Where do 49ers go from here? Decisions loom with scheduled UFAs


The 49ers’ offseason has officially started.

General manager John Lynch was hoping that phase of the 49ers’ calendar would not begin for another two weeks.

But the team’s anticlimactic 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday now shifts the focus to next season.

It figures to be another busy offseason for the club. The 49ers have 23 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency and many big decisions ahead as they chart the course for the future.

Here is a look team’s scheduled unrestricted free agents:

QB Jimmy Garoppolo: His season ended on Dec. 4 with a fractured foot. After Sunday’s game, Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area reported Garoppolo gave owners Dr. John York and Denise DeBartolo York hugs and told them, “Everything will work out.” It would seem likely Garoppolo will get a starting opportunity (and a contract that goes along with that) with another team.

DB Jimmie Ward: He settled into his role as the 49ers’ nickel back this season after losing his starting job to veteran free safety Tashaun Gipson. After nine seasons with the club, it might be time for the sides to go in different directions. Ward will want to be a starting safety, and he figures to get that opportunity somewhere.

DE Samson Ebukam: His numbers as a pass-rusher never really took off as the team and he expected. Ebukam was a starter the past two seasons, during which time he managed 9.5 sacks. The 49ers certainly will not close the door on his return while also looking to find a little more pass-rushing juice from the player who lines up opposite Nick Bosa.

CB Emmanuel Moseley: He appeared destined for a big-time contract when the season began. But Moseley’s market is a major mystery due to a torn ACL. It is entirely possible the 49ers could bring him back on a one-year, prove-it deal. Deommodore Lenoir stepped in and played very well in the postseason.

RT Mike McGlinchey: There is always a strong market for an experienced offensive lineman, and McGlinchey figures to get himself a sizable multi-year contract — more than likely, not with the 49ers. The 49ers have been grooming Colton McKivitz to take over, so that appears to be the most logical move for the team.

LB Azeez Al-Shaair: The 49ers seemed to signal their intentions after Week 1 when linebacker Dre Greenlaw was signed to a multi-year extension. The 49ers cannot pay everyone, and Al-Shaair is likely to land an every-down job with another team.

K Robbie Gould: He is still one of the league’s most consistent kickers. Does Gould wish to remain in Santa Clara or find employment closer to his home in the Chicago area? Also, would the 49ers use the franchise tag on him again?

C Jake Brendel: His first season as an NFL starter went very well. The 49ers should be able to re-sign him at a reasonable cost.

RG Daniel Brunskill: He has done a little bit of everything for the 49ers’ offensive line. He is a valuable player because of his versatility. It seems unlikely he will land a starting job elsewhere, so a return to the 49ers could happen.

S Tashaun Gipson: His signing after Jimmie Ward sustained an injury was a big move for the club in August. He started every game and came up with five interceptions. He will be 33 years old at the start of next season. If he wishes to continue, he should be affordable for the 49ers.

DE Charles Omenihu: This will have to play out in the offseason when the legal system runs its course. He was arrested last week on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence. The 49ers deemed the facts, as they perceived them, did not warrant his removal from the team.

DE Jordan Willis: The 49ers acquired him in a midseason trade in 2020, and he has been a very good role player. If the price is right, he should be back.

TE Ross Dwelley: After being a primary backup during his first four seasons with the club, Dwelley found himself on the inactive list more often than not this season. He might need a fresh start elsewhere.

DE Kerry Hyder: The veteran player was certainly not the same kind of contributor he was in 2020, when he registered 8.5 sacks. He turns 32 in the offseason, and the 49ers should be looking to upgrade.

DT Hassan Ridgeway: He was a valuable player for the team at a time when Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw were unavailable due to injuries. Ridgeway, however, sustained a chest injury in Week 13 and went to season-ending injured reserve.

DT T.Y. McGill: He did a nice job as a rotational player on the D-line. He showed enough to be back on a one-year deal.

DB Tarvarius Moore: He showed promise in 2019, including an interception in the Super Bowl. But he never took that next step and had an offseason injury that ruined one season. Now, he should probably look elsewhere for another opportunity.

TE Tyler Kroft: The 49ers signed Kroft in the offseason and he ended up as the No. 2 tight end. He was a central figure in the 49ers’ loss Sunday — not in a good way — when he could not stick with Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick, who delivered the hit on Brock Purdy that resulted in the elbow injury.

QB Josh Johnson: At 36, this should be it for Johnson’s NFL career.

RELATED: Jimmy G laments not being available after 49ers' QB injuries

LS Taybor Pepper: The long-snapper has a good thing going with punter/holder Mitch Wishnowsky and Gould.

CB Jason Verrett: The highly respected veteran has experienced horrible luck throughout his NFL career. There is no reason at this point to run it back.

DT Maurice Hurst: He sustained season-ending injuries in both seasons with the 49ers. It’s probably time to move on.

TE Jordan Matthews: The transition to tight end has never taken shape due to injuries. The 49ers are best served to bring in some youth to develop.

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