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Defensive back Dashon Goldson found his way back to the San Francisco 49ers, and now he wants us to believe silly things. Silly, silly things, like choosing the 49ers over the New England Patriots because that's what "his heart told him". Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle has more.
"This is home for me," Goldson said after his first practice Wednesday. "This is where I want to be. Unfortunately, it didn't work out long-term. But in the bottom of my heart I wanted to be here and that's exactly what I did."
Goldson's heart must have one heck of a safe deposit.
Goldson has been on a topsy-turvy ride when it comes to free agency and his relationship with the 49ers. First he wanted to stay with the Niners. Then they signed some other guys, which apparently made Goldson sad. So he decided to say goodbye and look elsewhere. He found things he liked, but decided to come back after all. Quaint.
I hope most relationships aren't like this. I'd seriously consider monastery work if that's what it took to avoid that sort of drama.
The San Francisco 49ers are looking for any and all options to solidify their depth chart at the tight end position and the team has signed rookie Chris Blohm. The tight end played for seasons at Yale, catching 26 passes for 225 yards.
The story was reported by Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee:
The team in close to signing former Yale tight end Chris Blohm. The former Eli must first must pass his physical. The 49ers are looking for a blocking-oriented tight end after losing Nate Byham for the season with a torn ACL. Blohm (6-4, 240) worked out for the 49ers prior to the draft and caught the attention of scouts by bench pressing 225 pounds 30 times.
Blohm will compete with Konrad Reuland and Colin Cloherty for the third tight end spot since a season-ending injury brought down incumbent Nate Byham. The tight end will likely report to camp in a day or two assuming he passes his physical.
Here is some video of the newest 49er:
In a bit of a sudden about face, the 49ers and Dashon Goldson have reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract. Goldson had reportedly been a top priority for the team but given the team’s additions of Madieu Williams and Donte Whitner, many were expecting Goldson to walk.
There may be an explanation for the move, although it’s primarily speculation at this point. The reported signing comes not too long after Reggie Smith put together a fairly ominous sounding tweet. It remains to be seen what that tweet means as this morning he tweeted Up and ready, time to get busy!!!
Coach Harbaugh has been fairly tight lipped about injuries thus far and the team won’t be providing much in the way of injury reports until the season starts and further disclosure is required prior to games. However, if Smith is limited at this point, Goldson would likely line back up at free safety opposite Donte Whitner, with Madieu Williams as the primary backup. We’ll likely find out more over the next few days leading up to the preseason opener against the Saints on Friday.
The San Francisco 49ers were looking for some hands help for this upcoming season, but didn't want to have to worry about distractions from a prima donna wide receivers. Enter Braylon Edwards, a wideout with a history of distracting and unnecessary behavior, joining the new non-sense regime of Jim Harbaugh with one little asterisk. Edwards contract comes with no guaranteed money, meaning if he doesn't produce or starts causing headaches the Niners can drop him like a bad habit and not have spent a dime.
According to CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, Edwards has $1 million base salary along with no guaranteed money in his reported $3.5 million salary for 2011. Braylon will earn all of his money only if he reaches all his incentives; nothing short of catching 90 balls and making the Pro Bowl.
If the Niners have Edwards on the week one roster, than his $1 million base will become guaranteed. But if he doesn't pan out for whatever reason during the preseason or training camp he can be gone faster than he arrived, with not a cent of the 49ers money to his name and his thumb outstretched to hopefully be picked up by another team in the NFL.
The fact that Edwards signed a contract like this says a lot about his perceived value around the league. He's only 28, a far cry from being a washed up veteran, and had to sign a incentive-laced contract for a relatively low price along with no guaranteed money. That says to me that not many team's were calling, and the ones that were (like the Niners) were completely unwilling to put up with any of his B.S.
The spectre of T.O lingers on at 4949 Centennial...
For more on the 49ers head on over to Niners Nation.
If you believe Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have safety Taylor Mays on the trade block simply because they've received a lot of inquires about him over the last eight or so days. Whether you believe that or not, he's on the block and may not be a 49er for much longer. Maybe new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio doesn't see whatever it was that Mike Singletary and Greg Manusky saw in him. Maybe that pick (second round last year) was more Singletary's than general manager Trent Baalke's. Singletary did, after all, try and force him out onto the field before he was ready.
While it was too soon to put Mays out there, it wasn't all bad. He didn't play like he belonged buried on the depth chart, but there were clear mental lapses that everybody knew he'd have. Most figured he was at least a year or two away from being able to handle the duties of an NFL strong safety, and it showed.
The thing is, he did do some stuff well that most people didn't expect. He covered better than most figured he would, but lapsed in other areas like his tackling ability. He was far away from being the guy you want back there on every play, he's not the guy you want to depend on ... that's why it's called a "safety." Mays showed some, but not nearly enough to earn a starting job going into 2011.
But did he do poorly enough to earn a spot on the third-team defense and a spot on the trading block? No, he probably didn't. You have to look at all of the facts, like the fact that Mays fell from potentially the top of the first round to the 49th pick overall because he was raw. He's been in the NFL one year and spent it with a different head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach than the ones currently with the organization.
So for somebody who doesn't quite "get" the NFL game yet, that all starts over.
The 49ers may not be ready to take on another young guy who doesn't quite "get" it. They're hoping for Ray McDonald to grow into a starter, Ian Williams or Ricky Jean Francois to grow behind Isaac Sopoaga, NaVorro Bowman to grow into a middle linebacker alongside Patrick Willis, who will be working with new defensive coaches for the first time in his young career.
Mays has a long way to go, and the 49ers have such an imbalanced secondary, they need to get some players in who can pick up a playbook and go. They just don't have time for him, but he does possess a whole ton of potential, and to the right team, could be worth some draft picks or even a more complete player. So, if the 49ers get something good for him, trading him is most definitely the right move.
The Braylon Edwards free agency bonanza is over. Edwards signed with the San Francisco 49ers to a one year, $3.5 million deal according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Edwards should provide a nice safety bubble with the injury to Michael Crabtree, and should also complement Josh Morgan in the thin 49ers receiving corps and give them an offensive boost they've needed for years.
This caps off a crazy day which saw Taylor Mays being offered as trade bait, Donte Whitner getting picked up and Dashon Goldson likely on his way out. But Edwards is probably the biggest pickup in an offense that needs weapons. Alex Smith now has a weapon he desperately needs on offense, and the 49ers can hopefully stretch the field with more than just two capable receivers. Edwards averaged 17.1 yards per catch last year, and along with Crabtree should form a dynamic duo on the outside to complement Vernon Davis on the inside
For more on the Edwards signing, head to Niners Nation.
Looks like the Jim Harbaugh era could be as much of a circus as the Mike Singletary era was in San Francisco. The 49ers have agreed to terms with safety Donte Whitner according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. This is funny because Whitner had tweeted only hours ago that he was going to the Cincinnati Bengals. The lesson as always is that sports contract stories aren't done until someone signs something.
Whitner notched a three year, $11.75 million deal with $4 million guaranteed, a bit more than he earned in his stint with the Buffalo Bills. Whitner is a solid tackler but far from a great cover defender, so San Francisco gets a cheap safety and someone who provides decent backline support entering the prime of his career.
Sorry guys thanx for all ur support but not gonna be back. See ya
For more on the wild wild world of 49ers free agency, head to Niners Nation.
