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49ers: Free agency snapshot

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The 49ers face a number of question marks on the roster. The process starts with trying to keep Anquan Boldin -- given the Bill Walsh Award tabbing him the team's MVP as voted on by the coaching staff -- in San Francisco.

Boldin is open to returning and the two sides had contract talks around Valentine's Day.

The other big question surrounds the Len Eshmont Award winner, the MVP as voted on by the players, NaVorro Bowman. The All-Pro inside linebacker tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee and could start the season on the PUP list, like Michael Crabtree did last season after tearing his Achilles in May.

Still, much of the core that brought the team to the title round in each of the last three years will remain intact. San Francisco finished the year with the league's No. 3 scoring defense and No. 13 scoring offense. But the key will be to find ways to improve the passing game, especially in clutch situations.

Next season the 49ers move into the $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium adjacent to their practice facility in Santa Clara, over 40 miles south of downtown San Francisco. They leave behind the historic Candlestick Park which didn't get to host any playoff games in its final season. The historic venue was the scene of a collection of dramatic playoff wins and losses for the 49ers, highlighted by the famed "Catch" in 1982. From then on it became the home of five Super Bowl Championships, giving them the second-most of any team in the NFL behind the Steelers, who have six.

The 49ers started the year 1-2, giving them their first losing streak since Harbaugh took over in 2011. Linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested for suspicion of DUI and was dismissed from the team after playing two days later in the Week 3 loss to the Colts. He missed five games, but San Francisco founds ways to win, going 5-0 while spending his time at a drug and alcohol treatment facility. During the streak, the 49ers scored 34.8 points per game while holding the Rams, Texans, Cardinals, Titans and Jaguars to just 12.2. At that point, the offense was making due with a dominant running game that complemented its outstanding defense.

But they came off their Week 9 bye week to lose consecutively to the Panthers and Saints. The trip to New Orleans was marred by controversy when linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked quarterback Drew Brees and forced a fumble in the fourth quarter that linebacker Patrick Willis recovered. But Brooks was flagged for a high hit on Brees, giving the Saints a first down. On that drive, they went on to tie the game with a field goal before winning moments later 23-20. Had the 49ers finished with one more win on the year, they would have been the No. 1 seed in the NFC with the chance to host the conference title game. They won their next eight, including their two wins in the playoffs before falling in Seattle.

Gore finished the season with 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns. Vernon Davis was second among tight ends with 13 touchdown receptions while notching 52 catches for 850 yards. And in his first season with the team, Boldin led the way with 85 receptions for 1,179 yards and seven scores. Boldin is one of two free-agent starters on the offense, who San Francisco hopes they can find a way to bring back. But given their salary-cap situation, that might be a difficult task.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--WR Anquan Boldin

--S Donte Whitner

--C Jonathan Goodwin

--WR Mario Manningham

--PK Phil Dawson

--CB Tarell Brown

--QB Colt McCoy

--RB Anthony Dixon

--CB Perrish Cox

--CB Eric Wright

--WR Kassim Osgood
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