4 biggest remaining 49ers needs after the first wave of free agency

The 49ers started the new NFL league year with a flurry of activity, but some questions still remain.

Here's a look at where the 49ers roster could still be improved as the free agency frenzy calms down.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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The San Francisco 49ers were, on balance, pretty active in the first wave of free agency.

Despite the lack of insane contracts handed out, partially as a function of the team's salary cap situation, general manager John Lynch and Co. were still pretty active, bringing in defensive linemen Leonard Floyd, Jordan Elliott, and Yetur Gross-Matos, among others.

While the consensus seems to be that the defensive line has been sufficiently fortified, there are still a few needs on the roster that remain unaddressed as the early bonanza calms down.

Let's take a look at them.


The 49ers seem to have sleepwalked into a strange position at safety. Tashaun Gipson has been an excellent servant for several years, while his counterpart Talanoa Hufanga has excited the Niner faithful since he first stepped foot onto the field.

Unfortunately, neither is certain to be with the team at the start of next season. In Gipson's case, he's already mused retirement once and currently sits unsigned as a free agent, whereas Hufanga is rehabbing his knee following an ACL tear in the Week 11 win over Tampa Bay.

Mike Silver suggested in the San Francisco Chronicle that Hufanga was not guaranteed to retain his starting job going into next season, too. However, he did also say the team would look to acquire a safety, which so far hasn't happened, despite Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report reporting a visit by former Colts safety Julian Blackmon last week:

Regardless, it would behoove the 49ers to think of adding to the safety position. Even if Gipson continues to play, he likely has at most two seasons left of his career, whereas the uncertainty over Hufanga, given the timescale of such an injury, leaves only Ji'Ayir Brown and George Odum as experienced options at safety.

Absent a leap forward by fringe players on the roster like Tayler Hawkins, the defensive backfield looks a little short of a playmaker.