San Francisco 49ers' 5 Biggest Offseason Mistakes So Far

Have the Niners Taken a Step Backward this Offseason?

Jim Harbaugh
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have been so close to the Super Bowl two years in a row now. The team and their fans hoped that the third time would be the charm and that 2014 would be their year. However, they've had a difficult offseason, and some previous areas of concern have only gotten more concerning. Instead of reloading for another run, the 49ers may have taken a step backward this offseason. Here are 5 of their biggest mistakes so far.

5. A Knee-Jerk Decision in Signing Chris Cook?

Chris Cook
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

5. A Knee-Jerk Decision in Signing Chris Cook?

Chris Cook
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Granted, they had a need at the CB spot after letting their own free agents get away, but Chris Cook is hardly of the same caliber as a Tarell Brown. He's not even of the same caliber as Carlos Rogers. While it's true that his deal is a low risk venture, Cook has never lived up to expectations and has -- putting it kindly -- had a very average career. About the best that can be said is that at least they have a warm body out on the field.

4. Letting Manningham Walk and Not Targeting a Free Agent WR

Mario Manningham
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4. Letting Manningham Walk and Not Targeting a Free Agent WR

Mario Manningham
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If there is a weakness in the 49ers offense, it's their wide receiving corps. Having let Mario Manningham walk away, outside of Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, they're pretty thin in the pass catchers department. Though Boldin had a terrific 2013, he is 33 years old, and Crabtree has a history of injuries. But they failed to land an established receiver via free agency to bolster the offense and give Kaepernick another weapon.

3. Letting CB Tarell Brown Walk

Tarell Brown
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3. Letting CB Tarell Brown Walk

Brown2
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The 49ers were already thin at the cornerback spot, and they got even thinner when they let Tarell Brown sign with the Oakland Raiders. The mistake looks even worse given the fact that fellow cornerback Chris Culliver is in serious legal trouble. Losing Brown and now possibly Culliver likely led to the signing of chronic underachiever Chris Cook to fill out the secondary. The Niners are probably really regretting letting Brown walk.

2. Not Getting a Deal Done with Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Not Getting a Deal Done with Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When they traded Alex Smith, the 49ers became Kaepernick's team. Now, after going to back to back NFC title games, Kaepernick's price tag is only going up. They have the choice to try and work out a reasonable deal now or let him hit the open market after 2014 where his asking price will skyrocket -- and then turn the team over to Blaine Gabbert.

1. Giving Up a Draft Pick for Blaine Gabbert

Blaine Gabbert
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1. Giving Up a Draft Pick for Blaine Gabbert

Gabbert2
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If the team was looking for some leverage to use against Kaepernick in their impending contract talks, they probably could have done a lot better than trading for Blaine Gabbert. The former No. 10 overall pick never became the franchise QB the Jaguars believed him to be when they drafted him. Gabbert spent most of last season on the bench, and Kaepernick isn't going to lose a lot of sleep knowing that guy is behind him on the depth chart.