No. 4: Running Back
On the surface, one might guess the 49ers stick with the player who did the most for them on the ground down the latter half of 2019 and into the playoffs, running back Raheem Mostert.
Mostert, after all, led the Niners in total rushing yards during the regular season (772) and was a massive force through much of the playoffs, too.
Yet San Francisco’s running back situation this offseason is far more complex than it seems on the surface. Running back Jerick McKinnon, who has missed the last two years after tearing his ACL prior to Week 1 in 2018, is a potential cap casualty. Fellow running back Matt Breida appeared to fall out of favor with Kyle Shanahan late and veteran runner Tevin Coleman is also owed zero in guarantees in 2020, falling into the same boat as Mike Person.
The Niners could clear nearly $4.9 million by cutting Coleman this offseason, and cutting McKinnon could free up $4.55 million with $4 million in dead money, too.
And it’s anyone’s guess what the future holds for Breida right now.
It gets cloudier considering Shanahan’s recent affinity for Coleman and Mostert, however, and the head coach’s history of developing less-heralded running backs into bona fide starters means it’s entirely possible San Francisco fields a brand new name in a starting role this upcoming season.
Look for this position to be one of extreme interest this offseason, especially considering how much Shanahan’s offense relies on it.