2022 record: 13-4, first NFC West
Playoff picture: The 49ers reached three NFC Championship games in four seasons with Super Bowl titles to show for their success.
Biggest Week 1 question: Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa was a summertime and preseason holdout in search of a huge big payday that could reset the market for defensive players. If he isn’t in the fold by Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco will be without the key cog of its league-best defense. Bosa racked up 34 sacks the past two seasons.
What’s new: Sam Darnold is the veteran quarterback option should Brock Purdy’s surgically repaired elbow not hold up — or if the second-year pro isn’t as good as his surprise second half last season. With or without Bosa, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave jumping to the 49ers from the Philadelphia Eagles with a four-year, $84 million deal might prove the best acquisition of the offseason. San Francisco also let reliable Robbie Gould walk and drafted kicker Jake Moody in the third round.
They’re gone: Quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo is off to the Las Vegas Raiders and Trey Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick, was recently shipped to the Dallas Cowboys. Pass rusher Charles Omenihu, safety Jimmie Ward, cornerback Emmanuel Mosley, offensive tackle Mike McClinchey and kicker Robbie Gould are among other departures.
On the money: The quarterback room is thinned out in a very public confession the 49ers felt Lance wasn’t as good as Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 draft. Purdy was a lifesaver for the 49ers last season but injured his throwing elbow in the NFC Championship game loss to the Eagles and underwent major surgery. San Francisco’s midseason trade for running back Christian McCaffrey worked out. The offense also features top-flight tight end George Kittle and versatile receiver Deebo Samuel.
Get to know: Moody is the rare kicker to go in the first three rounds of the draft and the 49ers like his strong leg. They wouldn’t have cut ties with Gould if they didn’t think Moody was up to the task. However, Moody sustained a quadriceps injury late in training camp and may not be ready for Week 1. Moody made 52 of 60 field goals over his final two college seasons at Michigan and won the Lou Groza Award (best college kicker) in 2021. But rookie kickers often struggle.
Vegas says: BetMGM lists the 49ers as +1000 to win the Super Bowl behind the Kansas City Chiefs, Eagles and Buffalo Bills. San Francisco has the roster to get there.
–Field Level Media