The defections don't end there.
In addition to Willis and Smith, the defense has lost pocket-crashing left end Ray McDonald. Veteran outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks is next on the chopping block after losing his job to Aaron Lynch late last season. It's also worth noting that All-Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman hasn't played a down since shredding his knee in the NFC title game two Januaries ago.
If you're keeping score at home, that is 21 Pro Bowl appearances (Willis 7, Smith 5, Gore 5, Iupati 3, Brooks 1) and as many as 850 NFL starts walking out the door.
Beyond the roster churning, the 49ers have to compensate for a brain drain that includes one of the NFL's best head coaches (Harbaugh), an offensive coordinator hailed as a "genius" two years ago (Greg Roman) and the only coordinator to lead a top-five defense in each of the past four years (Vic Fangio).
Owner Jed York sided with his general manager in a year-long tug of war, placing a higher value on Baalke's player acquisition skills than Harbaugh's coaching ability.
The pressure is on Baalke and hand-picked head coach Jim Tomsula to stay out of the NFC West basement while excavating a roster that Harbaugh led to heights not experienced since the halcyon days of Bill Walsh and George Seifert.