The San Francisco 49ers are a machine. They lost not one but two starting quarterbacks and still rolled into the playoffs as the hottest team in football.
Credit goes to the players involved, obviously. But also to coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, who have built a perpetual motion machine in the Bay Area.
That doesn’t happen by accident. It takes incredible strategy and execution 365 days a year — including the offseason, which for the Niners begins now.
Here’s what’s on their plate in 2023, including a look at 49ers’ free agents, cut candidates, and team needs.
San Francisco 49ers Offseason Preview: What To Do at QB?
Even before Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a major foot injury — opening the door for rocking rookie Brock Purdy — the Niners knew they were going to have to make some tough choices in the offseason.
Trey Lance — the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — remains a total unknown two seasons into his career. The torn ACL he suffered in Week 2 was disastrous for both his development and the Niners’ evaluation of his play.
In eight NFL appearances, he’s completed 54.9% of his passes for five touchdowns, three interceptions, and a QBR in the low 30s.
And youth cannot totally excuse that stat line, considering Purdy — Mr. Irrelevant — had the highest winning percentage (he was 5-0 in the regular season), yards per attempts average (8.1), passer rating (107.3) and QBR (65.6) of the three starters.
Purdy is guaranteed to be on the roster next year. With just an $870,000 base salary — which cannot be altered for another two years — he’s among the best values in football.
Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Nothing should be off the table, including re-signing Garoppolo, a free agent who Spotrac estimates is worth $35 million annually, letting him walk and collecting a premium compensatory pick, and even trading Lance, which would result in an $11.1 million dead cap charge.
The most likely scenario: Lance and Purdy compete in training camp next summer, and Garoppolo signs with another team.
49ers’ 2023 Salary Cap Space
According to Spotrac, the 49ers, as of early January, were under the 2023 salary cap by $14.8 million, giving them the 16th-most cap space in the NFL.
That figure reflects $10 million in dead cap and $5.9 million in rollover space. It is based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.
The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.
49ers Free Agents 2023
The following San Francisco 49ers players are set to hit free agency. Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA and exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.
- LB Azeez Al-Shaair
- C Jake Brendel
- OT Daniel Brunskill
- TE Ross Dwelley
- DE Samson Ebukam
- LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (RFA)
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo
- FS Tashaun Gipson
- DT Kevin Givens (RFA)
- K Robbie Gould
- DT Maurice Hurst
- DE Kerry Hyder
- QB Josh Johnson
- TE Tyler Kroft
- RT Mike McGlinchey
- OT Colton McKivitz (RFA)
- FS Tarvarius Moore
- CB Emmanuel Moseley
- DE Charles Omenihu
- LS Taybor Pepper
- DT Hassan Ridgeway
- DT Akeem Spence
- CB Jason Verrett
- FS Jimmie Ward
- DE Jordan Willis
Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Four years, $66.7 million ($16.6 million)
Overview: If there’s a silver lining to Moseley tearing his ACL on a contract year, it’s this: The injury occurred in October and not January. That means that, barring setbacks, he should be ready for the start of the 2023 season. Who he’ll be playing for in 2023? That remains to be seen.
Offensive Tackle Mike McGlinchey
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Four years, $43 million ($10.7 million AAV)
Overview: Need a steady, reliable right tackle? You can find one, but not for cheap, as McGlinchey’s free agency is expected to show. McGlinchey earned $10.9 million on the fifth-year option in 2022. That’ll probably be the floor for his AAV in 2023 and beyond.
Potential Cut Candidates
None of note
49ers’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason
- Defensive Tackle