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Offseason Forecast: San Francisco 49ers

With the offseason officially under way, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the San Francisco 49ers

What's changing

Backup quarterback Alex Smith was getting all of the attention until the 49ers agreed to trade him to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the NFC champions still have plenty of big decisions to make. Trading Smith was the first step. The 49ers don't stand pat schematically from year to year and need to tweak their offense for Colin Kaepernick's first full season as a starting quarterback. David Akers, Parys Haralson and possibly Carlos Rogers are candidates to be released. The secondary needs to be fixed.

Biggest free agents


» S Dashon Goldson: Tthe 49ers reportedly won't use the franchise tag on Goldson again. Despite his Pro Bowl nod, there are some concerns about Goldson's tendency to give up big plays.

» TE Delanie Walker: He's so much more valuable than his numbers indicate. The 49ers' multiple offense works in part because of all the things Walker can do.


With the offseason officially under way, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | Niners | Rams | Seahawks

» WR Randy Moss: Coach Jim Harbaugh said he wanted Moss back during the team's playoff run, but general manager Trent Baalke won't be keeping him around. With Moss essentially saying his time with the 49ers is over, it wouldn't be a surprise if Moss decides to retire.

Other key free agents: NT Ricky Jean Francois, WR Ted Ginn, NT Isaac Sopoaga and LB Tavares Gooden.

What they need


The 49ers reportedly have talked to every top-level potential free-agent cornerback. They know they have to make upgrades in the secondary. Defensive end Justin Smith is getting closer to the end of his career, and the 49ers' pass rush struggled in the playoffs. Another edge rusher or someone who can push the pocket from the interior should be on the team's wish list. A wide receiver who can stretch the field would help, although the team is hoping A.J. Jenkins, last year's first-round draft selection, will fill that role.

Offseason crystal ball


Look for the 49ers to make a splash at cornerback. If it's not the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis, it could be the Miami Dolphins' Sean Smith or the Philadelphia Eagles' Nnamdi Asomugha. Smith should get dealt. Whether it's the Kansas City Chiefs or not, I don't expect anything better than a third-round pick. I'd guess something closer to a fourth- or a fifth-round pick. Walker should be brought back, but Goldson is a strong candidate to find bigger money elsewhere. The 49ers are as aggressive and creative as any team in the NFL.

After coming up just short of a Super Bowl title, I expect the 49ers to be bold this offseason. This isn't an organization that will stand pat.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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