Let's play a quick game of make believe for a moment and pretend that the 2011 San Francisco 49ers roster will be the same in 2012.
We know it won't be but let's just pretend for the sake of argument and discussion.
Now that we have done that, let it be known to much applause and maybe some surprise, that out of the 78 players currently listed on the 49ers roster, only 10 of these players are 30 or above.
These 10 players are as follows (www.49ers.com/team/roster.html):
|86||Jennings, Brian||TE/LS||6-5||242||35||12||Arizona State|
Let us also pretend that the two players who are currently 29 and will turn 30 during the offseason, Andy Lee and Shawntae Spencer, will remain 29 for this discussion.
Now that we have identified this, let us take a step back and bask in the realization that the entire core of this roster is under thirty.
Well under thirty in fact.
The only two possible glaring, "uh-oh's" would be Justin Smith who is currently 32 and would turn 33 on September 30th, and David Akers who is 37 and a kicker — which is traditionally an ageless position.
The rest of the roster is packed full of primo athletes who are either in their prime or entering it.
This equation spells one word: Dynasty.
OK, that might be jumping the gun seeing as though there are currently no rings yet for this roster and they only got close just this last year. But the pieces are obviously there.
Who is the most important 49er under 30? Most of them, if not all of them on some level.
Sure Patrick Willis might hold more value than Joshua Morgan but for all intents and purposes the 49ers have a young, talented roster on both sides of the ball.
However, the opportunities to achieve one Super Bowl victory let alone multiple Super Bowl victories in a short window are slim.
There's a reason why dynasties in the NFL are rare and celebrated things.
But let's not let the challenges of the league and the sport itself take away from the fact that the pieces are certainly in place on paper with obviously more bolstering to come this offseason.
What we are really looking at here is about a solid five-year window to win one title, if not more.
Why five years?
Because in five years, the following key players will have exited or will be exiting their athletic prime (current age listed):
-- Justin Smith, 32
-- Vernon Davis, 28
-- Frank Gore, 28
-- Patrick Willis, 27
-- Alex Smith, 27
-- DaShawn Goldson, 27
-- Joe Staley, 27
Next year's schedule will be much harder than this last year's.
They will also face the defending champion New York Giants in San Francisco.
The 49ers were lucky this year with incredible turnover margins (except of course in that last fateful game) and a relatively injury-free season.
This roster is young and potent at key positions but will require some depth and mild rebuilding in the next three to five years.
Not to worry.
Such things are all part of the game and the glory that is the NFL.
And with the current front office, coaching and players in place...
It's going to be a fun and exciting window to watch.