The San Francisco 49ers Window of Opportunity Has Just Begun to Open

By Craig Ballard
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Under Jim Harbaugh the San Francisco 49ers are an impressive 27-8-1, and have made it to the NFC Championship game in both of his seasons. What is remarkable is how well positioned the franchise is going forward, so much so that I can predict confidently that this will not be the last time we see Harbaugh and guys like Colin Kaepernick representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. As the 2013 NFL Playoffs Insider for Rant Sports I have my articles RIGHT HERE, and this one is a look at why the window of opportunity is just starting to open for this 49ers franchise.

Kaepernick is taking the league by storm, and at just 25-years old, we see a massive future for this young man. His BFF has been Michael Crabtree who is also just 25. We know the 49ers offense has been led by Frank Gore for several years now, and he is just 29-years old, so I do not anticipate him riding into the sunset, but he will be pushed for playing time going forward as young bucks like LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter have had limited roles so far, but are both capable of taking on more responsibility for Harbaugh’s offense going forward.

The offensive line that creates the holes for the running game, and keeps Kaepernick upright, is extremely good and the exciting is they are extremely young too. Joe Staley is 28, Mike Iupati and Alex Boone are 25, and Anthony Davis is just 23-years old. Center Jonathan Goodwin is 34-years old, and I will look at how well the Niners are set up to replace him in a moment

On defense the 49ers have studs like Patrick Willis at 28, Donte Whitne at 27, NaVorro Bowman at 24, and Aldon Smith is just 23. Even cornerback Tarell Brown has become really good and he is just 28-years young so he will be effective for years to come as well.

Dashon Goldson is just 28, but he is a free-agent. Justin Smith is really good but he is getting up there at 33-years old, and we mentioned Goodwin earlier. The great news for Niners fans is any of these really good players can be replaced by the approx $6 million the 49ers have in 2013 salary cap space, or by any of the whopping 14 draft picks they will have in the 2013 NFL draft.

Wow…14 picks is amazing. The Niners have their own seven picks, plus they added four more through trades (no other team added as many through trades) and they have three compensatory picks. Add in what they will receive back in a Alex Smith trade, and we see that this young team is perhaps not in a great position to add a ton through free-agency, but their draft potential is massive. They have created an impressive window of opportunity that should provide 49ers fans with a phenomenal amount of wins for the next several years. I have to say “kudos” to Trent Baalke and the 49ers brass, they have earned themselves a rep as an enviable franchise.

Thank you for checking out my work! Much appreciated…Pass it on…@craigballard77

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