5 San Francisco 49ers who won't be back after heartbreaking Super Bowl loss

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
1 of 5

Everything seemed to be going the San Francisco 49ers' way in Super Bowl LVIII. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead, were stifling Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense, and seemed well on their way to ending a nearly three-decade winless drought in the Super Bowl. Then everything changed.

A special teams snafu, some untimely defensive lapses, and some offensive stalling issues let the Chiefs back in it, ultimately forcing overtime with a field goal just before the end of regulation. That momentum continued as the 49ers were stopped short in the red zone on the first possession of OT, forcing them to settle for a field goal. That gave Mahomes a chance to win the game.

And he did.

It's heartbreak for the 49ers as a season full of so much promise could end like this with a shortcoming in the Super Bowl. But it did, and now come the changes.

It's going to be a much different offseason than the 49ers have experienced in the past few years. But don't expect these five players to be back in San Francisco, for one reason or another, as they're likely gone after this Super Bowl run.

5. Ray-Ray McCloud, WR

This probably won't come as a shock to virtually any 49ers fan given how little wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud has offered to this team over the past two years since he landed with San Francisco.

In the 2023 season, McCloud appeared in 12 games and was about as much of a non-factor as one could be without actively doing nothing. In total, he hauled in just 12 receptions on only 15 targets for 135 yards while also getting three carries for 30 yards.

What's more, his value could've been more on special teams, but the return man was largely ineffective in that capacity as well. He had just 203 punt return yards on 24 attempts this season but only had a long of 19 yards, showing he wasn't exactly flipping the field in a positive way often at all. Moreover, he averaged only 22.5 yards per kick return on 10 attempts as well.

McCloud, to be sure, would not be expensive to re-sign. He was only on the books for $2 million in the 2023 season, and it would take that or perhaps less to bring him back by all accounts.

Given the tight rope that the 49ers have to walk this offseason when it comes to the salary cap, though, they would undoubtedly be better served looking late in the draft, on the UDFA market, or even at players already on the roster to replace McCloud's role on special teams and move forward.