To say the San Francisco 49ers were a play or two away from the Super Bowl is an understatement because this team played determined football against all east coast odds, and were just a Kyle Williams' freak play away from beating them.
Next on the agenda is getting back to the NFC Championship and ultimately booking a flight to the Super Bowl one year ago from this coming weekend. They will do that by signing an extensive free agent class of players that reached stardom this season and will expect paychecks in return.
Here are the 49ers' free agent players in order of the priority in which they should be signed.
1. Carlos Rogers
Rogers was on the list of possible free agents the 49ers could pick up last offseason. They took the gamble on him and he repaid them with six interceptions on the season in a tie for fourth in the NFL.
With so many free agent players in the 49ers' secondary, it would be wise to lock up Rogers sooner than later. Odds are he will be offered a good three to four-year deal by San Francisco. The price will vary, although we can probably expect around $4 million or $5 million per year, but you can imagine the amount of teams willing to pay a player making that much difference on the field this season.
2. Dashon Goldson
The hard-hitting and aggressive safety was all but gone this time last season. A year later, he would see to be all but gone again from the 49ers, except for the fact that San Francisco would seem to the place to play these days.
Does Goldson want a team around him, or does he want money?
The money will come his way this offseason, and we will be able to tell a lot about his priorities by the move he makes once the 49ers make their offer.
3. Alex Smith
Why is the quarterback of a team that made it to the NFC Championship third on the free agent priorities list?
Simple. He knows, and the 49ers know, Smith is nothing without head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Harbaugh took a chance on him last offseason, and then he managed Smith and set him up for success, which is what they got.
Smith is not going anywhere, and two to three-year deal seems appropriate for the situation.
4. Ted Ginn, Jr.
If you did not know how much Ginn meant to the 49ers, check out Kyle Williams receiving kicks the entire NFC Championship. A panic attack at its finest.
Also, this team needs wide receivers and there are only so many free agent wide-outs and so much money to spend this offseason. With Ginn, the 49ers get a premiere kick-returner and a decent wide receiver that knows the offense and how it functions.
San Francisco would be wise to sign him sooner than later and make it easier on the franchise to go out and sign another free agent wide receiver to strengthen this team. If they do not sign Ginn, then the 49ers will be forced to make a panic move via free agency worth millions of dollars more than probably expected.
5. Josh Morgan
Again, this team needs wide receivers. It's no secret.
Losing Morgan last season was sure-fire dagger in the hearts of 49ers fans come playoff time, and Alex Smith, as well.
The good thing about that is he will not cost as much as if he was the No. 1 wide receiver for the 49ers in the playoffs, which he would have been. The team might have been in the Super Bowl and then the team would have really had to pay the man.
It should not take much to sign him, but the Brandon Lloyd factor always seems to haunt this 49ers franchise and is always in the back of their minds.
6. Blake Costanzo
For how under-the-radar Costanzo is, the initial thought would be that he would be no problem to re-sign. But Costanzo is one of the best special teams players in the NFL and the nation really saw that against the New Orleans Saints.
One can make an argument that Costanzo should be higher on this list, but Harbaugh will do anything he can to get this player back on his team next season.
7. Ahmad Brooks
Brooks is simply another threat to rush the quarterback, and a good one at that. Both the Saints and Giants know how hard it was to stop Brooks, Patrick Willis, Parys Haralson, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Ray McDonald on any given play.
The need for an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense to rush the passer as hard and fast as Brooks does makes it all that much harder for the 49ers to not re-sign him.
The good thing is that Brooks fell so under the radar last season that the team should have no problem signing him to a contract without fighting other teams. This defense fits into his football mindset, as well.