Brandon Wade / Associated Press
The San Francisco 49ers are the NFL version of Marvel’s WandaVision: a great starting point that fizzled out towards the end, but has the potential to become so much more.
However, the organization needs visionary development to reach its full potential.
Further elaboration is necessary.
The roster is broken down and a little lost, at least compared to the unit that faced the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV.
Broad recipients Emmanuel Sanders and Kendrick Bourne left the agency. Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams and security Jaquiski Tartt are still on the market. General Manager John Lynch swapped All-Pro Defensive Tackle DeForest Buckner and linebacker Kwon Alexander for the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, respectively. In addition, left attacker Joe Staley withdrew.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer considered a franchise quarterback. His injury history – which includes a torn ACL – and exorbitant contract put his starting status at risk. It’s time to go all-in with another caller after the team’s final steps.
By prioritizing the offensive line, the 49ers are going down the road to seriousness and possibly more after a disappointing 6-10 performance. Lynch agreed to re-sign Trent Williams on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team is also expected to sign six-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Both steps should make the offense more attractive to any potential passer-by.
32-year-old Williams appeared to be the 49ers’ top off-season priority, and the numbers confirm it. The eight-time Pro Bowler agreed to a six-year deal for $ 138.06 million, including a $ 55.1 million guarantee. The proposed deal would make Williams the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history, leaving just behind the deal Green Bay Packers signed with David Bakhtiari in November.
Outlining the importance of Williams’ bond with San Francisco, the Niners slapped an aggressive offer from the Kansas City Chiefs, according to Albert Breer of the MMQB.
The preeminent blindside protector missed the 2019 campaign in an argument with the Washington Football team before being sent to San Francisco for fifth and third round draft picks in the final off-season. He returned to the field and dominated again. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams received the highest rating among offensive tackles last season.
Williams is a composer. He is an exceptional athlete with highlight role blocks. The 320 pound blocker is as fluid as any other in its pass set and when working downfield. More importantly, he’s vital to the 49ers program.
Brandon Thorn @BrandonThornNFL
Trent set up a clinic with his backside cut-offs this year. No one has grabbed hands as effectively as him in the past 5-6 years. https://t.co/hT7nPLbhTw
Kyle Shanahan’s offensive attack requires blockers with excellent lateral agility as the outer zone is the core game for the entire system. From there, the head coach sets his game plan on defense, taking the zone-heavy approach into account.
The Washington Football team drafted Williams 11 years ago with the fourth choice specifically for Shanahan’s system. It’s the perfect left device for that, even at an advanced age.
Lynch doubled in by adding another seasoned veteran who was perfect for the setup in Mack. Like Williams, the center has a history with the 49ers head coach. Mack learned Shanahan’s system as a member of the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and then followed him to the Atlanta Falcons.
While Mack’s addition is another perfect match, Weston Richburg’s possible retirement made the center a priority. Richburg had to undergo hip replacement surgery again this off-season with no return schedule. Mack is as smart and solid as a pivot can be. He will be the tip of the spear in the scheme as the running backs regularly read cut marks along the interior.
Danny Karnik / Associated Press
A season ago, the 49ers finished the league’s ninth-best offensive line per PFF. The unit should be even better when Williams is back and Mack catches the ball. The top five can be extraordinary as Mike McGlinchey gets back in shape after a spotty 2020. Daniel Brunskill can return to the right guard with Mack in the line-up and give the 49ers a full front five.
The potential of the offensive line makes the 49ers a target team.
Any quarterback possibly available sees two proven vets anchoring the front. The scheme delivers rapid mileage, no matter who is in the background. Tight End George Kittle is a force both as a runner and a receiver. The squad’s young broad recipients– Debo Samuel, 25, and Brandon Aiyuk, 23– are extremely exciting due to their ability to create after being caught.
So it’s no wonder that The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi, a former NFL executive for the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns, mentioned the 49ers in a hypothetical trade for Houston Desans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
On the surface, Texans are refusing to act the quarterback, according to ESPN’s Diana Russini. New general manager Nick Caserio could waffle as the April 29-May 1 draft draws closer, trying to maximize value given Watson’s irreconcilable differences with the organization.
Watson will be a game changer for every crime he leads the next season, but he’s another ideal part of the 49ers scheme. The thought of Shanahan, one of the best players in football, moving the bag and maximizing the quarterback’s skills, is delicious.
Sam Craft / Associated Press
San Francisco needs to get strong because others float. Athletic’s Joe Person reported Tuesday that the Carolina Panthers are “banned” at Watson.
Even if the 49ers can’t land the off-season crown jewel, the organization should consider bringing New York Jets signal caller Sam Darnold back to his home state. It can be debated whether Darnold is an improvement over Garoppolo. However, the 49ers can save $ 23.6 million by posting or trading Garoppolo before June 1st.
Darnold is only 23 years old. Shanahan’s quarterback movement system could unlock Darnold’s immense potential.
Any option behind the rebuilt front could push the 49ers back into Super Bowl competition from short-term disappointment. The window didn’t close as San Francisco realigned the roster to capitalize on the next few seasons.
To paraphrase Vision of Avengers: Age of Ultron: The 49ers must act now. And none of them can do it without others. … They are not what they could be and not what many intended. So there may not be a way to trust them. But you have to go now.
Brent Sobleski reports on the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @brentsobleski.