San Francisco 49ers: 5 Steps for a Successful 2016 Offseason

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May 28, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks (55) during organized team activities at the SAP Performance Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Trim the Fat

No, not literally. This isn’t a strength-and-conditioning slide.

The 49ers have taken some shots at players in recent seasons and also have a number of older veterans who no longer figure into San Francisco’s future.

General manager Trent Baalke already started this process this season by trading away veteran tight end Vernon Davis, which opened up the door for tight ends Garrett Celek, Vance McDonald and Blake Bell to see an increased role.

And this should continue.

Throw quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s name into this mix if you want. And he’s still likely out of San Francisco this offseason. But there are plenty more names to be mentioned.

Linebacker Corey Lemonier, selected in Round 3 of the 2013 NFL draft after a 49ers trade-up, has been an utter disappointment. Defensive end Tank Carradine, selected in Round 2 of the same year, is nearing that status. Center Marcus Martin should not be starting and neither should right tackle Erik Pears.

Another name worthy of a cut is veteran outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. At 31 years old, Brooks is no longer the same caliber of player that saw him earn a Pro Bowl nod in 2013. And San Francisco could save a considerable amount of cap space by releasing him after this season per

Over the Cap


With Brooks gone, the 49ers have the opportunity to open things up for linebacker Eli Harold and, potentially, an edge-rushing prospect taken in the draft. Or even a notable free-agent acquisition.

At any rate, the 49ers need to focus on youth at this point moving forward and less on the continuation of diminishing veteran abilities and/or young players who simply aren’t working.

Do this, and the transitional phase back to respectability may even reach further than expectation.

Next: Way Too Early Look at 49ers' 2016 Depth Chart

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