Last week I listed the five biggest questions the 49ers must answer this offseason. This morning I’m sitting on my bed thinking about the five biggest storylines of the 49ers’ offseason. Here’s what I came up with.
- Trent Baalke. He’s been inconsistent. In 2011, he arguably had the best offseason in the NFL, drafting Aldon Smith and Colin Kaepernick and Bruce Miller and signing Carlos Rogers and Jonathan Goodwin and Blake Costanzo. In 2012, Baalke had arguably the worst offseason of all the General Managers in the NFL. Of all the players he added last offseason, only one – LaMichael James – played in the Super Bowl, and he did not play well (he fumbled). Baalke whiffed last offseason. He cannot afford to whiff two offseasons in a row. He needs a brilliant draft, a couple of savvy free agent signings and one more thing – Baalke needs to figure out a way to sign Dashon Goldson to a multi-year contract. Baalke has been putting that off for years. If he loses Goldson, the 49ers will take a step back next season.
- Alex Smith. It doesn’t seem like any team wants to trade a conditional third round pick to the 49ers for Smith. Will the 49ers grant him his wish and drop him? Alex Smith has been a stand up guy, and it would be nice if the 49ers do right by him. Also, if they cut Smith, they’d have more cap space to sign Goldson.
- Colin Kaepernick. He’s already working out in Atlanta with a few receivers, according to reports. We know he’s a hard worker, but will he stay ahead of the curve? No player will be studied and scrutinized by NFL teams more than Kaepernick this offseason. The league will adjust to him. Will he readjust to the league? That will take more mental preparation than physical training.
- The stadium. Will the 49ers finish it in time? They want to have it done for the playoffs in January, 2014. That means they have less than 11 months to complete the job.
- A.J. Jenkins. Last season, he said he was going to run “the hill” with Jerry Rice, but never did. This offseason, Jenkins said he was going to train with Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta, but so far Chad Hall and Ricardo Lockette are the only 49ers’ receivers with Kaepernick in Atlanta. When will Jenkins step up? Will he finally make a push to become the No.2 starting receiver opposite Michael Crabtree, or will Trent Baalke admit a mistake and draft another wide receiver early in this draft?