Actually, 'look' isn't strong enough of a word. They are posting ads on EBay as we speak.
AD: FREE SAFETY. Really, he's free.
We don't really want anything in return. Draft picks, cash, dinner at the Tadich Grill, whatever you want. We're willing to do things for you to take him off our hands Just take him while you can.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the 49ers sent out a mass email to teams everywhere in the NFL that they were willing to part with their second year safety. Even if Mays isn't as good as advertised, it's hard to imagine a more callous way to say goodbye to an employee, even by the painfully cold standards of league team front offices. Twitter? Text? Handwritten note in locker? Who's going to want a guy that a team just tossed out by email?
For more on 49ers trade rumors, go to Niners Nation.
Yesterday, we took a look at how the Carlos Rogers signing is a step in the right direction for the 49ers. He will be the team's number one corner and he should, by most accounts, do well in the role. At least one other believes that Rogers-to-San Francisco is a good thing, going as far as to say that he's better than Nate Clements, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals for two years. Clements was released by the 49ers after his $15 million cap hit this season was identified as being far too much for the returns.
Well, by proxy of Matt Maiocco, Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL Films, believes that the 49ers got a good tradeoff when it comes to Rogers-Clements. He said that Rogers had a lot of ability, but no confidence, and that's something we agree upon. Rogers is not a sure-handed guy, and you can't expect someone without confidence to be. But sure-handedness is not where it starts and ends, because like Clements, Rogers can disappear from games.
If he gets beat, he'll probably get beat again. That's just how he functions. Which, as an aside, is another reason the 49ers need to bring back Dashon Goldson, but that's a post for another time. Here's some quotes:
Cosell added, "His skill set is not exactly Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but he could be a top-10 corner in this league. You wouldn't nickname him, 'Toast,' but he's not as good or consistent as he could be. Now when it comes down to different coaching staffs, I'm sure a lot of them would watch him and say, 'He's pretty good.'"
Be sure to read what else Maiocco has to say about Cosell's words, but the gist of it is that the 49ers got themselves a pretty decent player. Rogers will have a lot of expectations, especially from a fanbase who was teased with the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha, if only for a day. That in of itself is reason enough to put pressure on Rogers. Clements wilted under that pressure, where is Rogers? We'll have to wait and see. With any luck, the new CBA will have all its wrinkles worked out and free agents will be able to report to camp to the teams they sign with.
Oh the San Francisco 49ers needed a center. They so desperately needed a center, no matter how well Adam Snyder was doing filling in undressing the nose tackle leftovers that Aubrayo Franklin left behind. So when Jonathan Goodwin turned up in San Francisco, it was imperative that they try and land him. They apparently succeeded in their mission.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that a league source said Goodwin decided to leave the New Orleans Saints in favor of new pastures in San Francisco. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports some of the details of the contract: 3 years, $10.9 million, $4 million guaranteed. Goodwin should provide a veteran presence to a developing offensive line, and should hopefully give Alex Smith a solid snapper to rely on during games.
Snyder has been playing center thus far in camp with no previous center experience. If Goodwin is taking over center, Adam Snyder will compete with Chilo Rachal at right guard.
For more on 49ers free agency, Niners Nation is where you should be.
With the injury to Michael Crabtree, the San Francisco 49ers are sorely lacking in wide receiver depth going into the preseason, and they could use at least one strong receiver to help them out. Malcolm Floyd has recently become a target of Niner overtures along with a host of other teams, and he is being courted by multiple NFL teams.
Another marquee receiver might be on San Francisco's radar. Adam Schefter of ESPN tweets that the 49ers are hosting Edwards tonight, and he suggests that a one year deal might be optimal for San Francisco as they wait for their younger receivers to develop. Edwards provides a veteran presence and another target for Alex Smith along with Josh Morgan and the hopefully-rejuvenated Crabtree.
David Fucillo discussed the possibility of Edwards vs. Floyd in terms of relative worth on Niners Nation, and came to the conclusion that Edwards has better upside (although Floyd isn't trailing too far behind). After all, this is pretty much just Crabtree inurance, right?
For more on 49ers free agency, Niners Nation is your destination.
The San Francisco 49ers are continuing to play the waiting game when it comes to adding free agents to their roster, but according to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora the Niners are showing interest if wide receiver Malcolm Floyd, along with a number of other teams as well.
San Francisco will vie for his services along with his previous team the San Diego Chargers; while the Cardinals, Panthers, and Ravens are all in the mix as well according to La Canfora. Here's what he had to say about Floyd's current situation:
Floyd is one of the hotter commodities left on the open market, but he has taken his time with his decision. The Chargers would like to retain the nine-year NFL pro but other teams are interested as well.Several of the clubs involved are trying to rework contracts and massage their salary cap and budgets, sources said. The league year is set to open Thursday, and teams need to be in cap compliance by then.
I'm sure the 49ers would be glad to have him on their squad as he brings the winning mentality from San Diego along with him, not to mention all the time spent with one of the NFL's best signal callers in Phillip Rivers. He would join the battery alongside Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan and immediately would be the 49ers biggest receiver at 6'5" tall. Floyd has 134 career receptions with the Bolts for a total of 2,314 yards and 15 touchdowns.
For more on the San Francisco 49ers, check out Niners Nation to get in on the action.
Well, the 49ers finally signed the best corner on the market ... unfortunately, they did it after the previous four or five best corners on the market were signed to other teams. Bringing in Carlos Rogers is a solid move any day of the week, but one has to wonder just how big of players the 49ers actually were for guys like Nnamdi Asomugha and Antonio Cromartie. They were in the Asomugha sweepstakes for some time, before dropping out near the end, by all accounts. Did they offer a good number for Asomugha, but he signed with a contender, or were they simply not big players from the get go?
It's not that Rogers is a consolation prize, it's just ... well, it's kind of that he's a consolation prize. It's not a nice way to put things, but it's the truth. Should they have broken the bank for Asomugha? No, the new regime probably shouldn't have paid a 30-year-old corner what it would have taken to keep him in the Bay Area, but it would have been nice for the team be in the running for guys like Cromartie, Jonathan Joseph and Chris Carr.
One way or another, the 49ers look to have Rogers on a one-year deal for around four million. That's been the standard contract for this offseason (with varying dollar amounts) as players try and get signed, get into camp, and get playing sooner rather than later. He'll come in and be the team's number one corner and be matched up against guys like Sidney Rice and Larry Fitzgerald twice a year. Is he up to the challenge?
He had better be, because the 49ers' secondary is looking to be its weakest unit in 2011 by a rather large margin. Rogers is a step in the right direction, but the team would do well to bring in another corner or a top safety, which Madieu Williams is not. Re-signing Dashon Goldson would be a good move at this point.
Goldson had a Twitter outburst recently, in which he claimed to not "be scared" of the 49ers signing of Williams, and had alluded to the fact that he doesn't know where he'll end up, listing the 49ers and Cowboys as potential destinations. Well, the Cowboys just re-signed Gerald Sensabaugh, so they don't appear to be in the running. Last we heard, the Oakland Raiders were interested, but that was at the beginning of free agency.
That's all there is too it ... Goldson is close to being an essential signing at this point in regards to the 49ers' secondary in 2011.
