Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

From giving Nick Bosa some help on the opposite edge to upgrading the right side of the offensive line

March 13 marks the beginning of a new NFL year, in which all 32 teams must be under the salary cap. But with the new year comes the free agency frenzy and, shortly after that, the draft, in which the San Francisco 49ers will again look to build a Super Bowl-caliber roster. But what needs will the 49ers address to get back to the last game of the season?

These are the five positions the 49ers will need to revisit in the offseason:

The right side of the offensive line

When Mike McGlinchey signed with the Denver Broncos last offseason, the 49ers had plenty of time to figure out a replacement plan for right tackle. Instead of taking that time, it was apparent early on that Colton McKivitz would step in as the starter. McKivitz repaid that faith by allowing 27.4 percent of the 215 pressures allowed by 49ers offensive linemen.

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan must address the end opposite Trent Williams this offseason, especially with a lineman-heavy draft coming in April. Double-digit offensive linemen could go off the board in the first round of next month’s draft, meaning there could be a quality option to replace McKivitz up front. A name that has been popular lately is Arizona’s Jordan Morgan, who could play right tackle at first but move to the left side in the future.

The right guard will also need some focus, with Jon Feliciano heading to free agency. Feliciano stepped into the Daniel Brunskill role, with versatility on the line but ultimately platooning with Spencer Burford, who allowed the second-most pressures on the San Francisco front. Feliciano impressed with his play, but will Shanahan again trust Burford as the starter entering 2024?

Pass rusher opposite Nick Bosa

It wouldn’t be a 49ers offseason without trying to find a pass rusher to pair with Nick Bosa. After the Dee Ford experiment failed, San Francisco has found varying levels of success in finding a partner for Bosa, but 2023 was a season-long struggle.

The 49ers improved the pass rush by signing Javon Hargrave – who finished second on the team with seven sacks – but there was still a need on the edge. That need was filled with Clelin Ferrell, but after a slow start, Randy Gregory was signed. San Francisco felt it needed it and brought in Chase Young at the deadline, but despite all the moves, the pass rush trio across from Bosa combined for two fewer sacks than the former DPOY.

There are plenty of places for San Francisco to fill this need, whether it be internally (re-signing Young), externally (Nick Bosa has a brother, right?), or through the draft (Lynch and company love their drafted pass rushers), but at some point, there needs to be a more permanent fix.


The 49ers closed the book on the Steve Wilks era last month and quickly threw it out the window by releasing Isaiah Oliver. San Francisco enters another offseason trying to piece together the cornerback room.

Thankfully, there’s some flexibility in-house at the position that could make finding the solution at corner that much easier. San Francisco can either move forward with Deommodore Lenoir across from Charvarius Ward and use this offseason to replace the slot like last year with Oliver. The 49ers could move Lenoir to the slot and try to find another cornerback out wide. Or even a third option, keep Lenoir as a utility cornerback and sign others with the ability to play multiple spots in the secondary.

Whatever is decided, the position needs some depth added through free agency and the draft. The 49ers had only five cornerbacks on the initial 53-man roster and struggled with the lack of depth, struggling to find consistency behind Ward and Lenoir. San Francisco is looking for quality, but quantity might be the best choice at cornerback.

Wide receiver

It might not be the most pressing need right now, but plenty can happen that could make receiver a more significant need.

First, what happens with Brandon Aiyuk? The receiver is due for an extension, and with recent history at the position, that opens the door for trade rumors. I believe the two sides will come to terms on an agreement, but until that happens, the future for Aiyuk will be the lingering question.

The next question is, what happens with Jauan Jennings? The 49ers put a second-round tender on the receiver, making him a restricted free agent, but if a team chooses to meet that price, there will quickly be a need for a third receiver.

The final question is, what does the position look like beyond 2024? This may be a forward-thinking question, but it may be something that can be solved this offseason. Deebo Samuel’s contract has a potential out after the upcoming season, so there’s a potential gap there as well.

There are a lot of questions that might not even need answers for this offseason, but Lynch and company will have to be prepared for anything and everything at receiver.

A second linebacker

There are plenty of moments the 49ers want back from the Super Bowl, but the future of the defense is now in question because of one seemingly innocuous moment.

Ben Sorensen and the 49ers defense will likely be without Dre Greenlaw after his unfortunate Achilles injury last month, leaving an unexpected gap at linebacker. But Greenlaw’s contract makes the situation a little stickier for the 49ers. Greenlaw is due to be a free agent following next season after signing a two-year extension before last season, and his injury complicates things.

San Francisco could look at the free agent market to find a quick fix, with veterans like Bobby Wagner and Lavonte David available to get through 2024 and reassess next season. Do they look in-house with one of the two linebackers drafted last season? Or do they seek a long-term solution and prepare for life after Greenlaw?

It wasn’t an anticipated need until the final game of the season, but now the San Francisco front office is faced with some critical questions at an important spot on the defense.

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