So what’s next for the San Francisco 49ers in 2024 after losing Super Bowl LVIII?

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

There was a time that this franchise was the first to capture five Lombardi Trophies. Under the command of quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young, head coaches Bill Walsh and George Seifert and stars such as Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley (and countless more), the San Francisco 49ers were a dynasty for nearly two decades (1981-98).

The recent edition of the Niners hasn’t been too shabby. Under the combination of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan (both hired in 2017), the team has played in four of the last five NFC title games and reached the Super Bowl twice. On both occasions, San Francisco owned 10-point leads over the Kansas City Chiefs, and wound up on the short end of Super Bowls LIV and LVIII.

This remains a talented team, but there are some potential unrestricted free agents that need to be addressed and the organization may have to make some room under the cap (via Spotrac) over the next month.

What’s Next for the San Francisco 49ers?

Staying the course when it comes to Lynch and Shanahan, despite the failure to win a Super Bowl. This has been a playoff team four of these past five seasons and a division champion three times. Lynch has not been shy in recent years adding talent via the trade route (Trent Williams, Christian McCaffrey, Chase Young, etc.), and has excelled via the draft.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that on only three occasions has a team lost a Super Bowl and rebounded to win it all the following season. The last franchise to manage that feat was the Patriots, who lost Super Bowl LII to Philadelphia but beat the Rams one year later (LIII).

Biggest Offseason Concern?

Fixing the defense. The Niners finished the regular season ranked eighth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed and fourth vs. the pass. Only the Bears and Lions have up fewer yards per game on the ground. Meanwhile, only the Ravens (280) and Chiefs (294) allowed fewer points than Shanahan’s club (298).

However, Steve Wilks’s unit’s play vs. the run slumped down the stretch and proved to be a big issue in the postseason. Green Bay, Detroit and Kansas City each ran for 130-plus yards. The Packers (330), Lions (442) and Chiefs (455) rolled up big yards overall, and each scored at least 21 points. On Wednesday afternoon, Wilks was relieved of his defensive coordinator duties (via ESPN's Adam Schefter).

Finally, there are the health issues regarding safety Talanoa Hufanga (knee injury in November) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw, the latter suffering an Achilles injury during Super Bowl LVIII.