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49ers free agent rewind: Looking back at the team's 2014 needs

Antoine Bethea is the main free agent the 49ers signed this offseason
Antoine Bethea is the main free agent the 49ers signed this offseason
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Last January, I wrote about the needs for the 49ers heading into the offseason. Almost two months later, I will look back at what the team has done to address the needs and possibly change the order of priority and importance on each position.

The safety position has been addressed with the signing of Antoine Bethea who is expected to be the starting SS in place of Donte Whitner this fall. It appears the 49ers are set at that position for the season.

1. Wide Receiver

The 49ers re-signed Anquan Boldin to a two-year contract a few days before free agency began. With Michael Crabtree and Quinton Patton still on board for 2014, the team still lacks a deep threat who can stretch the field. Even though the team isn't short of players at the WR position, they will need to take someone who can impact the team in the long term to learn under the top receivers. Crabtree could be a free agent this offseason while Boldin won't get any younger.

2. Cornerback

Chris Cook is the only new addition to the group of cornerbacks while the team re-signed Eric Wright and let Tarell Brown walk. They could use another CB who is capable of starting alongside the recently emerged Tramaine Brock. Chris Culliver is in his contract year as he excelled at the nickel CB position in 2012. He is penciled in as the starter due to the fact he has the most playing time in Vic Fangio's system. There isn't much experienced at this position in terms of having a primary cornerback.

3. Pass rushing specialist

The 49ers drafted Corey Lemonier last draft, but a team can never have enough pass rushers heading into the next season. Aldon Smith is under contract through the 2015 season and it won't hurt to add more projects for the long-term.

4. Interior offensive lineman

Mike Iupati enters the final year of his rookie contract from 2010 and it's uncertain if he will remain with the team after the 2014 season. Daniel Kilgore is expected to be the starting center after signing an extension last month. The 49ers could use a versatile lineman who is capable of playing both guard and center as he could be a developmental project similar to how Alex Boone became the RG. Jonathan Martin and Joe Looney are the current reserve guards on the team.

5. Inside Linebacker

Michael Wilhoite is penciled in to be the starting LB alongside Patrick Willis in Week 1 as NaVorro Bowman recovers from a torn ACL. This position is thin with Nick Moody being the only other reserve ILB who is primarily a special teams contributor.

6. Reserve Quarterback

The 49ers addressed this by acquiring Blaine Gabbert from the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick and McLeod Bethel-Thompson are the three quarterbacks currently under contract and it wouldn't hurt to use another late-round pick on an athletic QB to provide competition in training camp.

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