The San Francisco 49ers announced late Tuesday that they had come to terms with former Washington Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers. Rogers signed a one year contract after it had been reported earlier that Rogers had met with team officials. With the release of Nate Clemens, this means Rogers has a solid shot at the starting quarterback spot.
Carolos Rogers had 299 tackles and 8 interceptions in six seasons with the Washington Redskins. The former Auburn Tiger was chosen with the 9th pick in the 1st round of the 2005 draft. His senior season at Auburn saw the team go undefeated, only to be kept out of the National Title game between USC and Oklahoma.
Rogers did miss four games last year with a hamstring injury, but in 12 games he managed 2 interceptions and broke up 12 passes.
Shawntae Spencer started all sixteen games for the 49ers last year, and returns to the team as Rogers' likely partner at the cornerback position.
You can get more information on all things Red and Gold at www.ninersnation.com/
The San Francisco 49ers don't really have a center right now. Adam Snyder has been recently taking on duties in the middle, and the tackle has proven that he can be versatile with a solid performance early through training camp. That being said, he hasn't been (and will never be) going up against Aubrayo Franklin in camp, so these results are at best inconclusive. It's why the Niners were originally so interested in Olin Kruetz, although it was clear that interest was never reciprocated.
So that's why the news of free agent veteran center Jonathan Goodwin (most recently with the New Orleans Saints) visiting 49ers camp should be of some interest. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area tweeted the news earlier this afternoon. Goodwin is a nine year veteran at center, and Saints quarterback Drew Brees fully expects his center to return to the Big Easy next season. No matter how well Snyder has been performing this week, it's unlikely the Niners will pass up their shot at a veteran center if he wants to be there.
There was some news on Monday stating that free agent nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin had re-signed with the 49ers. It now appears that someone jumped the gun, because ESPN's Adam Schefter just tweeted that Franklin has reached a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. The tweet suggests that the 49ers were close to re-signing him:
Filed to ESPN: New Orleans pulled off free-agent upset, reaching agreement with former 49ers DT Aubrayo Franklin on a one-year deal.
Perhaps the 49ers did get serious about bringing Franklin back, and somebody within believed the deal to be close. It makes sense, Franklin hadn't received much attention on the free agent market up until this point, so the 49ers made an offer and the Saints swooped in and offered him more money.
Financial terms aren't yet available, but one has to figure that the 49ers kept the dollar amount low because of the deal given to Ray McDonald at the start of free agency. Because they acted quickly on that front, they had to get Franklin at a good price, which was the reason they brought him in on Sunday.
Isaac Sopoaga will be the starting nose tackle in 2011, or at least that's where he's slotted in right now. Ricky Jean Francois and undrafted rookie free agent signing Ian Williams will likely compete for the backup role.
There aren't many great linebackers available in the 2011 NFL free agent class, so it figures that some of their signings come last. Free agent linebacker Manny Lawson is one of those leaving first. Lawson is departing the Bay Area, and is heading toward the Cincinnati Bengals on a one year deal worth $3 million, reports Pro Football Talk.
Lawson can play outside linebacker, which should make him useful for Cincinnati--with young players like Dan Skuta, Dontay Moch and Vincent Rey being considered at the Sam linebacker, Lawson should likely be inserted right in as the de facto starter next season. The one year deal seems to indicate this is only a test run.
The drafting of Aldon Smith also signalled the end of Lawson's long-term future with the Niners. Smith should come in and take Lawson's place, although it might take him time to replicate his pass-rush and run stopping abilities.
Dashon Goldson wants you to know that he is not intimidated by these moves the San Francisco 49ers are making, which sounds about right. Being intimidated would probably involve ten headed dragons and scorpions crawling in your sleeping bags. But Goldson just wants to let you know he isn't afraid of competition, and that he might very well be sticking around even if the 49ers seem to be moving in another direction.
The Madieu Williams signing has displaced Goldson from his starting spot in the secondary, but Goldson tweeted that "I'm not sure wht tht move by the 9ers was for, I guess to scare me...well it didn't work. Try again". I agree with Goldson. This was not an appropriate way to scare Goldson. Jim Harbaugh would have been better off breaking into Goldson's bedroom late at night and showing off his chainsaw and hockey mask.
For more on Niners free agency, go to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a deal with free agent safety Madieu Williams, according to various reports and sources. The safety will report to camp in the coming days once the deal is finalized.
Williams has always possessed the talent to be one of the better safeties in the league, but injuries and the inability to perform consistently stunted his development while playing in Minnesota. He was officially granted his release, according to Gil Alcaraz IV:
After two years of utter disappointment, the Vikings have finally bid farewell to free safety Madieu Williams(notes), making his release official on Thursday, July 28. Although the fact that he was due over $5 million at the end of the season was a big part of the Vikings decision to sever ties, his on-field performance was what led to him being stripped of his horns.
One team's loss is another team's gain and Williams will now head to San Francisco with hopes to resurrect his career. News came from Matt Miaocco's tweet:
The 49ers agree to terms free-agent safety Madieu Williams, source says.
Miaocco also speculated on something else once the news broke:
The one-year agreement with Madieu Williams would seem to cast serious doubts on whether Dashon Goldson is coming back to 49ers.
If able to both stay healthy and get his head straight, Williams could be a very valuable addition to the 49ers secondary. Here's hoping the safety can turn his one-year deal into a multi-year deal and solidifies himself as a staple in San Francisco for many seasons.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee:
A cornerback market that once was rich in quality cover men only has a few names left. One of them, Redskins free agent Carlos Rogers, is drawing interest from the 49ers, according to a league source. Washington drafted Rogers (6-0, 190) ninth overall out of Auburn in 2005. He took over as a regular starter the following season.
The 49ers finished 24th in pass defense last season and then lost their top cornerback, Nate Clements, when he signed with the Bengals. According to national reports, they were in the running for three high-profile cornerbacks on the free-agent market this year, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Joseph and Antonio Cromartie. Those players, however, ended up signing with the Eagles, Texans and Jets respectively.
Barrows also goes on to list a few other options the 49ers could look at in the coming weeks.
As far as Carlos Rogers goes, he is a talented, reliable cornerback who has experienced success since joining Washington six years ago. The market has shrunk considerably for starting corners with the multiple signings this past week and Rogers will likely be in high demand. San Francisco will likely need to make haste should they decide to seriously peruse Rogers.
It appears that nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin isn't out of the 49ers plans just yet. According to a tweet from Adam Schefter, Franklin was arriving back in the Bay Area last night to meet with the team. Franklin had a great 2009 and an above-average 2010 campaign, which he played on a franchise tag. Because his 2010 was a somewhat down year, the 49ers neglected to tag him a second time and he was expected to be one of the big ticket free agents.
That hasn't been the case, as it appears the 49ers will be his first visit. Their patient approach might net them Franklin at a discount price, but their impatient approach in regards to defensive end Ray McDonald, recently signed to a five-year, $20 million deal at the start of free agency, may hurt the chances of Franklin returning. The plan, at that point, was to slide Isaac Sopoaga over to nose tackle, while McDonald became the starter at left defensive end.
Bringing Franklin back, he'd surely be the starter at nose, and the 49ers would then have Sopoaga and McDonald both earning $4 million a year and one of them wouldn't be starting. Still, Franklin is a capable nose tackle and that would solidify the defensive line, something the team really needs to do with their weakened secondary.
