From four wins in 2018 to a Super Bowl appearance the following year. What can the San Francisco 49ers do in free agency to be even better in 2020?
Déjà vu all over again for Kyle Shanahan? Unfortunately, that’s what many will remember as the San Francisco 49ers owned a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. But Andy Reid’s club scored the final 21 points of the game and that franchise hoisted the Lombardy Trophy for the first time since 1969.
It was shades of Super Bowl LI when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the Falcons. In that instance, Atlanta owned a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots in the third quarter and watched Bill Belichick’s team scored the final 31 points of the game – the last six in overtime.
Now the Niners prepare for the 2020 campaign looking to become the first NFC team since the 2013 and ’14 Seattle Seahawks to go to back-to-back Super Bowls. But general manager John Lynch has some important decisions to make. Might the team be adding a few new faces despite limited cap room (via Spotrac)?
5. WR Taylor Gabriel (Released by Chicago Bears)
It never hurts the turn to a familiar face and that could be exactly what Kyle Shanahan does in bringing in wide receiver Taylor Gabriel – recently released by the Chicago Bears. The one-time member of the Cleveland Browns wound up in Atlanta in 2016 and in 13 games with the eventual NFC champions, he totaled 35 catches for 579 yards and six touchdowns. He also ran for one score and in three playoff games, added nine receptions for an impressive 171 yards (19.0 average).
With Shanahan’s departure in ’17, Taylor became less of a big-play factor with the team. He signed with the Bears in 2018 and although he totaled a career-best 67 catches that year, he averaged just 10.8 yards per grab and totaled only six scores in 25 games with Chicago. A reunion with his former offensive coordinator could be the tonic the speedy Taylor needs to get back on track.