Perhaps the most successful coach in NFL history, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has said building a roster is “a very challenging task” given the amount of talent available and the particular skillset teams need in both the short and long-term.
Unlike the Chiefs, whose roster includes only one player acquired before Andy Reid took over the team in 2013, the 49ers roster is made up of players from five different head coaches, a microcosm of the struggles the franchise has experienced in recent years.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan speaks during a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan joined the organization in 2017 after taking over for Chip Kelly, who helmed the team for just one season. Prior to Kelly, Jim Tomsula was the head coach for one year as well, taking over for Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh, who had been with the organization for four years, taking them to a Super Bowl in the 2012 season, said in 2016 he did not leave the team on his own accord.
Since coming over three seasons ago, Lynch and Shanahan have reshaped much of the roster, drafting, signing and acquiring players who fit Shanahan’s motion-based offense and the teams’ philosophy on defense. Forty-six of the 53 players on the roster have been acquired in the past three years, including 19 in the 2019 season alone.
Franchise stalwarts such as defensive end Nick Bosa, tight end George Kittle and offensive lineman Joe Staley have come through the draft, but the team’s quarterback, Jimmy Garropolo, was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Patriots during the 2017 season.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) stretches during practice at the team’s NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Free agency has also understandably played a large role for the well-balanced 49ers, who averaged 29.9 points a game on offense in the 2019 season, behind only the Baltimore Ravens. On defense, they allowed 19.4 points per game, also second in the league, behind the aforementioned Patriots.
Some of the more high-profile signings include fullback Kyle Juszczyk, cornerback Richard Sherman, linebacker Kwon Alexander and running back Tevin Coleman. Coleman’s status for playing on Sunday is in question after the former Atlanta Falcons player injured his shoulder in the NFC Championship game.
The amount of money spent on each position can also influence how successful (or not) a team is during the season. The 49ers have spent more than $94 million on the offensive side of the ball, according to OverTheCap. By contrast, the defense accounts for nearly $88 million in spending.
Here’s a breakdown of when and how each 49ers player was acquired:
LT Joe Staley (1st-round draft pick)
FS Jimmie Ward (1st-round draft pick)
LS Kyle Nelson (Signed as a free agent)
DL Arik Armstead (1st-round draft pick)
SS Jaquiski Tartt (2nd-round draft pick)
DL DeForest Buckner (1st-round draft pick)
RB Raheem Mostert (Signed as a free agent)
DL Solomon Thomas (1st-round draft pick)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (3rd-round draft pick)
CB C.J. Beathard (3rd-round draft pick)
TE George Kittle (5th-round draft pick)
QB Nick Mullens (Signed as a free agent)
RB Matt Breida (Signed as a free agent)
WR Kendrick Bourne (Signed as a free agent)
K Robbie Gould (Signed as a free agent)
DB K’Waun Williams (Signed as a free agent)
FB Kyle Juszczyk (Signed as a free agent)
LB Elijah Lee (Signed as a free agent)
LB Mark Nzeocha (Signed as a free agent)
DT Sheldon Day (Acquired off waivers from Jacksonville)
LG Laken Tomlinson (Acquired in a trade with Detroit)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Acquired in a trade with New England)
RT Mike McGlinchey (1st-round draft pick)
WR Dante Pettis (2nd-round draft pick)
LB Fred Warner (3rd-round draft pick)
DB Tarvarius Moore (3rd-round draft pick)
DB D.J. Reed (5th-round draft pick)
S Marcell Harris (6th-round draft pick)
WR Richie James (7th-round draft pick)
RB Jeff Wilson (Signed as a free agent)
TE Ross Dwelley (Signed as a free agent)
CB Emmanuel Moseley (Signed as a free agent)
CB Richard Sherman (Signed as a free agent)
RG Mike Person (Signed as a free agent)
DE Nick Bosa (1st-round draft pick)
WR Deebo Samuel (2nd-round draft pick)
P Mitch Wishnowsky (4th-round draft pick)
LB Dre Greenlaw (5th-round draft pick)
OT Justin Skule (6th-round draft pick)
LB Azeez Al-Shaair (Signed as a free agent)
DL Kevin Givens (Signed as a free agent)
LB Kwon Alexander (Signed as a free agent)
RB Tevin Coleman (Signed as a free agent)
OL Ben Garland (Signed as a free agent)
OL Daniel Brunskill (Signed as a free agent)
TE Levine Toilolo (Signed as a free agent)
CB Dontae Johnson (Signed as a free agent)
WR Jordan Matthews (Signed as a free agent)
DL Anthony Zettel (Signed as a free agent)
DT Earl Mitchell (Signed as a free agent)
TE Daniel Helm (Acquired off waivers from L.A. Chargers)
DE Dee Ford (Acquired in a trade with Kansas City)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (Acquired in a trade with Denver)