The San Francisco 49ers are projected to have a ton of salary cap space this offseason, will the team spend big for Chip Kelly as he takes over at head coach?
The 49ers just went through a tough season after moving on from Jim Harbaugh as head coach and now the team has the chance to rebuild with Kelly. The Niners were one of the most consistent franchises in the league for a number of years under Harbaugh, making the playoffs and a Super Bowl appearance during his tenure with the team. But last season the team regressed and while that was partially by design, the 49ers now have the chance to bounce back heading into 2016.
The team has a number of questions surrounding Colin Kaepernick and his future, but the cap space gives general manager Trent Baalke the chance to reset at a number of positions. The team saw Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Chris Borland, and Anthony Davis retire and that helped save over $20 million in cap space and with players like Anquan Boldin, Alex Boone, Reggie Bush and Phil Dawson hitting free agency, the team is projected to have over $50 million in cap space, according to Spotrac.com.
Kelly remade the Eagles roster last season after taking over personnel and while he doesn't have the same power in San Francisco, Trent Baalke likely will listen to Kelly if he prefers some players, as Baalke's future could be tied to the success of Kelly with the 49ers. The team definitely needs an influx of talent on both sides of the ball and this offseason there are a number of strong players hitting the market that could fit the bill.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Bruce Irvin, Josh Norman and Prince Amukamara could be potential targets for the team on defense, while players like Alshon Jeffery, Travis Benjamin, Jermaine Kearse, LeGarrette Blount, Mohammed Sanu and Rishard Matthews could be potential targets on offense.
The 49ers could use some help at WR with Boldin likely gone and players like Alshon Jeffery or Jermaine Kearse could be options. Jeffery is likely so stay with the Bears, but the Niners have the money to compete with any offer if they want. Pro Football Focus lists the 49ers as a potential landing spot for Sam Bradford, as Chip Kelly liked how he ran his offense in Philly and there is a chance he could leave the Eagles as a free agent. Kaepernick regressed over the last two seasons and with the QB coming off of major surgery, the 49ers could dip into the free agent market or take a player in the draft.
Wilkerson is one of the top d-line players hitting the market this offseason, but he is coming off of a major injury and the Jets may consider using the franchise tag on him. Wilkerson had 12 sacks last season and automatically would give a boost to the pass rush for the Niners. Irvin Is not expected to sign with the Seahawks despite saying he is willing to give a home town discount to the team and that could make him a target for the Niners. Irvin did not have his fifth year option picked up last year and he has proven to be a consistent option for the team at linebacker.