There was an interesting article about the 49ers yesterday by former sports agent Joel Corry. It's the sort of state-of-the-franchise piece every 49ers fan should read once and one that really big fans ought to read a few times.
The thrust of the story is that, via sound salary-cap management and excellent scouting the 49ers have set themselves up to be the dominant team of the next decade the way the Patriots were the preceding one.
Ah, but that doesn't mean it will be easy.
Corry notes what many of us have been pointing out over the last six months - that following the 2014 season a slough of talented, young 49ers will see their contracts expire. That list includes Michael Crabtree, Mike Iupati, Aldon Smith and, of course, Colin Kaepernick, who - it's not a stretch to predict this - could be due for one of the biggest contracts in NFL history. The 49ers can begin working on extensions for Kaepernick and Smith after this season.
What I found interesting is that Corry also points to two veteran stalwarts and wonders whether this will be their final year on the team. Of defensive end Justin Smith, whose contract expires in March, Corry writes, "(Smith) might be an example of it's better to lose a player a year too early than a year too late since he will turn 35 during the 2014 season."