ESPN’s NFL analyst acknowledged the Niners made some upgrades, but has some questions about their offensive line.
How did the San Francisco 49ers offseason compare to the rest of the NFL? Well, according to a ranking by ESPN NFL analyst Bill Barnwell, the Niners had the 21st-best offseason in the league. While the ranking is far from exceptional, the 49ers entered the offseason without any notable salary cap space or a first-round pick. So it’s honestly an accomplishment that they were able to avoid being ranked one of the ten worst offseasons in the league.
The 49ers had a tumultuous but quiet offseason. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the team despite the organization’s efforts to trade him. On the other hand, wide receiver Deebo Samuel remains on the team despite his (and his agent’s) best efforts to force San Francisco to trade him elsewhere.
Barnwell highlighted the Niners’ free-agent signing of cornerback Charvarius Ward as the notable thing that went right for the team this offseason. Barnwell noted that while Ward was inconsistent at times in Kansas City, “He’ll be a major upgrade on Josh Norman, who led 49ers cornerbacks in snaps a year ago.”
Barnwell highlighted Samuel’s unhappiness as one of three issues in his “What went wrong” section on the 49ers’ offseason. While he remains on the roster, Barnwell is understandably concerned that San Francisco has not seemed to rectify their relationship with the star wide receiver quite yet.
Barnwell’s two other main criticisms were the offensive line and Kyle Shanahan’s continued investment in wide receivers and running backs. He noted the loss of Laken Tomlinson in free agency creates some huge concerns about the interior offensive line. He also pointed out that drafting Ty Davis-Price and Danny Gray in the third round adds to an immense combination of draft capital and free-agent spending that Shanahan has dedicated to running back and wide receiver throughout his tenure.
Barnwell was not highly critical of the team’s decision to hold onto Garoppolo. Instead, he pointed to the quarterback’s offseason surgery and the surprisingly robust trade market as two things that ultimately put the 49ers in a bad position. Still, he thinks the organization “is left without any good options [to move Garoppolo] right now.”
Barnwell concluded his rundown of each team’s offseason with a nod to potential future moves. For the 49ers, he highlighted the impending need to extend star edge rusher Nick Bosa. Barnwell writes, “Make Nick Bosa the highest-paid defensive player in his own family, if not the entire league. Joey Bosa signed a five-year, $135 million extension with the Chargers after his third season in the NFL, and I wouldn’t expect Nick’s deal to fall far from the tree.”