This post won’t determine who had the better off-season. (To me, it’s a push.) Both teams got better at positions they needed to (which were, ironically, the same positions this year) and upgraded tremendously at other positions. There is still work to do in the draft for both teams, but the 49ers and Seahawks went head-to-head in the pre-draft portion of the 2013 off-season.
San Francisco: C +
- Colt McCoy isn’t Alex Smith, but he fits nicely with San Francisco’s plan of attack. His mobility is above average.
Seattle: C -
- Brady Quinn was signed and Josh Portis was brought back to compete for the backup job. The thought among 12s is that they’ll be fighting for a third string spot after the Seahawks draft a quarterback closer to Russell Wilson’s skill-set. Neither is anywhere near Matt Flynn in dependability, but the value of dumping Flynn’s contract was too good to pass on.
- Percy Harvin is an elite level talent at both receiver and kick returner, allowing the Seahawks to cover two positions with one player. When you consider that he also upgrades the running and kick return games (Seattle was already among the NFL’s best in both aspects) Harvin is even more valuable. The addition of Brett Swain doesn’t seem like much, and it may not be, but it gives some of the other receivers something to think about due to increased competition to the position.
- Anquan Boldin brings a solid, semi-elite and veteran talent to the San Francisco’s receiving corps. Marlon Moore should also come in and get solid playing time with the current set of receivers. The 49ers also added Ricardo Lockette earlier but it’s unclear whether he’ll get a shot to make the roster. Regardless, that’s a solid “A+” for the Niners, especially when considering what little they gave up for their new top receiver.
- Antione Winfield is a huge asset for Seattle at inside corner and shores up a position that was really one of only two weak spots on the defense. The fact that he is soon to be 36 drives this move down to a B+. However, he comes in at just $3 million (less than market value) and the reason is because he wants to make a run at a championship. Seattle has never been the place for veteran stars before, so this move is important to the organization on multiple levels.
San Francisco: B +
- Two years ago this would have been a high “A”, but Nnamdi Asomugha wasn’t the force in Philadelphia that he was in Oakland and the return for Dashon Goldson’s loss in free agency was not very good. However, the fact that the team picks up a solid starting level corner at a position of need is pretty large. Craig Dahl is a very low level starting safety in the league so he brings the grade down, and Darcel McBath doesn’t really have a huge resume to judge. We could talk about the championship issue with Nnamdi as well, but the situation is different, looking at the history of the Niner organization.
Seattle: A +
- Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are high quality gap-fills, that will help the team survive the likely loss of Chris Clemons for half the season. Each produced at least 9 sacks last season and the ability to keep them fresh through rotation should increase the production of the defense. Also, between them, they were mostly regarded as two of the top three pass rushing defensive ends in free agency. Then you add the signing of Tony McDaniel and you have to applaud Seattle’s moves to shore up the defensive line. While it’s unclear what McDaniel’s role will be or how he’ll produce, it’s an effective move for the protection of the starters.
- Glenn Dorsey has never really lived up to his potential as a starter but maybe he’ll be a force in the run game when only playing for a couple snaps at a time. Chances are he goes to a 4-tech defensive end, like Red Bryant occupies for the Seahawks.
San Francisco: C
- Cameron Morrah is a fair get for the 49ers. He’s not a great blocker, but adds very dependable depth to the team, especially in the pass catching department.
- Darren Fells doesn’t really make the “important moves” list. The Seahawks will probably look at the position in the draft as well.