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Golden Nugget: What are you predicting this offseason?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers news for Thursday, February 23rd, 2023

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Kawakami: A Trey Lance rise, a potential Javon Kinlaw exit path and more 49ers offseason predictions (paywall)

“It was striking last August, midway through camp, when Lance lined up the first-team offense out of the huddle but actually was in the wrong spot himself. Hey, you’re supposed to be in Pistol here, Kyle Juszczyk had to remind Lance. And Lance quickly realigned, got into the snap count and ran the play. But the timing was all messed up. You can’t have a QB confused about his own spot...I don’t imagine there will be any more moments like that one this offseason and into camp. If Lance is healthy and relaxed in the offense, I think the 49ers will be very happy with what they see. It’ll take a lot for Lance to get into a true competition with Purdy for the permanent QB1 spot in 2023 after everything Purdy did at the end of last season, but 1) it’s possible if Lance looks great and 2) Purdy obviously might not be ready to practice or play for a while.”

Is 49ers QB Brock Purdy’s delayed elbow surgery a cause for concern? (paywall)

“Pandya said it was perhaps notable that Purdy is dealing with what’s been termed “inflammation” rather than simply “swelling.” That could signify Purdy is dealing with ulnar neuritis, which occurs when inflammation of the ulnar nerve, often referred to as the “funny bone,” causes weakness or numbness in the hand...Purdy referred to possible nerve issues after he was injured, saying he felt “shocks” throughout his arm. If Purdy does have ulnar neuritis and it isn’t resolved, the surgery to repair his UCL also could include an ulnar nerve transposition. The procedure moves the ulnar nerve away from the area in which it’s being irritated.”

Every 49ers player set to hit free agency in 2023

“While there aren’t any franchise cornerstones hitting the market, there are a number of key players who will likely sign elsewhere. San Francisco has roughly $8 million in cap space, and will have closer to $4 million when accounting for its rookie draft picks, of which there are 10.”

Which free agent quarterbacks could make sense for 49ers

“If he does indeed undergo surgery before March 15, then this is moot. But there is now a genuine chance Purdy’s surgery comes after the start of free agency, or at least right up against it. And while free agency officially opens on the 15th, teams can negotiate on the 13th (and there are surreptitious discussions held before then)...Granted, cheap, veteran quarterbacks don’t necessarily fly off the shelves....But the 49ers need to know what type of backup quarterback they’re looking for. There’s a chance, if Purdy requires a brace-reconstruction combination surgery after March 15 — which would potentially end his season — that they could miss out on a borderline starter-capable target they won’t be interested in if he only needs internal brace surgery.”

ESPN: 49ers best free-agent fit for cornerback Cameron Sutton

“Sutton will have multiple suitors given his flexibility to play in the slot; Tennessee, Atlanta, and Las Vegas all work here,” wrote Bowen. “But with the number of 49ers defensive backs heading to free agency and Sutton’s ability to cover in man and find the ball in zone, the fit works in San Francisco with new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. Sutton posted three interceptions and 15 pass breakups for the Steelers in 2022, which were both career highs.”

Carthon explains why 49ers pivoted to draft Mitchell in ‘21

“Demitrius Washington, he’s the [vice president of football operations] for Minnesota, he ran our analytics department after [Kwesi Adofo-Mensah] left. He does his metrics to find all his guys,” Carthon said. “So he comes to me, he has a running back and he’s like ‘My numbers are telling me this is the best outside zone running back in the draft.’ He was like ‘But I’m not walking in there with Kyle [Shanahan] with just this paper to say that. Can you watch this guy and confirm what the tape saw?’..I watched the tape, that was my first exposure to the player and I agreed with him. And then that player ended up being Elijah Mitchell, that we took in the sixth round. Which, (in 2021) if we don’t have Elijah, we don’t go on the run that we went on.”