Needs the 49ers failed to address in 1st wave of NFL free agency

General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The 49ers ultimately lost more players than they gained in NFL free agency, and these remaining needs are still on John Lynch’s mind.

The opening wave of NFL free agency in 2023 is probably over, and the San Francisco 49ers should probably breathe a sigh of relief after what turned into a pretty turbulent three-day period from March 13.

Notably, the Niners bid farewell to a number of well-known players, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, defensive back Jimmie Ward and right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Others took their leave from the team, too.

San Francisco managed to reinforce its losses by grabbing some key free agents of its own, though, including defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and defensive back Isaiah Oliver, both of whom will shore up areas of serious need.

But, considering the 49ers had a net loss of free agents, there are still going to be some noticeable voids on the roster, positionally, that remain neglected and in need of some attention.

Here are some that general manager John Lynch and Co. still must address.

Remaining 49ers need No. 1: Right tackle

The Niners seemed well aware that McGlinchey wasn’t going to return, but the initial contingency plan for his departure seems to be inserting reserve lineman Colton McKivitz into McGlinchey’s spot at right tackle.

Perhaps that’ll work, and San Francisco got away with doing something similar at center when Alex Mack retired after 2021, leading to the surprising debut of veteran Jake Brendel as a full-time starter.

McKivitz, like Brendel, is awfully limited when it comes to pro-level starting experience, having just five starts under his belt since joining the league in 2020.

The stronger plan to ensure right tackle isn’t a liability might be to grab a lineman with a little more prowess and capability.

Remaining 49ers need No. 2: Edge rusher

The 49ers’ defensive line is much better with Hargrave under contract, especially considering the team dealt with lengthy injuries to fellow defensive tackles, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw, for much of 2022.

That said, and especially with EDGEs Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu departing, the Niners still don’t have an outside pass-rusher to pair with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa.

Unless you’re to count former Las Vegas Raiders pass-rusher Clelin Ferrell, the previous top-10 pick from the 2019 NFL Draft who ultimately flamed out with the silver and black.

Read More: 49ers continue to sign former Raiders draft busts

Perhaps San Francisco can turn the 10-career-sack Ferrell into its next reclamation project, as that’s happened before, but the outside pass-rushing department remains awfully thin behind Bosa.

Remaining 49ers need No. 3: Boundary cornerback

The final need on this list might be serious. Or it might not be.

That all depends on how one views both the 49ers’ acquisition of Oliver and the maturation of two-year pro cornerback Deommodore Lenoir.

Lenoir, grabbed back in the 2020 draft, ended up starting down the stretch opposite fellow corner Charvarius Ward, thanks to Emmanuel Moseley’s season-ending ACL tear suffered in Week 5.

Now, with Moseley off to the Detroit Lions in NFL free agency, that No. 2 cornerback spot is presumably Lenoir’s, while Oliver will occupy the nickel spot in the wake of Ward’s free-agent departure.

Opposing quarterbacks posted a passer rating of 91.2 when targeting Lenoir, suggesting he could still improve but is nevertheless on a positive trajectory.

That said, Lenoir could be the weak link within the Niners secondary this season unless other options are explored.

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