The San Francisco 49ers will face several difficult decisions this offseason. As the franchise prepares to hand the reigns to quarterback Trey Lance, the Niners will look to build a roster around their exciting young signal-caller. However, they will have limited resources to do so. Pro Football Focus released a new metric to evaluate which NFL teams have the best opportunities to add impact talent this offseason. The formula delivers a composite score between 0 and 100, with a higher score for teams better set up for the offseason. Unfortunately, the 49ers received a score of 3.2, which was the second-worst in the league.
It’s not surprising to see San Francisco towards the bottom of the rankings. After trading multiple future picks to move up in last year’s draft to add Lance, the 49ers do not currently have a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Moreover, the Niners have spent heavily in free agency and through contract extensions in recent years, leaving them minimal cap space.
PFF’s metric used three different inputs to calculate its composite score: effective cap space, draft capital, prorateable money (the total amount of cap space that could be created by restructuring contracts already on the books). The 49ers ranked 31st overall but were 25th in available cap space, 30th in draft capital, and 15th in prorateable money.
One thing that PFF’s analysis did not consider was cap casualties. After all, it seems clear that the 49ers have been preparing to move on from veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason for some time. San Francisco will create roughly $25 million in cap space by trading or releasing Jimmy G this offseason. According to Over the Cap, moving on from Garoppolo would singlehandedly jump the Niners from 24th to 14th in effective cap space. While other franchises will indeed move on from veterans for cap reasons as well, few will gain as much relief as the 49ers will from Garoppolo.
The good news for the 49ers is that the NFC West is easily the worst division by PFF’s metric. In fact, no team in the division rank in the top 20. The Seahawks rank 21st. The Cardinals rank 25th. The Rams are the only team that rank below the Niners, slotting in at 32nd with a composite score of 0.0.