One also has to consider the cap room the 49ers freed up by releasing cornerback Nate Clements. Most figured that the 49ers planned to spend big money on a big player with the cash cleared, but it seems like the big cornerbacks are all slipping away. The 49ers could then spend some of that money in other areas, like bringing back Dashon Goldson and, potentially, re-signing Aubrayo Franklin.
The San Francisco 49ers signed two more linebackers today to one year deals. They seem like they're really good at doing linebacker things, like tackling and coverage and making little babies cry for the sheer thrill of it all.
"Applewhite (6-3, 258) originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers in 2008. He has played in 31 games (13 starts), recording 68 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes defensed. In 2010, Applewhite played in 16 games (13 starts) and set career highs in tackles (48), sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (two).
Applewhite, a 25-year old native of Los Angeles, CA, starred collegiately at San Diego State where he earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference as a junior.
Grant (6-1, 251) originally entered the league as a seventh round draft choice by the 49ers in the 2008 NFL Draft. He was signed to the 49ers practice squad following training camp. Grant was signed to the St. Louis Rams active roster on November 26, 2008, and was released by St. Louis on July 30, 2011. He has played in 34 games (eight starts) and has registered 48 tackles, 3.0 sacks and three forced fumbles in his three-year career.
Grant, a 26-year old native of Santa Rosa, CA, began his collegiate career at City College of San Francisco before transferring to Ohio State."
PS: Applewhite was under suspicion for a DUI once. Wonder if they'll ever put that on the press release!
The San Francisco 49ers made it official today as they announced the release of cornerback Nate Clements. That news was immediately followed by word that Clements had signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 49ers told Clements he was going to be released earlier in the week, but he was still included on the roster as recently as this morning. My guess is that he was given permission to speak to other teams and the official release came after he told the 49ers he had a deal with the Bengals.
This leaves the 49ers still looking for some kind of cornerback depth as it is unlikely Shawntae Spencer and Tarell Brown will start the season as the #1 and #2 cornerbacks. The current cornerback market includes names like Antonio Cromartie, Carlos Rogers, Chris Houston and Phillip Buchanon among many others.
The 49ers have indicated they plan to be patient with the free agent market so we’ll have to wait and see when the next domino falls. The players can’t participate in practice until the new CBA is finally ratified, which is expected to be around August 4. However, it would be nice to get some players signed to get them playbooks in advance of camp.
According to the New York Post's Steve Serby, wide receiver Plaxico Burress will meet with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. It appears that the 49ers are searching for help at wide receiver since Michael Crabtree will be sidelined for at least a month with a foot injury. The team reportedly had interest in Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, but he has since been dealt to New England Patriots.
Burress is 34-years-old and played nine seasons in the NFL before spending two years in jail for a gun charge. He was released in June and is currently looking for employment. Burress has already met with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is scheduled to meet with the New York Jets on Sunday.
The 49ers are considered a long shot to land Burress particularly considering his connections to Pittsburgh and New York. However, the fact that he even bothered to fly west has to count for something.
Matt Maiocco dropped an intriguing morsel of information on his twitter account last night when he had this to say:
Now, Maiocco isn't necessarily saying that the 49ers have made an offer or even have interest - but he is pointing out that the 49ers have been in contact with Cromartie's representation during their brief courtship of Nnamdi Asomugha. What he's alluding to is the possibility that this contact could spur talks about the Jet free agent now that Asomugha is off the market.
The 49ers' defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, previously sought to build the Texans' defense around a pass-rusher (Jason Babin) and a cornerback (Dunta Robinson). Fangio's current team used the seventh overall choice for outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who reached agreement on a contract Thursday. Will the 49ers get a top-tier cornerback for him this offseason?
Just something to keep an eye on.
The 49ers have officially re-signed QB Alex Smith, per John Clayton. This is not a surprise to anyone, as it's been assumed for months now that the Niners would enter the season with Smith under center. Smith receives a one-year, $5 million contract in what is likely his last chance to prove he can be a starting caliber quarterback.
Smith, the former number one overall pick in 2005, failed to win fans' confidence last season while passing for 2,370 yards, 14 TDs and 10 interceptions. After being early season favorites, the Niners started out the year 0-5 and quickly had a quarterback controversy on their hands. Smith waffled a few times between starting and riding the pine, but ended up being the team's most capable signal caller. He'll have to prove he can play consistently this year.
Also announced were the signings of DE Ray McDonald and OL Tony Wragge. McDonald played in 16 games last season, notching 57 tackles, one interception, and two passes defensed. Wragge played in 15 games in 2010 and provides the 49ers a versatile lineman that can play at multiple spots.
For more in-depth analysis, check out NinersNation.
Although the San Francisco 49ers reportedly pulled out of the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes several hours before the decision came down, 49ers fans were hoping against hope that he would still end up back in the Bay Area. That ended up not being the case as the Philadelphia Eagles came out of nowhere to land the mega-free agent.
Now the 49ers find themselves wondering what to do at the cornerback position. They released Nate Clements when they couldn’t work out a new deal and now are in the market for some secondary help. The main names in free agency are Antonio Cromartie, Chris Carr, Carlos Rogers and Richard Marshall. Brent Grimes and Brandon Carr are restricted free agents. Now that Philadelphia has added Nnamdi they might also look to trade or cut Asante Samuel. Maybe San Francisco’s a landing spot?
For now, the 49ers remain silent on day one of free agency as they plot their next move. They have cap space with which to work and holes in their depth chart to fill.
Michael Lombardi reported on the NFL Network that the San Francisco 49ers have dropped out of the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes. Lombardi indicated members of the 49ers front office had expressed this. Some would argue it could be a smokescreen, but for now it appears as though the race for Nnamdi is down to the Jets and Cowboys. The Cowboys cleared out a ton of cap room this year, although they face immense dead money in 2012.
The 49ers now need to implement their plan B, or even just figure out a Plan B. There are quality cornerbacks in free agency, although Chris Carr, Antonio Cromartie, Richard Marshall and Carlos Rogers don't really compare to Nnamdi Asomugha. That's not to say they wouldn't be solid options. In fact, one could argue spending Nnamdi money on two of those corners could be the wiser course of action.
The 49ers have a variety of holes in their roster thanks to Michael Crabtree's injury and various free agency departures. They've got plenty of cap space and if Nnamdi doesn't want their money, there are plenty of players that do.
The signing was just announced on Twitter from Jonathan Tamari:
K David Akers has signed with the 49ers #Eagles
Akers is as consistent as they come in terms of kickers. Since joining the Eagles in 1999 he has converted 81.9% (294-for-359) of the kicks in his career, and has made 34 kicks of 40-49 yards since the 2008 season. He has 11 kicks of 50 yards or more in the same time span. Needless to say, he's as steady as they come and one of the veteran kickers in the game.
There has been no word on where the recently cut Nedney will land.
The cornerback dominos continued to fall Thursday afternoon as free agent cornerback Johnathan Joseph agreed to terms with the Houston Texans on a five year deal. After Nnamdi Asomugha, Joseph was considered one of the best free agent cornerbacks.
This transaction is significant for a couple of reasons. The first is that Joseph was a backup option for the 49ers if they were unable to acquire Nnamdi. Now that Joseph is out of the picture, the 49ers are left hoping they can land Nnamdi. if they are unable to sign him they would then be looking at Chris Carr and/or Nate Clements under a restructured contract.
