The 49ers lost more starters to NFL free agency than they gained, yet ESPN’s post-free agency NFL power rankings don’t think it matters.
The San Francisco 49ers have already had a rough offseason in 2023.
At the same time, there aren’t many reasons to suspect they’ll take a dramatic turn for the worse.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad lost plenty of starters to NFL free agency in the middle of March, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the Las Vegas Raiders. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is with one of Vegas’ top rivals, the Denver Broncos, while safety Jimmie Ward followed former Niners defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to the Houston Texans.
A number of other starting-caliber players departed, too, such as cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, EDGE Samson Ebukam and offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill.
So, San Francisco should be worse for all of it. At least that’d be the perception.
Not according to ESPN, though.
ESPN NFL power rankings have 49ers in top 3 post free agency frenzy
The 49ers did lure in one splash free-agent signing, former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, whose interior presence will make an already-potent Niners defensive line more formidable than it was last season.
Aside from that, though, most of general manager John Lynch’s signings were ancillary and won’t move the needle much at all.
However, in ESPN’s post-free agency NFL power rankings, Lynch and Shanahan’s squad didn’t suffer a significant drawback.
In fact, ESPN doesn’t think San Francisco had a drawback at all.
Their latest NFL power rankings understandably have the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, while the 49ers come in at No. 3.
Yes, ahead of Hargrave’s old team, the squad that beat the Niners in the NFC Championship game last January but also lost a significant number of key personnel to free agency, too.
If Hargrave stayed put, perhaps it’d be Philly ahead of San Francisco on this list.
But it’s the 49ers who are in the top three… for now.