NFC West: Arizona Cardinals And Seattle Seahawks Improve
By Scott Allen
Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) catches a pass over Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco 49ers are a mess. They have lost the most out of any team in the NFC West since the new league year started. All of this after they parted ways with coach Jim Harbaugh after the season ended in December.
They’ve lost players to retirement and free agency. And it seems the exodus hasn’t ended yet. There may be at least one more departure via retirement soon. Let’s start with the good news though, what little of it there is.
WR Torrey Smith
DT Darnell Dockett
G Erik Pears
CB Shareece Wright
The addition of Smith helps but doesn’t replace the outgoing Michael Crabtree. Dockett all of a sudden may end up a starter in San Francisco thanks to the departures the Niners have experienced. Pears will replace Iupati at guard and is someone that the Cardinals were rumored to be interested in.
So let’s talk about the losses. It’s a lengthy list.
Linebacker Chris Borland abruptly retired after just one season. He cited the risks of the game after doing research as reason for leaving. I commend him for the hard decision to walk away from all that money. He was set to be the next defensive star in the NFL.
Also retiring was linebacker Patrick Willis. He played eight seasons in the NFL and could be headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Justin Smith is also considering retirement but he’s going into his 14th season.
Cornerback Perrish Cox went to the Tennessee Titans. Cornerback Chris Culliver went to the Redskins. Running back Frank Gore ended up with the Colts after first saying he was going to go to the Eagles. Receiver Steve Johnson just left this week to go to the San Diego Chargers. Outside linebacker Dan Skuta joined the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hey the Niners did re-sign quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Ok, so maybe not so productive. Grading the Niners at this point feels like it should be incomplete because they still have players to release but so far I’d give them a D.
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