Levi’s Stadium will be open at full capacity this season, which means the 49ers should have their home-field advantage back in 2021. Technically, they were 1-7 at “home” in 2020. Though the team spent the month of December in Arizona, the home games earlier in the season didn’t exactly go as planned.
While COVID-19 cases, vaccination numbers and local guidelines are all trending in the right direction, the club isn’t out of the woods entirely. Their first home game is an exhibition matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on August 14. That’s plenty of time for numbers to swing further in their favor, but it’s also a wide enough gap that the opposite could happen and local guidelines don’t allow for the outdoor arena to be filled with 68,500 fans.
Team President Al Guido released a statement on Twitter about the re-opening of the stadium, with the caption, “This moment has been a long time coming!”
It remains to be seen what kind of market there will be for Jones, and whether another club will come over the top and offer a first-round pick and then some. If that’s the case, San Francisco would be out of the running early.
Adding Jones is the kind of move that would elevate the 49ers’ passing game to a level it can only reach with a player of Jones’ caliber. There are maybe three pass catchers in the league that impact games the way he does.
No. 3: Week 14 — 49ers @ Bengals
It’s probably better the Niners are playing on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals late in the year where the early fall humidity in Cincinnati won’t quite be the same X-factor as it was in Week 2 back in 2019.
Granted, San Francisco won that game two seasons ago in decisive fashion, but the Bengals are going to hope for a turnaround in fortunes this year with quarterback Joe Burrow looking to back up his impressive-yet-abbreviated rookie campaign from 2020.
True, it’s tough to see the Bengals winning more than eight games this season. Despite Burrow’s presence, Cincy is at least another year or two away from being legitimate contenders. But that doesn’t mean Week 14 completely avoids the trap-game pitfall.
Now that is not to say it will make a difference in how the 49ers view Warner. Even if the Colts sign Leonard first, the 49ers still would and should sign Warner. He still would be worth the extra cash just to topple Leonard’s deal. But competitive advantage is everything the NFL. If the 49ers can save some millions of dollars, then it would be a sweet benefit. That extra savings could be used for a free agent or to even extend another player down the line.
Warner is worth every penny and he knows that. He also knows that as soon as he signs his deal that it will immediately become cheaper once Leonard is signed. The 49ers are fantastic when it comes to extensions. Just look at their most recent one with George Kittle last season. I fully expect Warner to endure the similar process as Kittle did.