San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have worked hard to bring last season’s Super Bowl roster as close as possible, and for the most part, have been able to do so. They re-signed key contributors like defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Ronald Blair, and safety Jimmie Ward during the process, but the 49ers failed to bring everyone back.
San Francisco traded defensive tackle Pro Bowl DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts when it became clear that he would not be able to meet his future price. The team also watched wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, a player for whom he had abandoned two draft picks, leaving for the New Orleans Saints via free agency.
“You make this decision to trade for Emmanuel, which I would do more than a thousand times because I don’t think we would have [reached the Super Bowl] without that, “said Shanahan on Saturday. “Then you come into the offseason, and we say to ourselves,” Okay, we have a good team, “and you start to figure out how to sign guys and things like that again.
“You don’t want to let anyone from our own team go. Then we were trying to make Buck a long-term deal, and try to figure that out with Armstead, Jimmie Ward. “
The losses created glaring draft needs for San Francisco, which the team immediately addressed with their two first-round picks.
Lynch and Shanahan found a Buckner replacement in 14th place in South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, hopefully keeping the strength of the defense, the defensive line.
“I think they may have been the best defensive line in football last year,” said Kinlaw on Thursday. “I’m not just saying that. The way they play, they play the right way. I feel like they are playing the way the game is supposed to be played. Kinlaw is not at all intimidated about replacing the unit’s Pro Bowl leader and is anxious to get to work.
“I’ve been watching DeForest since he left college,” added Kinlaw. “I know he started out as a gross player and has grown into a monster. I feel like once I can get that type of coach, I can probably be someone like him. “
Kinlaw also arrives with a much more user-friendly salary cap. The 49ers will see him contract for $ 15.5 million for the next four years with an option for a fifth year. Buckner will cost the Colts an average of $ 21 million a year on his new five-year deal.
Sanders will earn an average of $ 12 million over the next two years with the Saints. Brandon Aiyuk, the 49ers’ second-round first choice, will, however, earn about as much over the life of his four-year rookie contract. Like Kinlaw, San Francisco will also have a fifth grade option with its rookie receiver.
“I’ve seen a lot of people compare me to [Sanders] “Aiyuk said Thursday. But just for him, it’s just all aspects of the game. I just feel like he could do the same things I do, that is, catch the ball at three levels or even just get behind the line of scrimmage with a screen pass and just break the keys and make things happen. “
Then you touched on Joe Staley’s retirement, which sparked all kinds of emotions among the fan base and created a massive need to replace the left anchor along the offensive line. Lynch and Shanahan have been diligent in meeting this need, swapping for veteran Trent Williams, while dropping a fifth-round pick this year and a third round next year in Washington.
San Francisco therefore went from one tackle to another during the transition from Staley to Williams. “When it comes to skills, Trent is similar to Joe,” said Shanahan on Saturday. “I mean, these are two of the sportiest guys I have ever known in this position and they can run, and they are perfect for our plan. “
Staley was to have a salary cap of $ 11.5 million, according to OverTheCap.com. Williams’ number of caps for the final year of his current contract is $ 1 million more than that, and the 49ers are reportedly hoping to lower that number a bit.
Trent Williams and the 49ers are expected to restructure last year on his contract, per source. But Williams will report and play for SF this season.
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 25, 2020
“I think the plan was to make it land now and let the rest work,” Shanahan replied when asked about Williams’ contract. “I think it’s always an advantage when you have someone in the building, on your list. Now you have a chance, and we will have a very good look at it. “We will see where the rest of our team is, but for now, we are just delighted to have been able to withdraw it and at a truly opportune time. “
Shanahan revealed that the 49ers’ save plan, if they hadn’t landed Williams, was to fish Colton McKivitz in West Virginia and make him compete with players like Daniel Brunskill and Justin Skule for work . San Francisco got Williams, and McKivitz also got the fifth round.
Attacking midfielder Matt Breida and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin have both been traded with other teams. A group of deep petticoats made Breida stretchy. He was sent to the Miami Dolphins.
San Francisco was already considering buying Goodwin in February. Then Lynch made it clear last week, during an interview with KNBR, that the veteran receiver became more consumable when the team signed Travis Benjamin last month for a one-year contract. 12 receptions for 186 yards and a touchdown last year. He will seek to find more success with his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 49ers also added Jauan Jennings, who brings good size and physical fitness to the receiving group in the seventh round of the draft.
“I’m just thrilled to get there and be part of the great team they already have,” said Jennings ecstatic on Saturday. “For me to come in, it’s a blessing, and I’m extremely grateful and I’m looking forward to working my butt for them.” They gave me a chance, and I will do my best not to disappoint. “