Bleeech. The 2013 season came to a resouding thud last night as Richard Sherman tipped a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree that was intercepted as time was winding down. Sherman of course classed the joint up by giving the choke sign and screaming at Erin Andrews as his team celebrated their trip to the Super Bowl. God, I hope they lose the Super Bowl. Don’t want to think about or mention the game. Might as well look ahead.
What happens now will be interesting to say the least. Donte Whitner’s a free agent, but he has stated numerous times he wants to stay here. Carlos Rogers is the one on shakey ground. He’s scheduled to make $13.5 mill over the next 2 years, and he’ll be 33 come summer time. With Chris Culliver hopefully coming back from injury, Brock and Brown playing well, and Perrish Cox as the backup, I think we can lose him, and he’d only be around $3.5 mill of dead money. Plus we’ll draft for DB help as well. The linebackers are locked in for the next couple years, and even Dan Skuta is signed through next year. You have to wonder how much longer Justin Smith can play at this level, but he showed he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He’s got one more year as well. Tarell Brown, who mistakenly lost out on $2.2 mill this season by not participating in team-scheduled practices, did get a bump from the Niners in December, but they still need to decide what to do with him. I’d say sign him. Adios Carlos.
Offensively is where things get sketchy. Michael Crabtree has one year left on his contract, as does Colin Kaepernick. Those 2 stand to cash in very heavily, and the Niners may try to work on contract extensions before they hit the free market next year. Mike Iupati is down to his last year as well, and with the extension of Anthony Davis, you have to wonder how hard they’ll want to hold on to Iupati. He may end up a cap casualty, but I think they’ll at least try to sign him this offseason to a multi-year deal. Crabs likely wants something in the $50-60 mill/5 year range. He came back ahead of schedule and played outstanding ball, so you’d think they will go hard to extend him. Kappy? Well, had he won yesterday his numbers would have gone up. As it is, the Niners could hedge their bet and not re-up til the contract ends after next season. This could prove to be very costly, as the Baltimore Ravens recently discovered. Sign him up front, and you control some of the cost, but his star-crossed career has already had more that its share of big wins and crushing losses. Can they make another deep playoff run 4 years in a row with Kappy at the helm? Or do they draft his replacement and play out the string? I don’t see that happening, but do they want to tie themselves to a 5 year $120 mill deal with him? I think we draft a QB at somewhere around the 3rd round just to be on the safe side.
Whatever the case, Crabs and Kappy are set to cash in. Beyond that, there are a lot of instant free agents as of now. The list is:
Off the top, I think Manningham, Pea Shooter McCoy, Goodwin, Wright, and Boobie are gone. The obvious concerns are Anquan Boldin and Tarell Brown. Boldon is 33, but his impact on the success of the team was pretty much off the charts. He and Kappy developed a quick rapport and without Boldin, I don’t think this team even makes the playoffs. But he’s going to want 3 years at least. And with Crabs set to break the bank, I’m not sure how they handle this. I’d think with Rogers coming off the books, they’ll try to keep Brown, with Culliver hopefully recovering from his knee injury.
Phil Dawson was money as well, but he shouldn’t cost all that much. Keep him. Cox and Osgood shouldn’t cost too much either. Get them back as well.
Beyond that, all these upcoming deals have the huge caveat of the 49ers moving into their shiny brand new stadium. They aren’t going to want to lay a big fat egg once they get there, so I wonder how this affects their thinking, if at all. One would think that they will maybe spend more than the may want to to keep the core group together, and make sure they have a strong team going into the 2014 season. They can pass the buck til 2015, but by then the team could be stripped of a lot of good players and we hit another rebuilding session. Will Harbaugh be up for that? He’s looking for a new fat contract himself, and he certainly burns brightly as he moves around the coaching sphere. Will he get itchy feet?