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49ers not quite in ‘last dance’ situation this season

There’s an understandable emotion surrounding the 49ers’ 2024 campaign that lands somewhere between urgency and dread. Their three consecutive late-postseason failures combined with an aging roster that could see significant overhaul next offseason has led some to ponder whether the 2024 season will carry a vibe similar to the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls that were profiled in ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ documentary.

Our friends at Niners Nation ran a poll that saw nearly 40 percent of fans calling this year a ‘last dance’ type of year for the 49ers. While the feeling is understandable, things aren’t quite that dire for San Francisco.

As with all things there is some nuance to this. It probably is the last chance for this very specific version of the 49ers’ core to win a championship. Trent Williams is a candidate for every season to be his last as he reaches age 36. Deebo Samuel could be out the door as the team’s financial burdens constrict their ability to keep the All-Pro WR. George Kittle’s future is also uncertain, not to mention Dre Greenlaw and Jauan Jennings are due to hit free agency this offseason.

However, the story of the ESPN documentary surrounded the Chicago Bulls’ last ride before the team was set to break apart from the top down. That’s not the scenario the 49ers are in.

Kyle Shanahan isn’t on the proverbial hot seat. Brock Purdy is in line for a sizable extension next offseason. Brandon Aiyuk is set to get one this offseason. Fred Warner and Nick Bosa are both locked into long-term deals. Christian McCaffrey isn’t likely to go anywhere. And the 49ers have started gearing up to try and transition to a new core that features Bosa, Warner and Aiyuk, while adding players like safety Ji’Ayir Brown and wide receiver Ricky Pearsall to the mix.

There is definitely urgency for the 49ers. Losing in two NFC championship games and a Super Bowl in consecutive years creates a sense that a window is closing since windows don’t typically stay open beyond a three or four-year period.

For San Francisco the hope is to build a roster with sustainability in mind. They’ve pushed ‘all-in’ recently, but they’ve also managed to give themselves avenues toward keeping their top draft capital with enough financial flexibility to keep a different version of their core together beyond the 2024 season.

Whether it works or not will be decided on the field, but it’s clear from all angles that the 49ers certainly aren’t viewing 2024 as a ‘last dance’ type of year.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire