The San Francisco 49ers have to prepare for the loss of three or four contributing members of the team every season—and under the direction of coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke, they've dealt with these annual transition periods quite gracefully.
With the commencement of the new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11, Harbaugh and Baalke will undertake their fourth offseason together, looking to enhance this roster with affordable alternatives.
It's been a tough act, but they've topped themselves each year. And this year, an interesting marketplace has been set up in the days leading up to free agency, which could make for several steals and unique pairings. Fantasy football-type stuff.
NFL stars have been cut left and right or placed on the trading block, as teams refuse to meet high salary demands. And with so many of the moves coming at receiver, cornerback and defensive end, it speaks to the perception of the upcoming draft class. This is the type of thing that Baalke may recognize and take advantage of.
Being told it's going 2 still b a buyer's market tomorrow. That said, which teams set the the pace in "open" market will B interesting.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) March 10, 2014
While we've spoken at length about whom the 49ers should go after, it's also important to note that their first choice won't always be who winds up with them. It's important to have a contingency plan and be comfortable with it.
If this fire sale grows intensely competitive, it could pay to have a strong Plan B. Let's examine what San Francisco's might be at key positions of need in 2014.