It’s no secret that the San Francisco 49ers could be heading into rebuilding mode after the departure of several key veterans. The team lost 4 players due to retirement in Anthony Davis, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, and Chris Borland. San Fran also lost some veteran leadership in Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Chris Culliver, and Michael Crabtree. The team even traded punter Andy Lee. It’s crazy to think a full rebuild could be in place after the team made three straight NFC title games prior to last year.
After making a bizarre coaching change this past offseason the 49ers could be destined for a last place finish in the NFC West. Can we really expect former defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to become a great head coach? Probably not. This leads us to the inevitable question of will the 9ers trade quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016?
Which brings us to thoughts about the future of Colin Kaepernick, who makes $19 million per year and is 27 years old. Any team with a good defense — which I expect the 49ers to have — and a talented quarterback can sustain success on the field, and an 8-8 season is unlikely to force a QB change unless there are viable replacement alternatives. But the 49ers might still be tempted to trade Kaepernick to a quarterback-starved franchise for two or three high draft choices, if they found the right deal. They could then look to find a way to come away with a top quarterback prospect in the draft, while retooling other parts of the roster.
With Harbaugh, the 49ers climbed to the top. Without Harbaugh, the organization has to start a new climb.
Clayton predicts the 49ers to repeat an 8-8 season prompting them to shop their dual threat quarterback the following offseason. I suspect San Francisco could be much worse as I expect them to finish in last place in a tough NFC West. As we saw this offseason with the unexpected trade of Jimmy Graham teams in a rebuilding mode may be more include to trade their players for draft picks more often than ever before.