The once-proud San Francisco 49ers franchise was literally the worst team in the NFC in 2016, but with new men steering the ship, the organization feels they are not far from returning to respectability. Kyle Shanahan has been a successful coordinator in this league for several years, and he was finally given his first opportunity to run his own team immediately following the Falcons’ loss in last February’s Super Bowl. Former Pro Bowl safety John Lynch also joined San Francisco as the new GM. Together, the two men with immense football lineage will set their sights on turning the tide in the Bay Area.
2016 Record: 2-14
Notable Additions: GM John Lynch, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, WR Pierre Garcon, LB Brock Coyle, RB Kapri Bibbs, QB Matt Barkley, OT Garry Gilliam, WR Marquise Goodwin, TE Logan Paulson, WR Aldrick Robinson, DT Earl Mitchell, RB Tim Hightower, K Robbie Gould, FB Kyle Juszczyk, LB Malcolm Smith, QB Brian Hoyer
Notable Subtractions: GM Trent Baalke, Head Coach Chip Kelly, S Antoine Bethea, CB Tramaine Brock, RB Shaun Draughn, QB Colin Kaepernick, K Phil Dawson, OL Marcus Martin, WR Torrey Smith, WR Quinton Patton, LB Gerald Hodges
Notable Rookies: DL Solomon Adams, LB Reuben Foster, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, QB C.J. Beathard, RB Joe Williams, TE George Kittle, WR Trent Taylor
Analysis: While the 49ers’ 2016 campaign was an unmitigated disaster, most would agree the organization had a tremendous offseason. The new GM/Head coach combination of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan brings instant credibility to this franchise, and you have to give the pair credit for what they were able to accomplish in just a few short months. Starting with a brilliant draft day trade with the Bears to slide down just one pick, while acquiring several future selections, and still getting the man they wanted (defensive lineman Solomon Adams), Lynch and Shanahan have set this team up to be much better moving forward. Like Adams, second round pick Reuben Foster is believed to be a cornerstone defensive player that can be a perennial pro bowler. Shanahan had wide receiver Pierre Garcon in Washington and was thrilled to bring the playmaker west, while Malcolm Smith and Earl Mitchell will join the rookies on defense to in all likelihood make that unit the strength of this team. The one thing missing from San Francisco’s offseason was a legit quarterback, as the Niners are set to go with a combination of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley behind center. That could have been strategic, though, as Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins is set to hit free-agency this offseason. Given his ties to both Shanahan and Garcon, it would make sense to assume San Francisco is planning to make a run at the former Michigan State Spartan.