Where do 49ers rank in NFC power rankings after free agency?

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The 49ers are still a Super Bowl contender despite a very active start to NFL free agency, but where do they rank in the NFC picture?

The San Francisco 49ers effectively lost only one high-impact player at the start of the league new year on March 13, defensive tackle Arik Armstead, who was released in a cap-savings move yet will create a notable hole within the defensive line heading into 2024.

Yet the Niners hope to mitigate that loss by way of a trade with the Houston Texans that netted them defensive tackle Maliek Collins, who'll suit up alongside fellow lineman Javon Hargrave.

In fact, most of San Francisco's moves centered on the D-line, particularly the free-agent pickups of edge rushers like Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos, who'll alleviate the losses of edges Chase Young, Randy Gregory (still unsigned) and Clelin Ferrell.

Now, armed with 10 total picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, the 49ers can look to maintain their current Super Bowl window with a still-intact core of star players underneath head coach Kyle Shanahan.

But, did anyone else within the NFC surpass the Niners in post-free agency power rankings?

CBS Sports doesn't think so.

CBS Sports ranks 49ers No. 1 in NFC after opening wave of free agency

Plenty of other teams saw free-agent fluctuation within the conference, and CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin didn't hesitate to call out the many risers and fallers.

The bottom-feeders, the Carolina Panthers (No. 16) and Arizona Cardinals (No. 15), are still looking at massive strides to get into playoff contention, which is probably a few years away.

As for San Francisco, Benjamin put it at the top of NFC power rankings at No. 1 overall:

"There's a reason this team was one score away from dethroning the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl just a month ago. Brock Purdy is only hitting his stride as the point guard for Kyle Shanahan's all-purpose attack, and the vaunted defensive front might actually be better with Floyd and Collins joining Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave. They're the cream of the crop."

Related story: Way-too-early 49ers 53-man roster prediction after free agency

The usual suspects remain threats to the 49ers within the NFC. The Detroit Lions (No. 2), the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 3), the Dallas Cowboys (No. 4) and the Green Bay Packers (No. 5) round out the top five, but dark-horse contenders like the Los Angeles Rams (No. 6) and Atlanta Falcons (No. 7) could surprise this season based on their own offseason additions.

Still, the Niners remain the top squad in the conference with little reason to bump them down the pecking order as the 2024 season approaches.

Read more from Niner Noise