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Nov 19, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner (left) talks with defensive end Nick Bosa (right) during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

What is the Strongest Position on the 49ers Defense in 2024?

The defense of the 49ers isn't as top heavy as their offense, but they still have a position group that is a force to be reckoned with.

Jose Luis Sanchez III
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Nov 19, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner (left) talks with defensive end Nick Bosa (right) during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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What is the Strongest Position on the 49ers Defense in 2024?

The defense of the 49ers isn't as top heavy as their offense, but they still have a position group that is a force to be reckoned with.

Jose Luis Sanchez III
|

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Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Arik Armstead (91) talks with defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen during an organized team activity Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at EverBank Stadium’s Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla.
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Jaguars Place Arik Armstead on PUP List, 49ers Smart for Cutting Him

Now we see exactly why the 49ers released Arik Armstead this offseason. The Jacksonville Jaguars just placed Armstead on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Armstead reportedly is still recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Grant Cohn
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Dec 10, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) stands next to wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) after the 49ers picked up a first down near the end zone against the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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What is the Strongest Position on Offense for the 49ers in 2024?

The greatest strength on the offense for the 49ers has shifted in the last year as they head into the 2024 season.

Jose Luis Sanchez III
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Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs with the ball against Kansas City Chiefs safety Mike Edwards (21) during overtime of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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What the Betting Odds are for Christian McCaffrey to win the MVP Award in 2024

The NFL MVP award is essentially the "best quarterback" award, yet Christian McCaffrey managed to become a finalist for it in 2023. Can he contend for it again in 2024?

Jose Luis Sanchez III
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Aug 18, 2020; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) runs during training camp at SAP Performance Facility. Mandatory Credit: San Francisco 49ers/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network
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Brandon Aiyuk Likely to Hold Out of 49ers Training Camp

This should come as no surprise. Brandon Aiyuk reportedly will hold out of 49ers training camp as he awaits a lucrative contract extension. This news comes a few days after Aiyuk officially requested a trade,

Grant Cohn
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Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall is selected as the No. 31 pick of the first round by the San Francisco 49ers during the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The 49ers Had Financial Incentive to Draft Ricky Pearsall in Round 1

Ricky Pearsall wasn't the best player available when the 49ers drafted him with the second-to-last pick in Round 1 this year, nor did he fill a need. The 49ers drafted Pearsall for financial reasons.

Grant Cohn
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Nov 15, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) celebrates next to tight end George Kittle (85) after making a catch for a first down against the Los Angeles Rams in the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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PFF: 49ers TE George Kittle is a Better Player than Brandon Aiyuk

Both George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk are elite blockers and both get fewer targets on the 49ers than they would on other teams. They each make the same sacrifice.

Grant Cohn
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May 10, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (14) runs drills during the 49ers rookie minicamp at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Kupbens-USA TODAY Sports
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PFF: Drafting Ricky Pearsall was the 49ers' Best Move of the Offseason

When the 49ers drafted Pearsall, most analysts criticized the move because he doesn't fix a weakness or make the team better now. Pro Football Focus loved the pick, though.

Grant Cohn
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Oct 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) prepares to pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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How Much Money Will the 49ers Offer Brock Purdy Next Offseason?

Brock Purdy will be eligible for a contract extension next year, and if he continues to play like he has the first two seasons of his career, the 49ers surely will make one of the highest-paid players in the NFL. But how much exactly will they offer him?

Grant Cohn
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Jan 28, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) celebrates with the George Halas Trophy after winning the NFC Championship football game against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Will Kyle Shanahan Give Brock Purdy More Control of the 49ers Offense?

Kyle Shanahan treats quarterbacks like puppets. He doesn't let them make many decisions. Doesn't allow them to audible or set the protections at the line of scr

Grant Cohn
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Dec 25, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan reviews a play during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
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Will This be the Year 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan Finally Shows Growth?

49ers head coach Shanahan hasn't changed much since he became the 49ers head coach in 2017. And he has had the same offensive philosophy since he first became an NFL offensive coordinator in 2007. And that's why even his best offenses often get shut down.

Grant Cohn
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Jan 16, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) in action during the NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Is the 49ers' Contract Offer to Brandon Aiyuk an Insult?

Brandon Aiyuk is personally offended that the 49ers reportedly have offered him "only" $26 million per season. Is their offer an insult? You and I would love to make $26 million per year, but we're not NFL wide receivers.

Grant Cohn
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Sep 10, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) gestures at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Why Brandon Aiyuk Should've Requested a Trade From the 49ers Sooner

Requesting a trade from the 49ers is understandable from Brandon Aiyuk given the stalemate in contract negotiations, but he is way too late on his request at this point in the offseason.

