Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 3/9/13
The 49ers have had two very successful seasons under Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, reaching the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl in those two years, but they still lost their last game of the season. The team will need to address a few needs if they want to win the last game this year General Manager Trent Baalke, who has holes to fill, especially on defense and wide receiver, has options some teams could only hope for with about $14 million in cap space and a plethora of draft choices.  They potentially have 15 picks to (seven are their own, five are from trades, and possibly three compensatory picks) choose or maneuver with to fill the roster or set themselves up for the future, similar to what the New England Patriots have done for years. Where do Baalke and Harbough start in free agency? At the top of their list should be to sign All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson.  He provides leadership and stability for a secondary that has not had any since Hall Famer Ronnie Lott left for Oakland in 1991.  His size (6’2” 200lbs) is perfectly set to anchor the 49ers secondary.  They are also losing safety Darcel McBath to free agency, but this is a a place they can fill in the draft On the defensive line they should first look to re-do the contract of defensive end Justin Smith, who has a $8 million salary ($7.5 million cap hit).  Once Smith is extended they then should focus on filling the roles of DE/DT Ricky Jean –Francis and NT Isaac Sopoaga who are also available.  Jean-Francis was inexpensive (2012 cap figure was $615,000)and filled in for Justin Smith when he was injured so they should look to bring him back, but Sopoaga may have priced himself out (2012 cap figure of $3.8 million with only 27 tackles) and they could look elsewhere.  A possibility, if he is looking for a title and would take a cap friendly deal is Oakland Raiders DE/DT Richard Seymour.  Seymour would be a great role model for both Justiin and Aldon Smith.  ANotyher person they could take a flier on is former Philadelphia Eagle DT Cullen Jenkins who will bring experience and should not cost too much. On the offensive side, in particular the wide receivers they are thin with both Ted Ginn Jr. and Randy Moss both free agents.  Ginn Jr. has a better shot of coming back, if he is willing to stay in the neighborhood he played for in 2012 ($1.2million cap number).  The rest of the free agents available as FA are high ticket players like Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings.  I think with the depth in the draft, they could either grab someone like Ryan Swope from Texan A&M late in the second round or package a couple of picks and trade with Green Bay for someone like Jordy Nelson where the Packers could rebuild in other areas. The final area the 49ers need to iron out id the kicking position.  The 49ers cut former All-Pro David Akers, who has a dismal year last week.  The team could now go in the direction of an older kicker, such as Phil Dawson who is 38 years old, but very reliable, or they could go for a college player like Nebraska kicker Brett Maher or Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins who are two of the three top rated kickers. Overall the 49ers will be contending next year and if done right for the next decade.  With quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Smith’s on defense they have enough money and picks to rebuild while not losing a step.  They need to treat this offseason as a marathon and not a sprint. var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
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