It would be easy to assume that the San Francisco 49ers are in excellent shape to repeat as NFC champions in 2013.
On the surface, the claim would be fairly simple to back up. San Francisco has a core of young and playoff-experienced veterans consisting of greats, including linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, tight end Vernon Davis and offensive tackles Anthony Davis and Joe Staley.
There are also the seemingly ageless veterans who include running back Frank Gore, center Jonathan Goodwin and defensive end Justin Smith.
Combine those players with a peerless coaching staff and a superb 2013 draft class, and the 49ers look like they are in the best shape ever to repeat the trip back into the Super Bowl.
Yet as fans and critics know, there are always additional factors that remain unseen. There are the concerns surrounding injury and fatigue. San Francisco experienced that last year with Aldon Smith and Justin Smith and is entering this season without their star wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
There are questions surrounding the depth of the team. How would an injury offset and impact the 49ers' chances both during the regular season and into the playoffs? In addition to depth concerns, how will San Francisco's rookies impact the team moving forward? Some, like 49ers first-round draft pick Eric Reid, may be expected to contribute immediately. Will he, and the others expected to fill big shoes, be ready?
Fortunately, the 49ers have already made a few free agent acquisitions moving into the 2013 season. Some of them may have critical roles to play with their new team moving forward. Others may serve as mere depth.
Despite these, there are still some free agents that could assist with the 49ers' chances. Currently, San Francisco has a little bit of "wiggle room" within the salary cap—currently over $2.89 million according to Spotrac.
If that is the case, and given that the free agents available may now come at a bargain price, why not take a flier on a couple of players that may assist the team? Some of these deals could possibly be negotiated for only one year and perhaps with zero guaranteed money—similar to the one-year, $1.775 million deal given to cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha earlier this offseason.
In any case, head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke will not do anything without good reason. If there is a player or two that might help out the team in any way, it is certain that Harbaugh and Baalke would be interested. They love to instill competition and there remains plenty of time for that before the regular season. Added depth could be a bonus as well.
Here are five free agents the 49ers should consider signing that may have a significant impact on the team returning to the Super Bowl in 2013.