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Donte Whitner, SS—The 49ers would like to keep the 2012 Pro Bowler and league’s fifth-best cover safety, per the player's Twitter account (h/t Pro Football Focus), but the team doesn’t have the financial backing to commit to him at a fair market price.
Tarell Brown, CB—He is one of the homegrown talents who will be remembered as one of the better starters to come up through the farm system. Unfortunately, he will be a coveted player on the open market.
Phil Dawson, K—San Francisco would be wise to prioritize the retention of the All-Pro placekicker. Dawson hit game-winners and sometimes accounted for the only points on the day. For a team that notoriously underperforms in the red zone, they need to have a sure thing.
Mario Manningham, WR—His chance to emerge as an NFL starter never materialized in San Francisco. His play never impacted this team. Now with a bad ACL injury that is lingering and an expired deal, he has likely seen his last snap in the Bay Area.
Jonathan Goodwin, C—Age (35) and an expired contract will prevent Goodwin from returning. His three-year deal signed in 2011 was always his window to win a Super Bowl. It was never going to go beyond that.
Kassim Osgood, WR—He was one of the best free-agent signings the 49ers made this past offseason, and he was one of the last ones in after linebacker Nick Moody went down. Osgood, the 33-year-old special teams ace, deserves to come back as a fifth man but is too easy to replace.
Anthony Dixon, RB—If LaMichael James had been more durable, Dixon’s tenure might not have lasted this long. That said, he deserves a bigger role elsewhere, and he’ll never see the light of day behind Marcus Lattimore, Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter in 2014. He’ll walk gracefully.
Eric Wright, CB—There was an off chance that he redeemed his career in San Francisco, his hometown, but Wright never made a case to stay. This is a player at a position that will be easily upgraded via the NFL draft in May. It is a long shot that the 49ers consider bringing him back.
Colt McCoy, QB—The 49ers were panicky for a good duration of the season when it came to the backup quarterback situation. McCoy, newly signed from the Browns, was expected to be the No. 2 but had a bad training camp and a putrid showing in the preseason. San Francisco will draft a replacement here.