With free agency less than a month away, and the draft not too far after, the machinations of the NFL offseason are already underway.
The first domino to fall for the 49ers will be the trade of Jimmy Garoppolo, but it begs the question, what comes next?
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch took a look at some of the 49ers’ needs and three significant areas that should be addressed.
First, there’s a speedy wide receiver. Branch said he noticed that when Trey Lance started for the first time, the “Belle Glade Blur,” Travis Benjamin, was made active for the first time after an under-the-radar season.
“I think they need a speed wide receiver,” Branch said. “Doesn’t have to be a big money type of free agent, and maybe it’s a later round pick, but just someone who can stretch the field.”
While Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are both quick, Branch feels the 49ers need to add a clear option to take the top off of a defense.
Branch also looked at the departure of Garoppolo and believes the 49ers need a competent backup quarterback to avoid similar disasters of seasons past.
“They have to get a veteran quarterback and kind of a competent — maybe spend a little money here and get a competent veteran quarterback behind Trey Lance… just because you don’t want to recreate 2018 or 2020 when your starting quarterback went down and then you went to this Mullens and Beathard situation and they just obviously weren’t good enough.”
Lastly, the 49ers need to get Nick Bosa some help on the edge. While defensive line coach Kris Kocurek has maximized the mostly moneyball signings that have come in lieu of Dee Ford’s continued absences, the team can do better at that position.
“You need the bookend edge rusher to Bosa,” Branch said. “The Rams got that. They paid a high price to get Von Miller but we saw the impact that had.
“Kris Kocurek, known as one of the better defensive line coaches in the NFL, [is] a guy that’s gotten significant production out of Arden Key and Kerry Hyder, guys the Niners got off the scrap heap. If Kocurek can work wonders with with those guys, get a 22-year-old second-round pick in there and see what he can do. And maybe it’s free agency.”
If the 49ers follow Branch’s checklist, they’d add a speedy receiver, solid backup QB and young, highly-touted edge rusher this offseason.
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