As they look to once again start their "Quest for Six" chants as Super Bowl contenders, the 49ers have every reason to be happy with how their offseason went, recent injuries not withstanding. So much so that ESPN's Bill Barnwell pegs the 49ers as having the ninth-best offseason in the NFL leading up to the 2021 season.
It gets better, too.
In Barnwell's eyes, the 49ers had the best offseason of any NFC West team. That includes the Los Angeles Rams, who traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Rams are ranked 27th, while the Seattle Seahawks are ranked 17th and the Arizona Cardinals are ranked 21st.
Barnwell seems to like the high upside of quarterback Trey Lance in Kyle Shanahan's offense, as well as Lance being on a rookie contract which will allow the 49ers to extend players like Fred Warner and Nick Bosa in the near future. He also was a fan of the 49ers locking up Trent Williams and adding Alex Mack.
But he believes they should have tried to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.
"The Niners could still trade or cut Garoppolo in August to create the cap space they'll want to roll over into future seasons, but their leverage will likely be greatly reduced, driving down the compensation they would get in return," Barnwell writes. "Furthermore, if he stays on the roster through Week 1, they will be on the hook for his $25 million in compensation.
"Given that Jimmy G has made it out of September without getting injured just once in four tries as a starting quarterback, the nightmare scenario in which he stays on the cap and then gets hurt almost immediately seems like the most likely outcome."
Nobody can predict injuries. Garoppolo has a tough history with them, but that doesn't mean they could be a thing of the past now.
What would make this offseason truly a great one for the 49ers is signing Warner to a long-term extension. Just like George Kittle a year ago, Warner is in line for a big payday after being a bargain in his first three seasons for San Francisco. Barnwell predicts the 49ers will lock up the linebacker with a contract around four years and $76 million.
That would make Kyle Shanahan, DeMeco Ryans and The Faithful all more than happy.