The second reason this is significant is because Houston was in the running with the 49ers and Jets to sign Nnamdi. As it now stands, the 49ers and Jets are the two teams left in the Nnamdi sweepstakes. The Jets are reportedly leading the race, but until he makes a decision, this race remains up in the air.
Jim Harbaugh is reaching deep into his pool of quarterbacks he remembers from college. First he got Jeremiah Masoli from Oregon/Ole Miss and plans on converting him to running back for camp. Now Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the San Francisco 49ers have signed McLeod Bethel-Thompson from Sacramento State, a quarterback Harbaugh had recruited back when he was the coach of San Diego.
UCLA Bruins fans are familiar with Bethel-Thompson (he was once their quarterback), he was the third-stringer in 2007 but was pressed into action for the 2007 Notre Dame game (video here), where he put up this stat line:
12 for 28, 139 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 1 fumble lost and returned for a touchdown.
Not bad at all for a UCLA quarterback these days, wouldn't you say?
He transferred to Sacramento State after Karl Dorrell was fired and Rick Neuheisel preferred Kevin Craft as his starter, but spent his first two seasons with the Hornets as a backup to Jason Smith before seeing playing time this sesason. Bethel-Thompson was most recently playing with the San Jose Sabercats but was completing less than 50% of his passes. It'd be hard to imagine that Bethel-Thompson will be here long, and is just here to provide Colin Kaepernick with a fellow quarterback to train with until Alex Smith recovers from injury.
We have video of Bethel-Thompson from his days at Sac State. What do you think?
McLeod Bethel-Thompson Highlight part 1.mp4 (via mcleodfootball)
McLeod Bethel-Thompson Highlight part 2.mp4 (via mcleodfootball)
For more on 49ers free agency, Niners Nation is your first stop.
Kreutz has played 13 straight seasons with the Chicago Bears, but the Niners are making a serious push to nab the pro-bowlers from the Windy City. The team has been negotiating with Kreutz, sending him a contract proposal Wednesday evening according to NFL sources. Although he has been in discussions with the Bears as well, Kreutz feels that their offer doesn't reflect a serious commitment to him as a player by their organization, or his importance to the O-line. Kreutz was seen as a mainstay, a person to build around on the O-line, but now maybe putting on the Red & Gold and starting anew in the city by the Bay.
In the past Kreutz has rejected better offers to remain with the Bears, but might not be so generous this time around. Of all the free-agent centers on the market, Kreutz has been to the most Pro Bowls, six in total, not to mention his team-high 134 consecutive games, a streak Kreutz has kept going since 2002. His reliability and durability would of great value to any team, but would be especially important to San Francisco as they try to put the best players in the game to protect Alex Smith, something they haven't done too well in the past.
For more on the 49ers head over to Niners Nation.
After the miscommunications that occured on Wednesday there were conflicting reports that the San Francisco 49ers were to release cornerback Nate Clements, but on Thursday those reports were confirmed as he has been dropped from the roster. Both sides were trying to restructure Clements' contract, but in the end they came to an impasse an had to release him.
NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora and ESPN's Adam Schefter both tweeted about his release, with LaCanfora providing a bit of an overview of what it means to the Niners to have him off the squad:
On Clements, to clarify, 49ers save $7.25M cash (base salary) and $15M in cap space. But I'd be surprised at this point if they get Nnamdiless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet ReplyJason La Canfora
Yes the 49ers have some cash to go after Nnamdi Asomugha now, but the question remains if he wants to join a team that is still building towards the future or be plugged into a winning system already (like the Jets). San Francisco has been looking at other options at the CB position than just Asomugha, there has been reports that they are interested in Johnathan Joseph who played for the Bengals in 2010.
Clements played all 16 games for the Niners last season, and even though many fans weren't happy with his overall performace in the Bay, he had his moments and hopefully will continue his career elsewhere in the NFL.
For more on the 49ers head over to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers came to terms with their final eight draft picks on Thursday, which means they will have all ten at training camp on time. The new rookie wage scale has made it easier to get rookies signed since there is now officially a limited amount of money teams can give to their rookies. There were slots in previous years and general expectations on money, but it was spiraling out of control for higher end picks.
For the 2011 rookie class, the 49ers were allowed to spend no more than $6,935,903 on 2011 salaries, but had to spend at least $5,115,676. Additionally they were allotted $38,147,464 for the combined length of the ten contracts. Matt Maiocco of CSN received information on the various allocations allowed for each pick.
There are some interesting numbers from Maioco's information. Aldon Smith is allowed between $1,200,364 and $2,615,273 his first year, with a total deal max of $14,384,000 over four years. Last year, the seventh pick of the draft, Joe Haden, received a five-year contract worth a minimum of $40 million and a maximum of $50.2 million with $25.6 million guaranteed. That's a huge difference.
The rookie wage scale was more meant to bring the top end salaries down rather than impact the lower end salaries nearly as much. A good example of that is in the contract of third round pick, cornerback Chris Culliver. His maximum four-year allocation is $2,885,953. That compares to J.D. Walton who received $2.588 million as the 80th overall pick in 2010. I don't know how the 2010 to 2011 increase compared to previous years, but it shows that not every rookie salary was downgraded.
It looks like the 49ers are expecting some changes on their defensive line, which was composed of Justin Smith, Aubrayo Franklin and Isaac Sopoaga in 2010. Ray McDonald is a free agent this year (thanks to the new rules that make four-year players as such) and was looking for an increased role in 2011, while Franklin is also a free agent and looking for an increased paycheck in 2011. We previously wrote that their destinies were intertwined in this piece, and that might just be the case, as Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee tweets that McDonald has agreed to a five-year contract:
According to a league source, the 49ers have agreed to terms on a five-year deal with defensive end Ray McDonald.
Adam Schefter would go on to add that it's worth $20 million with $7 million of that in guaranteed money. That's a decent bit of change for McDonald, who might get his chance at an increased role in San Francisco if his destiny is indeed intertwined with that of Aubrayo Franklin. That is to say, depending on what happened with one likely determined the fate of the other, and Franklin might be on his way out.
This likely means that the 49ers have plans for McDonald in regards to the starting left defensive end position, occupied by Sopoaga in 2010. There's been talk that Sopoaga would move over to nose tackle in the event of Franklin departing, and that's looking a little more likely at this point. The starting line would then be Smith-Sopoaga-McDonald, which doesn't look like a bad shakeup.
It's not a certainty that Franklin is gone at this point, however. He was very good at what he did, we just have no idea how many teams are pursuing his services at this time.
The tempest that is the NFL post-lockout continues to rage as the San Francisco 49ers have announced the signing of two of their 2011 draft picks in fullback Bruce Miller and offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore to four year contractsrespectively.
Kilgore compensation breakdown looks something like this: (via CSN's Matt Maiocco)
First-year allocation: $415,075
Total four-year allocation: $2,282,913
First-year minimum allotment: $411,075
The signing of Kilgore is important due to the fact that the Niners lost center David Baas to free agency, causing the team to have a hole to fill in their O Line. Kilgore likely won't be moved to the center position as many believe Adam Snyder will fill that gap for San Francisco. The 6'3" 290 lbs. Kilgore was taken in the 5th round (163rd overall) out of Appalachian State.
