SAN FRANCISCO (CBS Sports) – If you don’t count the first two quarters of Super Bowl XLVII or David Akers’ entire season, the 49ers were almost perfect in 2012. The defense finished the season ranked third in the NFL and the offense wasn’t too shabby either, ranking 11th overall — but lets talk more about the defense. The 49ers defense had four All-Pro players, including linebackers NaVorro Bowman — who finished second in the league in tackles — and Aldon Smith, who’s 19.5 sacks in 2012 trailed only J.J. Watts’ 20.5.

Offensively, coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to start Colin Kaepernick is the gift that keeps on giving for San Francisco. First, it paid off when Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Then it paid off again when the 49ers were able to send backup Alex Smith to the Chiefs for a 2013 second round draft pick and a conditional 2014 pick. The trade will free up $9.75 million in cap space for 49ers. Except for taking receiver A.J. Jenkins in the first round of the 2012 draft, Harbaugh’s decision-making has been almost flawless.

In an ideal world where money doesn’t matter and salary caps don’t exist, the 49ers would probably try and sign a big named free agent wide receiver like Greg Jennings, Danny Amendola or Mike Wallace. However, with limited cap space, that’s most likely not an option. Going after Darelle Revis by trading a three or four draft picks to the Jets seems to make sense, but that might be too high of a price for Harbaugh, especially if the Niners are only renting Revis for one season.

So what’s a realistic outcome for the 49ers in free agency? Read the rest of the story on CBS Sports.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS Interactive and CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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