The 49ers may have solved their safety depth conundrum. There were questions about Talanoa Hufanga’s availability after he tore his ACL in Week 11 last season, but head coach Kyle Shanahan on Tuesday indicated the team is hopeful it will get its starting strong safety back during training camp.

This is a pretty significant development for San Francisco, and it means their hunt for a safety in free agency will be for a depth piece instead of a starter. With Hufanga on track for a pre-Week 1 return the ambiguity of the need in the back end of the secondary is eliminated.

San Francisco will still want to add veteran depth. They need some kind of proven commodity behind Hufanga in the event of a setback or if he can’t return to full speed as quickly as they might like. However, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see them add a player via the draft to try and develop as a long-term piece for them with Hufanga entering the final year of his rookie contract.

For now though this is great news for Hufanga. He’ll not only be able to shore up the 49ers’ secondary, but he’ll have a full season under his belt as he hits his first free agency. The All-Pro safety was a fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft. He was a First-Team All-Pro in 2022, his first year as a starter, and was putting together another strong 2023 campaign when he got hurt.

Hufanga has started 30 of his 42 games for the 49ers, including 27 in a row before his injury. He’s posted 181 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, seven interceptions and 14 pass breakups.

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