As for fullback Bruce Miller, his compensation breakdown goes something like this: (also from Maiocco)
First-year allocation: $390,613
Total four-year allocation: $2,148,369
First-year minimum allotment: $386,475
Miller comes into the Niners backfield at a time of great speculation for the team. Frank Gore is holding out for more money, backup Boobie Dixon has talked about moving to fullback, the team drafted RB Kendal Hunter as well as signing undrafted QB Jerimiah Masoli to make the transition to the backfield as well. Miller was the Niners seventh round pick (211th overall) out of the University of South Florida.
Nnamdi Asomugha is the top free agent available, no matter who you happen to ask. Well, I guess if you asked one of the other free agents or their moms, or perhaps fans of teams without a cornerback need, they might say somebody else. But when it comes to everybody else in the real world, Asomugha is the guy that any team in the league would be happy to have. It says a lot that the New York Jets are heavily pursuing him, seeing as how they have perhaps the other half of that "one of the best cornerbacks in the league" equation in Darrelle Revis.
The team with arguably the best cornerback in the league is trying to land Nnamdi Asomugha. That's how good he is.
It's an unfortunate circumstance for the 49ers: having the Jets to bid against. Not because they have deep pockets or are willing to offer more money than San Francisco, but because Nnamdi is probably willing to take less money to play for them, considering the state of their team. In New York, he wouldn't have to be on every number one wide receiver and he wouldn't be alone on that defense.
For Revis, he has to bring in a partner for his island resort business, but Revis Island (renamed Revisomugha Island?) would then double in real estate. He's all for the business venture, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who had this quote from Revis:
He's the best CB in the league. Me and him as a tandem would be unbelievable. It would be awesome
All isn't lost for the 49ers, who are still pursuing Nnamdi, and appear to have "some" leverage due to their convenient placement in the Bay Area. When you're talking about a couple million in differences and you don't have to buy a new house, things do start to look a bit better. He'd certainly be a great fit and now with the news that the 49ers are going to be releasing Nate Clements, it lends to the thought that Asomugha might be attainable. After all, they wouldn't release him (and free up $15 million in the process) when Shawntae Spencer is the only option, right?
SB Nation's own Andrew Sharp did raise a great point in this piece, he notes that the teams that don't get Asomugha could be in for a blessing in disguise. The reasoning is that Asomugha is commanding an awful lot of money right now, and how often do these big ticket free agents pay off? San Francisco only needs to look to Nate Clements for proof of this theory.
None of which is to say Asomugha's overrated... It's just that, playing the free agent market comes down to weighing costs, benefits, and risk. And considering he's already 30 years old, and probably due to drop off over the next few years, even Asomugha's benefits come with a risk. It's the paradox with football players.
Update: It looks like Nate Clements has not yet been informed of his release, though it's still up in the air as to whether or not he will. Jason LaCanfora tweeted that the 49ers have yet to tell him anything in that vein, but that he could still be cut eventually. Maiocco has re-tweeted the link, which of course means absolutely nothing because he added no commentary. We'll keep you posted.
It looks like the 49ers are going to look a lot different in 2011, at least on defense. With Takeo Spikes being the first starter to go, it now looks like starting cornerback Nate Clements is going to be released. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area tweeted this:
Just received word from source that 49ers have informed Nate Clements they are releasing him.
At face value, this makes Shawntae Spencer the team's number one corner, with guys like Tarell Brown and rookie Chris Culliver vying for the second spot. Of course, this is just how it looks right now, there is bound to be a lot of things going down between now and the start of the regular season.
Releasing Clements would clear up about $15 million in cap space, a nice chunk of change any day. If the 49ers truly are in on the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes, that's got to be an attractive number for the shutdown corner. Bringing Nate back at a lower cost doesn't appear to be the plan, as the team reportedly was going to try and restructure, but let's assume we'd have heard something other than "a source is saying that Clements is going to be told he's released," if there were plans to bring him back.
Is it Asomugha? is it Jonathan Joseph? Maybe it really is Shawntae Spencer? That might be disastrous.
The 49ers offense took a blow on Wednesday as center David Baas agreed to terms on a new contract with the New York Giants. Shaun O'Hara had been the Giants long-time center, but he is expected to be released when teams can start cutting players on Thursday. Baas played center last season for the first time since college but provided some solid work and will move right into the Giants starting lineup.
This move leaves the 49ers offensive line with a fairly big hole in the middle. Eric Heitmann is out for the season with his neck injury, leaving the team once again without any center experience. Adam Snyder played some center during the Camp Alex lockout workouts so Mike Solari could try and slot him in there. The team drafted Daniel Kilgore as a possible long-term option and also added Chase Beeler via undrafted free agency. And of course, the 49ers could decided to chat with Shaun O'Hara now that he'll be walking away from New York.
For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers just lost their starting TED linebacker to the San Diego Chargers. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune tweeted that the Chargers and Takeo Spikes have come to terms on a three-year deal. For San Diego, three years seems like a lot for a 34-year old linebacker, but he does come in knowing the defense of the new coordinator, Greg Manusky, who was with Spikes in San Francisco.
For the 49ers, it means losing a player who was a key contributor the past two seasons and who most figured was going to finish his career there. Most believe that the 49ers were going to extend an offer to him, but it seems like the Chargers are the only team who offered three years on the contract, let alone two. At this point in his career, he needs to take those kinds of deals.
As the TED linebacker next to Patrick Willis in the 3-4, Spikes was counted on for many things that will now fall on the shoulders of second-year player NaVorro Bowman. A 3rd-round draft choice in 2010, Bowman saw the field when Spikes was rested last season, with definitely mixed results. He's got a lot of work ahead of him to be ready to play the position, and still needs to put on some weight and muscle, but a change in defensive coordinator does help him a bit. Vic Fangio's the new guy in town and his defense is more tailored towards athleticism, movement and aggression, somewhere that Bowman probably has a leg-up on Spikes.
Still, this probably means that the 49ers will be bringing in a veteran at the position to help Bowman or potentially even start if the younger guy is not ready.
After months of speculation and rumor, the San Francisco 49ers have agreed to terms with quarterback Alex Smith according to ESPN's John Clayton. It marks the first major agreement the Niners have made since the lifting of the lockout.
Smith agreed to a one year deal reportedly for about $5 million, and will be the hands down favorite to be the Niners starting quarterback, barring any other trades at that position. Smith was a free agent after the 2010 season, but with the lockout and the frenzy that surrounded it both the Niners and Smith felt it best to tough it out for one more year to see if Smith can reach the potential he was supposed to have as the number one overall pick in 2005.
Smith had been running off-season workouts with 49ers players during the lockout, and was dubbed 'Camp Alex' by many as he took the reigns and ran all of the offensive workouts without the help of any coaches. The Niners second round draft pick, QB Colin Kapernick, is looking to be the heir apparent as the signal caller of the team, but will have to wait a little longer now that Smith is sticking around.
For more discussion and analysis of the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation to get in on the action.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh will probably make your head turn a couple of time with his personnel decisions this offseason. He definitely is addressing the quarterback situation in strange ways in 2011. The drafting of Colin Kaepernick is a long-term development project, and now it seems like they're on the verge of adding former Oregon Ducks/Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, reports Matt Maiocco of CSN. Masoli is a local guy, so you get the feeling this is just a temporary signing.
