The 49ers are facing the reality of being a not-so-good team in 2021, meaning changes are afoot, and these five players surely won’t be back next year.
The San Francisco 49ers are 2-4 over the first seven weeks of 2021 and riding what will at least hopefully be the tail end of what’s turned into a four-game losing streak.
If it stops at that.
After falling flat, both offensively and defensively, in a prime-time Week 7 showdown against the Indianapolis Colts, it’s more than fair to draw a few conclusions about head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad. For starters, the playoffs are becoming a distant hope. And generally speaking, once the playoffs are out of reach, conversations about retooling and re-rostering become inevitable.
On top of that, it’s safe to say the Niners roster is in need of a lot of work, too, nowhere near the level of expectations many thought, both locally and nationally, the team would be at this deep into the regular season.
With changes, however, there are inevitably going to be player departures. And in San Francisco’s case, there could be a lot of them.
Particularly these five, who have essentially signed their proverbial tickets to not be with the 49ers in 2022.
No. 5: 49ers Running Back Raheem Mostert
Yes, the Niners probably miss their No. 1 running back, Raheem Mostert, this season. And it’s a shame he suffered a season-ending knee injury way back in Week 1 amid a contract year.
But while Shanahan’s offense has suffered a bit because of Mostert’s absence, there are a number of things working against a would-be Mostert return.
For starters, the oft-injured Mostert will turn 30 years old before the start of the 2022 season, that dreaded age when most tailbacks are strongly considering calling it a career. On top of that, rookie rusher Elijah Mitchell has already taken over a lead-back role and has the same blazing-fast speed that makes him a tough threat on the ground.
On a cheap rookie contract for this season, plus three more, no less.
Mitchell, fellow rookie Trey Sermon and second-year pro JaMycal Hasty figure to lock down this position on the depth chart, and all are on their rookie contracts for a while.
Mostert, meanwhile, is likely to want to cash in on what could likely be his last big payday, and San Francisco won’t want to commit to a player who hasn’t been able to stay healthy in three of the last four seasons.