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Biggest questions for 49ers heading into offseason

The 49ers are in a good spot going into the 2023 offseason. They’ll have most of their key starters back, 10 draft picks to work with, and a little bit of salary cap flexibility.

It shouldn’t take a Herculean offseason from general manager John Lynch and Co. to put together another club that can make a run at a Super Bowl.

Still, going into the offseason there are a handful of questions the 49ers will need to answer if they’re going to go into next season with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations:

What's Brock Purdy's status?

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

All indications point to Purdy needing surgery on his elbow after an MRI revealed a completely torn UCL. There are two types of surgery though – a repair that would keep him out for six months, and a reconstruction that would push his recovery timeline to somewhere between nine months and a full year. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan sounded optimistic about the six-month timeline, but it’s still uncertain. This question should get answered quickly, but the team’s plan under center would change dramatically if the recovery is significantly longer than that.

Who's the starting QB?

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This will be a question regardless of Purdy’s prognosis. Even if he returns at the six-month mark, QB Trey Lance will have gotten all of the OTA reps and all of the first-team reps for the portions of camp Purdy misses. If Lance wows as the starter in the offseason and continues to impress in camp, the team will have a decision to make about what they want to do under center. It sounds like Purdy is the obvious frontrunner with an inside track to the job, but a possible second-year regression and how his arm recovers from a significant elbow injury are both potential hinderances to Purdy starting Week 1.

Who's the defensive coordinator?

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This is another question that should be answered pretty quickly. The club has an interview lined up with veteran coordinator Steve Wilks. They’ve also requested to interview up-and-coming former Commanders DB coach Chris Harris. A handful of other names could be in the mix, but finding a capable defensive coordinator who can keep the 49ers at or near the top of the league on that side of the ball will be paramount to their continued success under Shanahan.

Is the offensive line good enough?

(AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

This is less about whether the 49ers should invest in their offensive line and more about how much. They don’t have a ton of wiggle room in free agency, but in theory they could try to make a splash along the offensive front. They could also package some of their 10 draft picks to move up in the draft if they either need to replace Mike McGlinchey at right tackle, or if they want to improve at a specific spot. Perhaps they’re content with what’s on the roster, in which case standing pat in the draft and trying to add some depth with picks they already would certainly make sense. We’ll learn a lot about how the 49ers feel about their starters and internal depth along the OL based on how they operate in the offseason.

When are they extending Nick Bosa?

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It’s not a matter of ‘if’ San Francisco extends Nick Bosa. It’s a matter of when. The 49ers have a tendency to let contract negotiations linger. With Bosa likely coming off a Defensive Player of the Year honor, it wouldn’t be outrageous if his aim was to be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. That could hinder things some. Perhaps the 49ers are ready to pony up to extend Bosa now. They should be after the 2022 season he had, and getting that out of the way before camp would be ideal. However, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that this negotiation gets a little bit sticky with the franchise tag in their back pocket.

How much do they invest at QB?

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Shanahan told reporters in his end-of-season press conference that the 49ers wouldn’t be adding a high-profile QB to join the roster behind Purdy and Lance. He did say they’d add the best player who fits their roster and salary cap situation. There’s a wide range of possibilities that come with that. It could be a player like Andy Dalton, who started games this year for the Saints. It could be a familiar face like Nick Mullens or Nate Sudfeld. Or it could be a veteran journeyman backup like Chase Daniel. Some of this will be dependent on how Purdy’s injury turns out, but just how much they pour into the QB position will be something to keep an eye on.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire