The San Francisco 49ers have teetered on the brink of their sixth world championship in each of the last three seasons, only to come up short.
The clock is ticking as the window of opportunity is only open for so long. Several star players are nearing the twilight of their careers, and the hope is that they can hang on for one or two more great runs.
Even now, key players are unlikely to return in 2014, as age and salary-cap constraints are an issue. We have probably seen the last of Jonathan Goodwin, Carlos Rogers and perhaps even Donte Whitner in a 49er uniform.
The 49ers, unfortunately, are at a point in their salary structure where many high-priced veterans are likely on the way out.
General manager Trent Baalke will need to bolster the roster through the draft and with judicious use of the free-agent market.
There appears to be six critical areas the 49ers must focus on right away. These include two cornerbacks, two wide receivers, a safety and a center.
Whether they can find quality replacements in their own system, through the draft or via free agency remains to be seen.
With the 49ers close to the top end of the salary cap, it will be tough for Baalke to make a lot of moves in free agency.
In addition to trying to retain their own key free agents, Baalke may have the flexibility to acquire a couple of reasonably priced players to fill some holes, so let's take a look at who would be a good fit for the 49ers.
*All stats are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.
*All contract data is courtesy of Spotrac.com.