The San Francisco 49ers have a three-year window to win the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl championship. Head coach Jim Harbaugh, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and linebacker Aldon Smith are all in their third year with the team. However, there are other key players who are not as youthful in their tenure with the 49ers as well as the NFL.
The reason for this team having only have three years to win the Super Bowl is because of the aging veterans on the team and the decision to start Kaepernick over Alex Smith. The team was thinking “Super Bowl Or Bust” in the 2012 season when Smith was replaced due to injury, but they made it to the Super Bowl and lost. Though most of the key veterans are signed until the end of the 2014 season, that does not mean any of them cannot be waived or traded before their contracts are up especially if there is no sixth trophy in their case.
It is not a matter of patience but a matter of age and money. On the surface San Francisco seems like a young team given the 180-degree turn around since Harbaugh became the coach, but there are veterans on this team who in three years may either be retired or on another team. Yes Harbaugh has gotten this team to an NFC Championship game and last year’s Super Bowl, but the nucleus of the team was from former head coach Mike Nolan.
Rookie safety Eric Reid, Kaepernick and Smith have performed well so far , but they and a few of Harbaugh’s other draft picks still have some growing to do. Though he has been injured, running back LaMichael James needs to make his presence more known in the running and passing game. Rookie tight end Vance McDonald is big and talented, but he needs to work on his speed and agility. Another rookie in wide receiver Quinton Patton has to step his game up after two subpar aerial attack performances by the offense.