49ers' Biggest Keys to Having Successful NFL Offseason

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2022

49ers' Biggest Keys to Having Successful NFL Offseason

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers made the most impactful decision in the NFL offseason to date when they decided to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo in favor of Trey Lance. 

    Garoppolo is expected to be a coveted trade target of a handful of franchises making their own quarterback changes this offseason.

    San Francisco needs to maximize the trade market for its departing signal-caller to help build up depth elsewhere on the roster. 

    Defensively, the 49ers' biggest focus should be on the secondary, and they have a few different avenues to fix that issue. 

    San Francisco can re-sign some of its biggest free agents, or go into the free-agent pool to improve at that spot on the field. 

    Kyle Shanahan's staff could also dive into the 2022 NFL draft for replacements in the secondary. The draft has been vital to the 49ers' success in recent years, and it could once again help the team's development as it tries to remain near the top of the NFC West. 

Maximize the Return on a Jimmy Garoppolo Trade

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    The 49ers' starting asking price for Jimmy Garoppolo should be a second-round pick.

    San Francisco needs to set the bar high because of the quarterback demand across the NFL. 

    The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are definitely in the market for a new quarterback, and other franchises, like the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints, could be depending on how the market develops. 

    San Francisco's trade power will increase if Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson remain with their respective teams. That would make Garoppolo the best veteran quarterback on the trade market. 

    The 49ers do not have a first-round pick because of the trades that brought them Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL draft. 

    A second-round pick would be a nice addition to the two Day 2 selections the 49ers are already in possession of. The 49ers have eight overall selections, but four of them come in the final two rounds. 

    The 49ers should be able to find an immediate contributor in the second round, like they did with Deebo Samuel in 2019.

    If they can't get a second-round pick, the 49ers should try for a third-round pick and at least one more selection to maximize the return for Garoppolo.

    A straight release of Garoppolo seems like an unacceptable outcome because of how coveted he could be in the coming weeks. 

Make the Right Decisions on the Secondary

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    San Francisco's biggest positional overhaul could come in the secondary.

    Josh Norman, Jason Verrett and Jaquiski Tartt are among the defensive backs set to hit the free-agent market. 

    Tartt should be the No. 1 target to re-sign because of how important he can be in the middle of the San Francisco secondary.

    The 49ers can pair Tartt with Talanoa Hufanga to be a strong pairing at safety to defend against some of the top passing attacks in the NFC West. 

    San Francisco could also allow Hufanga to take on a larger role at safety and build around the 2021 fifth-round pick.

    The NFC West side will have to make some signings at corner because of the high number of free agents at the position.

    The decision-making process could be aided by what the 49ers get in return for Garoppolo. They could ask for a player and a draft pick, or add extra selections to bring in multiple defensive backs in April.

Continue to Ace Late Rounds of NFL Draft

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    Doug Benc/Associated Press

    San Francisco has been one of the most successful teams with late-round NFL draft picks in recent years. 

    The 49ers landed Talanoa Hufanga in the fifth round and Elijah Mitchell in the sixth round of last year's draft, and both players were important to the team. 

    The 2020 seventh-round selection of Jauan Jennings began to reap rewards in 2021, and he could play a larger role in the offense behind Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel in 2022. 

    The late-round success needs to be replicated in April because of how many picks the 49ers have on the third day of the selection process. 

    San Francisco owns one pick in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, as well as three in the seventh round. 

    The 49ers can build up their depth with inexpensive draft talent if they nail their scouting reports, as they have in previous seasons. 

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