Jose Luis Sanchez III
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May 10, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Jacob Cowing (83) runs drills during the 49ers rookie minicamp at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Kupbens-USA TODAY Sports
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Jacob Cowing Gifted a Prime Opportunity Entering 49ers Training Camp

Rookie receiver Jacob Cowing was going to struggle to flourish in training camp due to abundance of talent at the position, but he now has been gifted a prime opportunity to impress the coaches.

Jose Luis Sanchez III
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May 10, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (14) smiles during the 49ers rookie minicamp at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Kupbens-USA TODAY Sports
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Ricky Pearsall's Injury Forces him to Miss out on a Great Opportunity

Ricky Pearsall sustaining an injury now is extremely unfortunate since he will miss a great opportunity when the 49ers open up training camp. Here is why.

Jose Luis Sanchez III
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Jan 28, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) reacts after catching a ball that bounced off the face mask of Detroit Lions cornerback Kindle Vildor (not pictured) during the second half of the NFC Championship football game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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Does Brandon Aiyuk Gain Leverage on the 49ers From Ricky Pearsall's Injury?

Brandon Aiyuk may have picked the perfect time to demand a trade from the 49ers after it was revealed on the same day that rookie Ricky Pearsall was placed on the Non-football injury list.

Jose Luis Sanchez III
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Feb 5, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Do the 49ers Think Brandon Aiyuk is Immature?

The 49ers have made it their business to insult Brandon Aiyuk as much as possible this offseason. And it seems like the 49ers' issue with him is personal.

Grant Cohn
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Aug 25, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) runs with the ball against Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga (57) during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
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Why the 49ers Most Likely Will Up Their Offer to Brandon Aiyuk Soon

Even if the 49ers are correct and Brandon Aiyuk is nothing more than a "mere" high-level no. 2, those players get paid more than $26 million per season. And that's why I fully expect the 49ers to up their offer to Aiyuk in the next few weeks.

Grant Cohn
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Sep 2, 2020; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) during training camp at Levi   s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: San Francisco 49ers/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Network
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Will 49ers LT Trent Williams Participate in Training Camp?

Trent Williams used to actually practice during training camp. Williams really doesn't need to do much in training camp to get ready for the regular season, but his teammates would benefit greatly from his participation, and here's why.

Grant Cohn
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Dec 10, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) catches a touchdown in front of San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) in the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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Why Ambry Thomas is on the 49ers' Roster Bubble

All 32 of Sports Illustrated's NFL team publishers recently identified players who are on the roster bubble of the team they cover. For the 49ers, I picked cornerback Ambry Thomas. Here's why.

Grant Cohn
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May 10, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (14) polishes the 49ers logo on his helmet during the 49ers rookie minicamp at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Kupbens-USA TODAY Sports
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When the 49ers Will Reveal Why Ricky Pearsall is on the NFI List

All we know right now is that Ricky Pearsall is injured, he suffered the injury away from the 49ers facility and the team hasn't said what the injury is. And that's because the 49ers don't have to say what the injury is just yet.

Grant Cohn
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Jul 27, 2023; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) walks on the field during training camp at the SAP Performance Facility. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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Will Brandon Aiyuk Hold Out of 49ers Training Camp?

The 49ers think they hold all the leverage in their contract negotiations with Brandon Aiyuk, but what if he were to hold out from training camp? He just requested a trade a few days ago and the 49ers didn't grant him one or extend his contract.

Grant Cohn
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January 20, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (57) celebrates after defeating the Green Bay Packers in a 2024 NFC divisional round game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Which Linebacker Will Replace Dre Greenlaw in the 49ers Defense?

Some people believe the 49ers would have won the Super Bowl a few months if Dre Greenlaw simply hadn't torn his Achilles' tendon running onto the field. So who will fill in for Greenlaw this season until he returns?

Grant Cohn
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Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan walks off the field after losing Super Bowl LVIII to the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The Worst-Case Scenario for the 49ers in 2024

All 32 of Sports Illustrated's NFL team publishers recently laid out the worst-case scenarios for the team they cover this season. Here's the worst-case scenario for the 49ers according to yours truly.

Grant Cohn
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Jan 28, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) celebrates after winning the NFC Championship football game against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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The Best-Case Scenario for the 49ers in 2024

All 32 of Sports Illustrated's NFL team publishers recently laid out the best-case scenarios for the team they cover this season. Here's the best-case scenario for the 49ers according to yours truly.

Grant Cohn
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