Winner: Special teams coordinator Brian Schneider
San Francisco wanted to address its cornerback room. But after being ranked 26th by Football Outsiders a year ago, it was clear special teams needed a massive overhaul, too, kickstarted by bidding farewell to now-Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower.
In his place, the 49ers hired former Seattle Seahawks special teams coordinator Brian Schneider to assume the same duties, and the Hawks have had a nice longstanding success on this critical third phase of the game under his tenure.
It would be one thing if Schneider was brought in to merely help this beleaguered unit. But John Lynch made many a move to give Schneider more ammunition.
In addition to the Ray-Ray McCloud contract, Lynch brought aboard former Green Bay Packers linebacker Oren Burks to help here, as well as signing former Indianapolis Colts safety George Odum, who was a 2020 first-team All-Pro for his efforts on special teams plays.
If anything, the Niners have focused the bulk of their attention towards improving this part of the game so far in NFL free agency.
And Schneider will go down as a massive winner because of it.