No. 4: Parting Ways with WR Anquan Boldin
Niner Noise’s Trevor Irvine made the argument former 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin should have been re-signed by the organization, considering the team’s vast need for talent at the position.
It’s a rational argument. Boldin had been the Niners’ leading receiver in each of his three seasons in San Francisco. Now, the 49ers are left with just two wideouts — Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson — who have more than 40 pro-level catches.
But the 49ers, in recent years, haven’t exactly let their younger receivers develop and grow.
Making moves for veterans like Simpson, Brandon Lloyd and Steve Johnson in recent years likely hindered the development of younger wideouts like Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington. The same could be said of additional receivers like Dres Anderson, DeAndrew White, DiAndre Campbell and so on.
The average age of San Francisco’s wide receiver corps is 24.4 years old, so the opportunity is now for this group to start competing for roster spots on a relatively level playing field.
The Niners have few realistic obligations for roster spots out of this group. Smith will earn one. So will Ellington. Everyone else? Well, they’re on the roster bubble — strong in some cases, weak in others.
Yet letting this group develop and compete will go a long way in determining what the best options are available.
And if no one steps up, the 49ers will have a clear-cut understanding of needs entering 2017.
Next: No. 3: Not Splurging in Free Agency