The 49ers didn't necessarily 'win' free agency or the NFL Draft this offseason, but an already-stacked roster means they didn't have to.
If you've watched a full cycle of an NFL calendar year go around a few times, you're probably aware that "winning" an offseason doesn't exactly translate into success when it matters, namely the regular season and postseason.
Remember how many analysts thought the Cleveland Browns "won" the 2021 offseason? Well, finishing 8-9 that year doesn't exactly justify those statements. And the last anyone checked, no one hands out trophies or awards for having the best free-agent moves or top NFL Draft class.
Granted, getting it right in the draft and in NFL free agency is important, and some may argue the San Francisco 49ers had a mixed bag in both categories. For starters, outside of landing star defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, general manager John Lynch wasn't overly aggressive in free agency, and the Niners lost more starters than they gained.
As far as the draft is concerned, never mind the fact the Niners were without picks in Rounds 1 and 2. And never mind some of the other notable pickups. What pundits will highlight is the use of a third-round pick on a kicker, Michigan's Jake Moody.
Either way, San Francisco enters 2023 with a Super Bowl-caliber roster, one it already possessed prior to free agency and the draft and regardless of the players lost during that timeframe.
From that vantage point, the bulk of Lynch's additions from both events were intended more for depth and long-term planning.
Here are the five best moves Lynch and Co. engineered during the offseason.
49ers best offseason move No. 5: Drafting WR Ronnie Bell in Round 7
Make no mistake, former Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell could have easily been selected a few rounds earlier than when the 49ers picked him up in Round 7 of the 2023 draft, No. 253 overall.
Bell, 6-foot-0 and 190 pounds, might not have room to make any serious impact right away. Not with the Niners already boasting a top-end wide receiver room with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel in the way, while returning veterans such as Ray-Ray McCloud and Jauan Jennings crowd the middle of the depth chart.
But Bell doesn't have to be an immediate-impact player. Knowing how San Francisco can't keep that core group of four intact for long, Bell looks to be the long-term play.
And, judging by early workouts this offseason with the 49ers, he's already making all the right impressions.
Great potential steal late on day three of the draft.