The LA Rams are not the only team that faces a depletion of coaching talent, and with it, a loss of key players. The San Francisco 49ers may be in for some choppy waters this off-season. After getting to, and losing, the NFC Championship Game for two consecutive seasons, the 49ers are suffering the same challenges that have plagued the LA Rams for many years.
In short, the team has been too successful.
Why is that a problem? Well, it’s like a neon light to moths, attracting the attention of every NFL team that has struggled to find success. And that means that those teams seek key coaches from the successful teams to lure to their own teams and put them in charge of their own teams.
That is bad enough, but those coaches often hire their coordinators from the positional coaches of their former team. And the coaches who are the most successful typically have the best relationships with their players. That’s not a problem until contracts expire. When that happens, players often follow their hearts to compete for their former coaches on that new team.
And so it begins. The Houston Texans currently have over $37 million to spend, and you can bet with the newly hired head coach DeMeco Ryans, some of those dollars will be spent on some of his former players.
The LA Rams have been singled out on an almost annual basis as a team that has forsaken future draft picks for current players. But that is exactly what the 49ers did in 2022, as they not only traded a king’s ransom to draft quarterback Trey Lance but doubled down in 2022 to acquire RB Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers.
Now, like the LA Rams losing key coaches to take over the Cincinnati Bengals, LA Chargers, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings, the 49ers now have lost key members of their own coaching staff to become head coaches to both the New York Jets and the Houston Texans.
Worse yet, those teams will be more than happy to spend free agency dollars to sign familiar players.
No, this is not an epitaph for the 49ers. It’s merely pointing out the obvious. The LA Rams are not the only team in the NFC West that has found success. But with that success comes an entirely new set of problems, one that I’m not convinced that the 49ers organization is truly prepared to address.