The San Francisco 49ers have been on a quest to win the sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history for 28 years. They’ve come close recently, reaching a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games over the last four seasons.
Over the last few seasons there have been one consistent question, how long the 49ers Super Bowl window will be open?
The answer is simple, as long as Kyle Shanahan is in charge and has a healthy quarterback the 49ers will be contenders.
Let me explain.
Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have built a roster which doesn’t show any signs of falling off soon. The core of the team is made up of young stars, Fred Warner, Nick Bosa, Talanoa Hufanga, Charvarius Ward, Dre Greenlaw to name a few on defense. On offense there is Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Juszczyk and Trent Williams.
Around the stars San Francisco has several young players.
Since 2019 the 49ers have changed over nearly the entire offensive line. The only member of the starting offensive line in the Super Bowl that season still with the team in 2022 was Mike McGlinchey. According to reports he won’t be back with team next season. In his place will be a less costly option such as Colton McKivitz or Daniel Brunskill. A draft pick or free agent addition are other options.
At wide receiver and running back, only Samuel and Juszczyk remain. Three of the 49ers five backs will be going into year two or three next season. San Francisco is in a similar situation at wide receiver as well.
On the defensive side, the 49ers have Bosa and Arik Armstead to anchor the defensive line. Around the two veterans will are 2022 draft pick Drake Jackson and Javon Kinlaw. Kalia Davis spent nearly his entire first year rehabbing from a knee injury sustained in college. Look for the athletic defensive tackle to compete for a spot in the defensive line rotation with Kevin Givens.
San Francisco is stacked at linebacker. In addition to Warner and Greenlaw the 49ers have Oren Burks and Marcelino McCray-Ball locked up for 2023. McCrary-Ball turned heads throughout training camp and preseason last season. Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles is slated to become a restricted free agent, however the 49ers will likely tender him if a deal cannot be reached.
The one spot which is currently a question mark would be the secondary. Jimmie Ward is set to become a free agent as are Tashaun Gipson and Emmanuel Moseley. Still, the 49ers look to return three of five starters from week one last season.
Charvarius Ward and Talanoa Hufanga lead this group, while Samuel Womack shined during training camp to start the season as the top option in the slot. Deommodore Lenoir showed major improvement his second season with the team as well.
The key here is figuring out who the free safety will be. Will Gipson return for another season? Even if he does the 49ers should be looking to add a player here through the draft. George Odum is a decent backup and special teams standout.
Speaking of special teams, the 49ers locked up Taybor Pepper to a new three-year deal last week. The long snapper and punter Mitch Wishnowsky are set to return while the future of Robbie Gould is in question.