Friday, March 15, 2013
Bargain Shopping: 49ers playing Money Ball
It is evident that the 49er front office and coaching staff are excellent talent evaluators, developers, and maintainers. This 49er regime led by Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh has seen recent success due to such talent scouting in past drafts and the free agent market. Not only has the front office been able to pluck sleepers in the free agent market, they have been able to draft exceptionally well over the past few seasons. While Baalke and his staff provide the talent, Jim Harbaugh and his assistant coaches have done an amazing job developing the young talent, retaining the veteran’s needed to lead, and implementing a progressive system tailored to the diversity of talent they possess.
Colin Kaepernick, Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman and Mike Iupati all key players drafted by Baalke, three are Pro Bowlers, Kaepernick is a rising star, and Bowman is one of the best Linebackers in all of Football. The free agent market acquisitions have also benefited the 49ers in recent history with Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers, and Mario Manningham, all of whom have contributed to the team’s recent success. Last offseason the Re-signing of Ahmad Brooks proved to be a smart move, this season Anquan Boldin acquired via trade, and the signing of former 1st Round pick Glen Dorsey are looking like offseason steals. Boldin dominated last postseason and proved he is still a force over the middle and a big time red zone target, exactly what the 49ers need; not to mention we got him for a measly 6th round pick. A serious bargain if you ask me, along with adding wide receiver depth the addition of Glen Dorsey adds needed depth and a slight improvement to our defensive front. With the recent departure of Isaac Sopoaga (Eagles), and Ricky Jean François (Colts), a versatile defensive lineman like Dorsey is exactly what the 49ers needed. Also plucking special teams’ standout and versatile linebacker Dan Skuta from Cincinnati will add depth to their line backing core and improve special teams’ coverage that has lacked a standout since the departure of Blake Costanzo, whom left for Chicago a year ago.
With visits from Charles Woodson, Nmandi Asomugha, and rumors of interests in Ed Reed and Derrell Revis, it seems the 49ers are far from completing their offseason mission, improving a secondary which became susceptible to the deep ball. With Dashaun Goldstein in Tampa now, signing a 5 year 41 million dollar deal, the 49ers look to improve their secondary by not adding one big time player, but a cluster of talent that could include a solid set of veterans signed to short term deals, and drafting younger players to develop for the long term future. With Reed and Revis demanding the big bucks, it seems unlikely they will invest that type of money, although additions of these two all-pro defensive backs would be a fan and local media dream come true.
The 49ers recent history has proven they can add key players at bargain prices. Having traded backup Quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City for two 2nd round picks, the 49ers added to an already vast amount of picks, which gives them trade bait, and the ability to get younger and allow growth for long term via the draft, something Harbaugh and his staff have proven to be successful with, capable of taking the risks on players they desperately want and need, often times surprising so called draft experts and turning doubters into believers.
Some may look at Seattle and Tampa and view their recent spending sprees and additions and immediately crown them, but if I recall correctly the Bucs were last off-season’s “winners,” and how many playoff games did they win? Seattle poses a threat due to the fact they are division rivals who gave the 49ers a challenge for the division crown last season, but fell short of even reaching the title game thanks to Pete Carroll’s icing of the kicker time out. So in the end the 49ers have a target on their backs with an already vastly improved NFC West Division, and them of course being defending NFC champions. So you can crown whoever you want as offseason champs, it means nothing until the results show on the field, and lets slow down with the criticism of lack of spending done by the red and gold, Baalke will bargain for talent they can afford. While others are overspending on big names the 49ers wait patiently for the right players to fall through the cracks, free agents and picks in the draft, this will only add to their incredible talent hungry to ensure the Lombardi trophy comes home to San Fran.
-Rob C. Lara
-49ers Sign Charles Woodson and Nmandi Asomugha
-Draft a free safety and corner back in what appears to be a deep defensive back draft.