If Kaepernick is a project, Masoli is an M.C. Escher drawing. Masoli was an impressive quarterback for Chip Kelly's speed offense that wrecked through the Pac-10 in 2009, and he is an adept runner, but he was never a great passing quarterback with anything other than the simplest reads in Oregon (screen passes and vertical patterns). Is Masoli being brought into training camp just to be a punching bag for defenses in training camp? Imagining him entering an NFL quarterback depth chart is too bizarre for words.
For more on the 49ers offseason moves, Niners Nation is your destination.
Following in the footsteps of Notre Dame nose tackle Ian Williams, Cal offensive lineman Donovan Edwards tweeted confirmation that he'll be heading to Santa Clara on Tuesday to sign on with the San Francisco 49ers. Edwards will find himself battling with the likes of Daniel Kilgore, Michael Person and Chase Beeler among others for playing time. Even beyond that Edwards will be battling for a roster spot more than anything else.
Edwards played almost exclusively at right tackle for the Golden Bears and was a popular player, as well as fairly prolific tweeter. According to a source with California Golden Blogs who watched plenty of the Bears offensive line, Edwards lacked the footspeed to be a sure defender against edge rushers. Edwards worked out for both the 49ers and Raiders at center, which indicates the team could very well move inside to guard or center.
For more on the Cal graduate, check out his interview with CGB this past April.
The NFL league year is not yet underway but business is already picking up around the NFL. The original calendar planned to allow teams to begin negotiating with undrafted rookie free agents Tuesday morning at 7:00am pacific. The league made a change to that plan, deciding to allow teams to begin negotiations Monday evening and start officially signing players on Tuesday.
Teams have wasted no time coming to tentative agreements with players and that includes the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have reportedly come to terms with Stanford C Chase Beeler, Cal OL Donovan Edwards and Notre Dame Ian Williams. The Stanford and Cal signings are not surprising if fully confirmed. Ian Williams on the other hand has confirmed he will in fact be heading to San Francisco to sign a contract and come in to training camp.
While UDFAs are often merely camp bodies that provide some depth with an occasional reserve found, once in a while a team will land a diamond in the rough. There is a lot of time left before we'll know if Williams qualifies as a diamond, but he's got some believers out there. Earlier today Tony Pauline of Draftinsider.net rated Williams his number on undrafted free agent.
Williams saw his 2010 campaign cut short and red flags raises after he suffered a knee injury midway through the season. Despite performing well at the combine, he slipped out of the draft's seven rounds. But he has legitimate NFL ability with the potential to play several spots on the defensive line. Rated as a fifth-rounder on many draft boards, Williams could be a steal for any team needing a nose tackle...
When Niners Nation was discussing nose tackles in advance of the draft, Niners Nation rated him the eighth best NT heading into the draft:
The best athleticism of the "lower tier" nose tackles in the draft, there's a lot to like there, especially for the 49ers. He doesn't get after the passer a lot, but he does everything else at a high level. He's a solid anchor who will stop the run every time, and he can occupy two blockers. If Williams gets a good coach and some time to develop, he can be deadly.
The 49ers face questions about Aubrayo Franklin who could be lining up for a monster pay day. If that happens outside of San Francisco, Williams could find himself battling Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois for time at the nose tackle position.
And now with the lockout done, let a furious week of rumor-mongering commence!
James Jones just won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, so it would make sense that he has a pretty high stock on the free agent mark. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Jones has "mixed feelings about free agency". He'd love to come back to Green Bay but also has to think about his family. He grew up in San Jose and played his college ball at San Jose State, so coming back to the Bay Area holds some natural appeal for him.
Aaron Rodgers loved to target Jones, particularly on 3rd down this season--Jones actually caught more balls on 3rd down than either Greg Jennings or Donald Driver, according to Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders. Jones did struggle holding onto footballs on a few occasions, but he provides Smith with a capable receiver with a solid understanding of the West Coast Offense.
Do you see James Jones working out for the 49ers? Where should he go this offseason?
The end of the 2011 NFL Lockout means teams will soon be allowed to start signing their 2011 NFL Draft class. While free agency signings and trades will be what makes the news headlines, the rookie signings will make news for a different reason. For the first time, the NFL has instituted a rookie wage scale, which will impact the contracts of just about every rookie in some way or another. The higher end rookies are the ones taking the biggest hit as the scale cuts some contracts down by as much as 50%.
The new collective bargaining agreement will provide for $874 million in overall compensation for rookies in 2011, increasing with the cap. The contracts will need to be four years in length with an team option fifth year for first round picks. Second through seventh round picks get straight four year contracts and undrafted rookies can sign three year deals.
For the first round picks, the option year has to be exercised after the third year and is guaranteed for injury when exercised and for and injury if the player is on the roster at the start of the fifth season. For top ten picks, the option year is the salary of the average of the top ten players at the players' position. For the 49ers, that means seventh overall pick Aldon Smith would fall in this category.
The changes to the rookie salary system should cut down on the number of holdouts we see before the start of the season. The 49ers will have the opportunity to start signing their rookies Tuesday morning at 7am pacific time. They can also sign rookie free agents at that point as well. Here are the 49ers ten draft picks:
Rd 1, Pick 7 Aldon Smith, OLB
Rd 2, Pick 4: Colin Kaepernick, QB
Rd 3, Pick 16: Chris Culliver, DB
Rd 4, Pick 18: Kendall Hunter, RB
Rd 5, Pick 32: Daniel Kilgore, OL
Rd 6, Pick 17: Ronald Johnson, WR
Rd 6, Pick 25: Colin Jones, S
Rd 7, Pick 8: Bruce Miller, FB/LB
Rd 7, Pick 36: Michael Person, OL
Rd 7, Pick 47: Curtis Holcomb, DB
After spending so much time in limbo, free agents around the league will actually become ... well, free. They haven't been with any team during this lockout period, and for some of them, it has to be a rather disconcerting feeling. What's probably going to be a fast and intense negotiating period for a lot of these guys will be a far cry from their comfort zone, but it is what it is. At the very least, under the current rules, teams can begin negotiating with free agents of their own or other teams on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. pacific. At 3:00 p.m. pacific on Friday, July 29th, free agency opens and teams can sign the players with which they've been talking.
The 49ers will immediately turn their attention to key guys that were with the team last season. They currently have 14 players on expiring contracts, and because of the nature of this year's rules, four-year players entering free agency are unrestricted free agents, so any tenders placed on them by the team are void. This means that Dashon Goldson and Ray McDonald, two players the 49ers would probably like to keep around for next season, are going to be (theoretically) harder to keep. Now, a full list of the free agents:
QB: Alex Smith, Troy Smith
RB Brian Westbrook
OL: David Baas, Barry Sims, Tony Wragge
DL: Aubrayo Franklin, Ray McDonald, Demetric Evans
LB: Manny Lawson, Takeo Spikes
DB: William James, Dashon Goldson
K: Jeff Reed
The first name on that list, Alex Smith, is likely going to be the first guy to put pen to paper. It almost feels like Jim Harbaugh and Smith have a handshake deal in place, as Smith has been leading practices for the team and has a playbook already in hand. Harbaugh probably signed the thing like a yearbook "XOXO Harbaugh + Smith 2011 XOXO". That is essentially a done deal. The only question is money.
