San Francisco 49ers 2024 NFL offseason primer: Most everybody should be back for another run at Super Bowl

San Francisco 49ers' 2023 season: 12-5, won NFC West, lost Super Bowl

Overview: San Francisco reached its second Super Bowl under head coach Kyle Shanahan, and for the second time Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs beat them. Shanahan's controversial decision to take possession after winning the coin flip under the new overtime rules — not to mention his players' admitted lack of familiarity with them — were big talking points after the game.

The sting of the loss won't go away anytime soon, but that doesn't mean there's reason to worry about the 49ers. Brock Purdy took another step forward and was in the MVP conversation (for better or worse), San Francisco earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and pretty much everyone is back for another run at a sixth Super Bowl for the franchise this fall.

There aren't too many areas of concern, although the offensive line needs to be addressed and the front seven could use some upgrades. Still, the 49ers figure to be one of the best teams in the NFL yet again this season. The pressure to finally get over the hump will accompany them.

(Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

Key free agents

DE Chase Young
OLB Randy Gregory
S Tashaun Gipson
WR Ray-Ray McCloud
WR Jauan Jennings (RFA)

Who's in/out: Acquired in a midseason trade with the Commanders, Young has his supporters on the 49ers, most notably Nick Bosa, who "definitely" wants his former college teammate back. That seems unlikely after the team reached a two-year deal with free agent pass-rusher Leonard Floyd and added linebacker Yetur Gross-Matos for more pass-rushing help. Perhaps the biggest name to watch isn't a free agent, but wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who's entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract and has acted so far this offseason like he wants more long-term security — whether with San Francisco or elsewhere.

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers hope a good offseason will finally get them over the Super Bowl hump. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers hope a good offseason will finally get them over the Super Bowl hump. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Key free-agent needs

Offensive tackle
Defensive line

Why the holes? Trent Williams is still playing at an All-Pro level, but he'll turn 36 this July, and right tackle Colton McKivitz hasn't exactly panned out. Cornerback isn't a glaring need, but the 49ers should at least explore upgrades there. And with Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw on his way out, along with potentially Chase Young and Randy Gregory, San Francisco will need more bodies along the defensive line. Leonard Floyd is a good start, along with former Browns DT Jordan Elliott, who the 49ers added on a two-year deal.

Do they have the money?

The 49ers are $3.2 million under the cap, via Spotrac, after restructuring Fred Warner's contract to free up space.

Notable cuts

DL Arik Armstead

Why they might be gone: The 49ers reportedly approached Armstead about a potential pay cut, but he didn't accept. Instead, the team plans to release the veteran defensive lineman, who was the longest tenured player on the team after being drafted in the first round in 2015. He was scheduled to count $28.4 million against the cap, so the 49ers may try to spread the dead money hit over multiple years.

Draft picks

1st round: No. 31
2nd round: No. 63
3rd round: No. 94
4th round: No. 123 (from Cowboys)
4th round: No. 130
4th round: No. 133 (compensatory)
5th round: No. 176 (compensatory)
6th round: No. 211 (compensatory)
6th round: No. 215 (compensatory)
7th round: No. 251

Good draft fit

Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

Why him? The raw but traits-laden Suamataia was mocked to the 49ers by Yahoo Sports draft experts Nate Tice and Charles McDonald, and the need is clear. There are issues to address, such as hand placement and struggles in run blocking, but with a pick at the end of the first round, San Francisco would do well to land him.

What can move the fantasy football needle this offseason?

The 49ers had another disappointing ending in the Super Bowl, but they were an offensive juggernaut yet again in 2023. San Francisco led the NFL in yards per play and finished second in points per game. The team produced the fantasy QB6, two top-15 WRs, a top-five TE and an RB who produced 100+ more fantasy points than any other back. Only injuries can move the needle with this offense, as Kyle Shanahan runs the show and isn’t going anywhere. Brandon Aiyuk is rumored to be interested in a trade (likely posturing), but San Francisco picked up his fifth-year option in 2024 (and would love to sign him long-term), so the 49ers are set to run it back next season (with Brock Purdy getting his first healthy offseason as the starter). — Dalton Del Don