With NFL free agency just days away, Niner Noise predicts who the 49ers will start on both sides of the ball heading into 2022 (including adds from free agency and the NFL Draft).
For the most part, it’s easy to predict who the San Francisco 49ers’ primary impact players will be heading into 2022.
There’s plenty of star power on both sides of the ball, which keeps the Niners squarely in the mix for a playoff berth and potentially looking at a trip to the Super Bowl, especially amid a weakened NFC this season.
That said, there are going to be some anticipated changes to the roster during the offseason.
San Francisco is likely to lose some notable pending free agents not long after the league new year begins on March 16. And while general manager John Lynch could be a big player on the free-agent market this offseason, it’s likely the 49ers would rather hone in on one or two big-ticket additions while looking to supplement the depth via the NFL Draft later this spring.
There are a lot of pieces to fall into place here, but that won’t stop us from trying to offer up early predictions for what the team’s offensive and defensive starting lineups will look like by the time Week 1 of the regular season rolls around.
Let’s get special teams out of the way, though.
49ers starters: Special teams
Kicker: Robbie Gould
Punter: Mitch Wishnowsky
Long-snapper: Taybor Pepper
No changes here, at least in terms of the specialists. However, it is worth noting all three players from the battery — kicker Robbie Gould, punter Mitch Wishnowsy and long-snapper Taybor Pepper — will be free agents in 2023.
Aside from Pepper, it doesn’t exactly seem likely the Niners would entertain the idea of re-signing or extending the rest.
San Francisco fans won’t care about this much right now, though, rather focusing more on who’ll return kickoffs and punts, a vital need with the 49ers finishing 2021 with the league’s fourth-worst starting field position.