Feb. 20 — First day for teams to designate franchise or transition players. The deadline to designate players is March 6 at 2 p.m. MT.
Feb. 27 – March 5 — NFL scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
March 12 -14 — Legal tampering period for NFL teams to negotiate new contracts with 2018 free agents. Deals cannot be signed until the start of the new league year, at Noon PT on March 14.
March 14 — Start of the 2018 league year. At Noon PT , new contracts can be signed and the trading period begins.
March 25-28 — Annual league meeting in Orlando.
April 2 — Teams that hired new head coaches after the end of the 2017 season can begin offseason workout programs.
April 16 — Teams with returning head coaches can begin offseason workout programs.
April 20 — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
April 26-28 — NFL draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Anyhow, what with the only cool thing coming up that is 49er-relate, we have free agency and the draft.
Biggest Needs in No Particular Order:
Wide Receiver: If this season has shown us anything it is that Jimmy G can make a pedestrian WR corps look pretty special. That being said, we will get Pierre Garcon back, as well as the resurgent Marquise Goodwin. Trent Taylor proved to be a decent slot/3rd down option as well. The rest were meh. I suspect a couple FA signings to bolster this group. Donte Moncrief is a possible guy who wouldn’t cost too much. the big FAs (Davonte Adams) will likely just re-up. We could even trade down in the 1st round and go for a guy like the previously mentioned Courtland Sutton out of SMU.
Cornerback: Despite being thin at the position, the 49ers traded Rashard Robinson for a song (and a 5th round pick) from the Jets midway through the 2017 season. Apparently he had gotten into a couple fights on the team plane and was a bit of a head-case on the sidelines. To further that thought, Robinson was arrested last night for possession of edibles and driving erratically. Ahkello Witherspoon showed up his freshman season and played very well. Dontae Johnson didn’t. We desperately need another corner.
Will Minkah Fitzpatrick be there with the 9th/10th pick? Probably not what with CB being so in-demand, but there are some FAs available, notably Malcolm Butler and Patrick Robinson.
Edge Rusher: Another huge need is the pass rush. While the D line is fairly stout against the run, with a healthy 3.8 yard average gain per, the pass rush was a woeful 26th in the league with 30 sacks. We won ourselves out of the Bradley Chubb sweepstakes, so he’s out. However, BC’s Harold Landry and Okla’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo are a coupe guys that most likely will be available. Guys out there available are Koly Ealy of the jets (who was tossed by NE), or Ezekiel Ansah. Both would be a vast improvement over what we’ve gotten.
Guard: Yeah yeah, Bergs, guard. When Joshua Garnett went down, the thinness at that position reared its ugly head in a big way. Zane (beat the) Meatles, Laken Tomlinson, and Brandon Fusco all proved to be pieces of dried dog shit. The Niners need to address this with likely an FA or two, and a draft pick or two. The FA gets, are Andrew Norwell from the Panthers (he’s gonna cost), and Justin Pugh of the New York Football Giants. Tomlinson may be the only one to survive the offseason. Beadles and Fusco need to depart.
The draft? Say it with me, Bergs: Quentin Nelson.
Since free agency happens before the draft, it’s hard to figure how they go in the draft. That being said, I think the needs for the team break down this way:
- Edge Rusher
- Wide Receiver
I know we keep drafting for defense, and defensive linemen at that (3 in a row), but still and all, this is our biggest hole. A strong pass rush helps out for the next need, cornerback.
The O? well, yeah, the interior line play was terrible in 2017. The hope that with better guard play will come better play from Daniel Kilgore. He’s only 30 and should have some good years left, but his play suffered badly last year.
The rest? RB depends on what Hyde does. LB is thin. safety is in pretty good shape with Jimmie Ward, Jaquizz Tartt, and the rest coming back from injury. reid ended up playing well, and the young guys like Colbert and even CB Greg Mabin played well in limited time.
Free agency will give us a hint as to the direction they go. Funny thing is, I really think that what we say here jives with what actually happens. Unlike the Baalke era where Baalke NEVER drafted for need and instead seemingly picked random names out of a hat. Most famously, AJ Jenkins, whose name was placed in an envelope before the draft as the guy they desperately wanted. WOOF!