SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are in their first phase of rebuilding, as the team’s 53-man roster currently consists of 33 new faces.
Coach Kyle Shanahan likes the approach the organization has taken in building a team that won just two games last season, which led to the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. And there is a positive, he said, from the team's 0-5 start.
“I knew we had to really improve it before I came, playing against us last year and just studying it on tape,” Shanahan said. “So I knew we were going to have to add some resources. What made this such an enticing spot is we had the ability to do that from a salary cap standpoint and draft picks, so it was exciting.”
The 49ers currently have $62.9 million in salary cap space. The 49ers will carry over all the unspent money to the 2018 salary cap.
General manager John Lynch and Shanahan did not pursue a potential trade for a franchise quarterback, nor did they opt to select a quarterback early in the draft. The options should be better after this season, whether they pursue a veteran such as Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason or one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.
The organization opted to not pursue quick-fixes at any position, as they hope to build a roster with a young, ascending nucleus of players.
“You always want to win right now, but you don’t want to do it at the expense of hurting yourself over time,” Shanahan said. “It is a long season. What’s the best for you throughout 16 games and what’s the best that when you’re done with 16 games that’s going to make you better for the next year? You try to take everything into account.”
The 49ers have lost their past four games by a combined 11 points. As the 49ers look to the future, Shanahan said all this losing also reveals the kind of character on the team’s roster.
“A lot of people can fool you when you’re 5-0. Everybody’s happy, everybody’s perfect. It’s very easy to do everything,” Shanahan said. “When you’re 0-5, a lot of true colors come out with people and you get to find out the guys you want to go to war with and the guys who are going to be a part of turning this thing around.”