Step 1: Find a General Manager and Head Coach
There have been reports that the 49ers are potentially interested in hiring ESPN analyst, Louis Riddick. Josh Mcdaniels, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator, is rumored to follow Riddick if he does so become the 49ers general manager. Riddick should not be the 49ers next general manager. Riddick was head of the Eagles' personnel in 2011. That was the same year the Eagles' had one of the most friendly shopping sprees in free agent history. The Eagles haven't been the same since and are frankly still recovering. Chris Ballard would be a more ideal choice. Ballard is one of the best in the business when it comes to evaluating talent, something the 49ers desperately need. The Chiefs clearly don't want to let Ballard go so San Francisco should do everything in it's power to add Ballard to it's staff. Finding a head coach may also be a challenge for the 49ers. With Jed York being arguably the most impatient owners in the NFL, potential head coaches may be uncertain about taking the job. Combine that with the fact that other than Cleveland, the 49ers may be the most talent deprived teams in the NFL and the 49ers could arguably the least attractive job opening. The 49ers should interview with Josh Mcdaniels and if he wants to come accept him with open arms. It is however reported that Mcdaniels and Riddick are a package deal so this may be unlikely to happen. Kyle Shanahan would be a fantastic hire. In 2016, Shannon and Matt Ryan turned Atlanta's' offense that was lackluster in 2015 to arguably the NFL's most explosive offense in 2016. If Shannan can find a good defensive coordinator, the 49ers may have found a head coach for the next 5+ seasons.
Step 2: Free Agency
The 49ers will have cap space, but they shouldn't spend it foolishly. Gerald Hodges played well for the 49ers' this past season. A fair deal for Hodges would be a two year deal that pays in around ten million with 5 million in guarantees (2yr, 10 Mill; 5 mill guaranteed). Ray-Ray Armstrong was also solid for the 49ers this season. However given his age (29), a nice two year deal that pay him roughly 6 million as a backup would be a smart decision. Andrew Gardner, Rod Streater, and Shaun Draughn can all be re-signed to cheap one year deals to keep on roster as backups. Other than those five players, the 49ers have no reason to bring anyone back. If Colin Kaepernick is cut before June 1st the 49ers would save 17 million off their cap and would only have to eat roughly two million dollars in dead money. The 49ers would have roughly $90 million dollars in cap space, according to Over the Cap. The free agent class posses some great interior lineman. It would however be smart for the 49ers' to stay away and save money at a position most teams in the league try and save at. Finding a number two corner (say Ross Cockrell?), would allow for Jimmie Ward to strictly play nickel. Tramaine Brock could be a backup and come in on third downs. The 49ers' still lack a number one corner but if they don't take one in the first round, they should give Rashard Robinson to prove himself.
Step 3: The Draft
The 49ers' own the second overall pick in this years' draft and there's' a lot they can do with it. They can take a quarterback and hope he becomes their franchise savior or take Johnathan Allen who this year was regarded by most as the best defensive player in all of college football. There is however a third option, one that is my personal favorite: trade down. NFL teams want quarterbacks, it's that simple. Last year both the L.A. Rams and Philadelphia Eagles gave their arms and legs to trade up and land the face of their franchises. This years' class of quarterbacks has been regarded as one of the weakest in recent memory. Each team will have their own personal favorite quarterback in the class and there's no telling what teams would be willing to give up for them. The 49ers are sitting behind the Browns. Given the fact the Browns are likely to take Myles Garrett, the edge rusher from Texas A&M, means that the 49ers will have their pick of the lter at the quarterback position. The 49ers would be wise to capitalize off this. Buffalo is reportedly looking to draft a quarterback this season as they have grown tired of Tyrod Taylor manning the position each of the past two seasons. Given that the Bills' pick at ten, there's' uncertainty if they will get the quarterback they truly want. If they want Mitch Trubisky or Deshone Kizer whom both are expected to be taken early in the draft, then the Bills' would be likely to trade up. Let's' say the Bills' want one of the two quarterbacks or even Deshaun Watson who they may fear will be gone at 10. A fair deal would send the second overall pick and San Francisco's' fifth rounder for the 10th Overall Pick, Buffalo' second round pick, fourth round pick, and 2018 first rounder. Let's say that out of greed for a quarterback the Bills' take this deal. The 49ers would then have 11 picks in this years' draft and two first rounders next year. A great stockpile of picks to start a rebuild. Let's assume both Kizer and Tributsky are both off the board when the 49ers' pick tenth. Safety is an issue for the 49ers but both Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams are likely gone at this point. Eric Reid, the 49ers' current starting safety would be better suited to play inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme (which is most likely what Shanahan would run). This leaves' the 49ers with Deshaun Watson who has been slipping down draft boards over the course of the season. Mike Williams however would still most likely be available. Williams would give the 49ers' an explosive threat on offense, something that they've been lacking for the past couple of seasons. The second round bring the 49ers' two early selections. Selecting Ethan Pocic with one of their selections would give the 49ers' an interior linemen to build around. Pocic could likely start at center in season one for the 49ers'. With their second selection adding someone to the back end of the secondary would make for a bright idea. Budda Baker, like Malik Hooker, is a freak of an athlete. Baker lacks high but makes up for it in tackling and in coverage. Drafting Baker would allow Eric Reid to pair with Navorro Bowman on the inside, Reid's more natural position in the NFL. The third round should see the 49ers once again addressing their secondary (perhaps Chidobe Awuzie? A shutdown corner in college and a four-year starter) and pass rush (perhaps Dawuane Smoot? A troubled youth but phenomenal pass rusher). The 49ers don't own their fifth rounder due to the Buffalo trade but have two sixth rounders and two seventh round selections. Taking a flier on a quarterback in the sixth round isn't a bad idea. Chad Kelly arguably has the best arm in this year's quarterback class but will drop due to character concerns and injury. Packaging a sixth round pick and a pair of seventh rounders for a player like Nick Foles would give the 49ers' a potential starter for the 2017 season or at the very least a quality backup.
1: Mike Williams WR, Clemson
2: Ethan Pocic C/G, LSU
2: Budda Baker S, Washington
3: Chidobe Awuzie CB, Colorado
4: Dawuane Smoot DE, Illions
6: Chad Kelly QB, Mississippi
Step 4: Be Patient
The 49ers will most likely still be awful in 2017. There is light at the end of the tunnel however. While addressing some major needs this offseason, the 49ers 2017 roster is an upgrade of the 2016 version. Next year Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are likely to declare and both are far better options. Possibly selecting one of these two next year would give the 49ers' a potential franchise quarterback and someone to march forward with into the future.
Please let me know what you thought below.