a back injury.
“When you’re dealing with a part of your body – the back – sometimes these things take more time,” Lynch said via the Chronicle. “I think Dee tries to stay encouraged. But I think it’s been a struggle for him. And we try to stay encouraged, as well.”
Lynch, currently the 49ers’ general manager, was announced Tuesday among the final 15 of modern-era finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
However, two prominent former 49ers players, defensive lineman Bryant Young and linebacker Patrick Willis, did not advance past the semifinalist round.
Young was a finalist last year, but he did not make it beyond the final 25 this year. Willis, a Pro Bowl player in each of his first seven seasons, has not been a finalist in his two years of Hall of Fame eligibility.
The Hall of Fame selection committee is scheduled to meet virtually on Jan. 19 to select the next class of Hall of Famers. Up to five modern-era players, who must receive a minimum of 80 percent of the votes, will be elected.