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Already aggressive 49ers still have work to do as free agency opens

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Garcon gives Shanahan a familiar face to work with (0:59)

Ed Werder explains why Pierre Garcon signing with the 49ers makes a lot of sense. (0:59)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- At last week's NFL scouting combine, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch cautioned the team's faithful fans to "stay awake" as the free-agent period opened.

It was Lynch's way of saying the Niners would be active in altering and adding to their roster this offseason. But for those who set their alarm for 4 p.m. ET Thursday -- when the new league year begins and deals can actually be finalized -- well, you've already missed plenty of activity.

Armed with more than $100 million in salary-cap space and needs up and down the roster, the 49ers have already been more aggressive than the rest of the NFL in their attempt to begin rebuilding under Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.

Here's a rundown of what the Niners have done so far with the important caveat that things can change until contracts are officially signed.

Expected deals:

WR Pierre Garcon -- The most lucrative of the expected contracts, Garcon was a priority not just because of his production and receiving skills but because of his knowledge of Shanahan's offense and his infectious football character. Garcon will instantly be the team's best receiver and lead the young pass-catchers.

WR Marquise Goodwin -- The Niners are investing in Goodwin because they see a speedy complement to Garcon who has yet to reach his potential in part because of a slew of injuries. If Shanahan can bring out that untapped potential, they hope Goodwin can be a version of what he had in Taylor Gabriel in Atlanta last season. If nothing else, Goodwin gives the Niners another body at a position that was in desperate need of help heading into this free-agent period.

QB Brian Hoyer -- Shanahan landed perhaps the ideal bridge quarterback in Hoyer, who has effusively praised Shanahan in the past and worked with him in Cleveland in 2014. Hoyer isn't the long-term answer here but can buy the Niners time until next offseason, when it appears there could be better options for a franchise quarterback in both free agency and the draft.

FB Kyle Juszczyk -- The 49ers are doling out record money for a fullback to land this 2016 Pro Bowler, but they're doing it with the idea that Juszczyk will be more than just a lead blocker. Don't be surprised if Shanahan has big plans for his new, versatile fullback.

LB Malcolm Smith -- The NFL Network reported that a deal with Smith is also in the offing. Smith can play multiple linebacker spots but figures to compete on the weak side with Ray-Ray Armstrong for a starting job and add some depth at a position of need.

What's left to do at those positions:

Wide receiver: The Niners now have a more formidable-looking group with some variance in skill set. Garcon is a do-it-all type who excels at going over the middle and working the intermediate areas. Goodwin has the speed to stretch the field and recently re-signed Jeremy Kerley can make plays out of the slot. Still, the Niners could use another big weapon on the outside. They still have the cap space to chase a free agent but they could also choose to look to the draft for that help. One more strong addition and a position that was maybe the weakest on the roster in 2016 could turn into a strength with improved quarterback play.

Quarterback: Adding Hoyer doesn't solve all of the Niners' quarterback woes. Upon signing, he'll be the only signal-caller on the roster, which means they need to add at least two more before the offseason is over. Kirk Cousins remains the ultimate target. Though that's more likely to become an option in 2018, the Niners could still make a run at him this year if Washington decided to drop its asking price. Outside of that, the Niners will look to the draft (though probably not at the No. 2 overall pick) to add a young quarterback they can develop and bring in another veteran with some experience.

Fullback: It's unlikely the Niners will need to add more assuming the deal with Juszczyk gets done. The Niners didn't carry any fullbacks last season and it would be somewhat unusual to carry more than one.

Linebacker: It's not as pressing of a need as it would have been had the Niners stuck with a 3-4 base scheme, but they could still use some depth. A strong side linebacker with the ability to cover tight ends would also make sense.

Other possibilities:

Defensive line: Although the Niners already signed defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, the switch to a 4-3 defense means more bodies are needed. The Niners have the cap space to add someone significant if they want to. Baltimore nose tackle Brandon Williams is the top player on the market and will be expensive, but it'd be wise not to rule the 49ers out of that chase yet. Defensive tackles Terrell McClain (Dallas) and Dontari Poe (Kansas City) are also possibilities that probably won't cost as much as Williams. As for pass-rushers, the market doesn't offer a ton of big-time options, but names such as Jabaal Sheard and Nick Perry are still in play.

Cornerback: The Niners intend to give cornerback Jimmie Ward a look at free safety, creating the need for help at outside cornerback. They've been linked to Houston's A.J. Bouye, who would be an ideal fit in the scheme but has many suitors who might be willing to pay more than the Niners. It's also worth noting that this year's draft boasts a deep cornerback class.

Tight end: It's not the most pressing need but the Niners have expressed at least some interest in Atlanta's Jacob Tamme. Tamme is another former Shanahan player who could help install the offense and provide depth.