Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Free agency wasn't terribly kind to the 49ers.
San Francisco couldn't retain safety Donte Whitner's services—at least at his asking price—so they signed disappointing Antoine Bethea to take his place. The kicker? His full contract is only worth $7 million less than Whitner's, though the latter got nearly $6 million more guaranteed.
The 49ers also lost cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers in free agency, replacing them with Hail Mary acquisition Chris Cook.
There wasn't a lot of money to throw around, and the 49ers are chock full of young players waiting for a starting gig. But backpedaling in free agency could be problematic in the short term.
The draft was a home run for the 49ers, though who knows how it might have turned out had they made a big splash in the first round. San Francisco had the means to move up and snag a top-tier receiver or pass-rusher, but general manager Trent Baalke stood pat in the first round to grab safety Jimmie Ward, a solid pick.
Baalke didn't stand still throughout the rest of the draft, however, wheeling and dealing his way to a fantastic haul.
The 49ers landed their running back of the future, Carlos Hyde out of Ohio State, with their second-round pick. Whether he pans out as such will be interesting to see, but he is probably the best running back San Francisco has drafted in recent years.
Center Marcus Martin could feasibly start in year one, Chris Borland is a Zach Thomas clone who will only make the middle linebacker position even stronger, offensive lineman Brandon Thomas was a steal in the third round who should be a starter after recovering from a knee injury this year, and Bruce Ellington is a high-upside receiver who adds great depth to the position.
All in all, the 49ers got a ton of quality prospects to add to their ever-deepening pool, a veritable fountain of youth they can tap into as aging veterans begin to fall off.
Despite all the success of recent years, the 49ers have had a bit of a rough offseason.
It started early, when rumors surfaced that Jim Harbaugh wanted to be traded to Cleveland, of all places. Harbaugh and Baalke repeatedly denied any such demand, despite what the Browns said.
The situation highlighted a perceived tension between Harbaugh and Baalke, one that might ultimately see one skip town next year.
Then there is outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who got in trouble with the law yet again this offseason. This time, he was arrested for an alleged bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport, per Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. He was ultimately released with no charge, but it was another strike against Smith for off-field issues.
Those issues weren't worrisome enough for the 49ers to avoid exercising their 2015 option on him, but he needs to turn things around off the field if he wants to avoid any kind of lengthy suspension.