Troy Smith, on the other hand, is a wild card. Most believe that there's not much chance of him returning, but you never know at this point. San Francisco will consider their options, but they've likely already made their decision regarding him. You can also cross off Brian Westbrook from the list because he doesn't intend to sign with the team, and it's doubtful that the team would have made him an offer after drafting Kendall Hunter.
One of those offensive linemen is not like the other. Can you guess which? David Baas - because the other two are expendable. Barry Sims was good in relief at left tackle and not much else, while Tony Wragge has never been able to impress, but Baas turned his career around at the best possible moment, going from something not entirely unlike dead weight at left guard to a stellar starter at center. The 49ers will focus a lot of attention on Baas to keep him on the team, despite bringing in two interior linemen in the draft. Baas, with Eric Heitmann's injury, is essential.
Jeff Reed probably isn't in the discussion at placekcker and William James was probably too banged up last season to warrant an offer, but the 49ers are hurting for a corner right now, so anything is possible. Takeo Spikes is a leader on and off the field and everybody wants him back. Harbaugh expressed admiration for Spikes in the past and he could be one of the first to re-sign if the 49ers make an effort to do so.
We're left with three big names: Goldson, Franklin and Lawson. Conventional wisdom is that drafting Aldon Smith makes Lawson expendable, and while this isn't a 1:1 truth, it certainly gives the 49ers some leeway on the matter. Lawson just seems like one of those guys that is going to get a lot of money, perhaps from a 4-3 team, or maybe even back to the 3-4 with Greg Manusky in San Diego. Who knows at this point? But the consensus seems to be that he won't be returning to San Francisco.
Ray McDonald and Aubrayo Franklin's destinies are intertwined. That is to say, if the team decides that they're going to move Isaac Sopoaga over to nose tackle and let Franklin walk, then McDonald becomes a guy they'd like to get under contract sooner rather than later to slot him in Sopoaga's spot at left defensive end. If they do keep Franklin, that doesn't necessarily mean no more McDonald, it just means he won't be as valued.
Finally, we get to Goldson, who the team really should be bringing back. His 2010 was less-than stellar, but he had nagging injuries and still has a very high ceiling. Goldson is not a top tier player yet and does not deserve top tier money, but the 49ers are young and inexperienced at the safety position and sorely hurting at the cornerback position. Goldson might just be their most sought-after free agent if you consider Alex Smith a done deal. He wanted top five safety money a season ago and didn't play like he deserved it. It's up in the air in regards to what he's expecting.
The San Francisco 49ers league year is just about ready to get under way now that the NFL Lockout is heading into our rear view mirror. The 49ers have a variety of draft picks and free agents of their own to sign and will also be looking to add undrafted rookie free agents for depth and veteran free agents to fill holes throughout the roster. Throw in the possibility of some trades and it's going to be a busy "offseason."
Normally the league calendar stretches from free agency in Early March to the draft in late April to the start of training camp in late July. This year we will see that five month calendar compressed into a week-long period. It will start with the signing of draft picks and undrafted free agents and will culminate in veteran free agency opening on Friday night. The NFL provided a rundown of what will be a hectic next few days. Here is the league calendar for this week:
Monday: Teams receive the official list of free agents at 3:00pm pacific.
Tuesday: Team facilities open at 7:00am pacific and players may report for physicals and voluntary strength and conditioning. At the same time, rosters expand to 90 men, trading begins for 2011 and teams can begin signing their own draft picks as well as undrafted rookie free agents. Teams can also start negotiating with, but not sign, any and all free agents on their own team or around the league.
Wednesday: Training camps begin to open.
Thursday: Cut day as teams can begin to cut players to get under the cap, beginning at 4 p.m. EDT. The San Francisco plan to open camp on Thursday to begin preparations for their exhibition opener on Thursday August 12.
Friday: Veteran free agency transactions can be filed, beginning at 6 p.m. EDT.
The 2011 NFL lockout is coming to an end, and just in the nick of time. In this case, "in the nick of time" doesn't mean anything at all near "ideal," but more so along the lines of "one more day and there might have been rioting." It was a brutal work stoppage, a labor dispute that, if not for the fact that the NBA lockout is looking pretty nasty right about now, I'd say it's something that can't be topped in regards to ... well, how much it sucked. Owners were sneaky, players made offers that owners counter-offered; I think the owners may have even counter-offered one of their own offers at some point.
But that is a thing of the past, unless the media has been lied to once again. All of the analysis and half-wondering, half-hoping of the lockout is done and it's time to move on to actual, factual news about the league and its football clubs. Well, all we care about is the San Francisco 49ers and how they'll be conducting themselves over the next few weeks (that other Bay Area team probably has a stream as well). Free agency, rookie signings, the potential for trades, and not to mention anything and everything regarding the installation of new offensive and defensive systems are heaped upon San Francisco's rather full plate.
They do have a ton on their plate, but who doesn't? The portions vary across the league to be sure, it's all they can do to take each thing as they come. They've got a group of free agents that includes guys like Dashon Goldson and David Baas, and they're got their rookies like Aldon Smith and Colin Kaepernick - two guys who sorely need to get into camp and get learning. To recap, here's a look at their 2011 NFL Draft haul:
49ers 2011 NFL Draft Picks
Rd 1, Pick 7 Aldon Smith
Rd 2, Pick 4: Colin Kaepernick
Rd 3, Pick 16: Chris Culliver
Rd 4, Pick 18: Kendall Hunter
Rd 5, Pick 32: Daniel Kilgore
Rd 6, Pick 17: Ronald Johnson
Rd 6, Pick 25: Colin Jones
Rd 7, Pick 8: Bruce Miller
Rd 7, Pick 36: Michael Person
Rd 7, Pick 47: Curtis Holcomb
Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh were excited about the entire draft haul, with guys stretching as far as Bruce Miller in the seventh round potentially playing a significant role in 2011 as he converts to fullback, a position of potential need. Kaepernick needs to get in and learn that offense and maybe even compete with Alex Smith (who we'll touch up on shortly). Aldon Smith has plenty of expectations and the sooner he can get some one-on-one time with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the better.
On top of guys like Nnamdi Asomugha and Jonathan Joseph, the 49ers will be looking towards their own free agents to take up some of that cap space. Some key guys from last season could be leaving, while others most certainly need to stay. Somebody like David Baas went from being potentially cut as a left guard to a must-sign center, while Manny Lawson may be wrapping up his career in San Francisco, as he's never quite lived up to his expectations in this 3-4 defense. Alex Smith is the big name the 49ers need to re-sign, and by all accounts, that's something that will be done almost immediately once they're able. A look at some of the 49ers own free agents below:
2011 49ers Free Agents
QB Alex Smith
QB Troy Smith
RB Brian Westbrook
C David Baas
OT Barry Sims
OG Tony Wragge
NT Aubrayo Franklin
DE Ray McDonald
DE Demetric Evans
OLB Manny Lawson
ILB Takeo Spikes
CB William James
FS Dashon Goldson
PK Jeff Reed
That's some big names, and at least seven of those should garner significant interest from the team. A lot of them will be looking to test the waters of free agency. As it stands, it looks like teams will be able to negotiate with their own free agents a few days before free agency actually begins, so it will be interesting to see how many of these guys the 49ers want to keep and how many they can get commitments from before it actually opens.
Beyond all of that, there's so much more to look forward to before the team kicks off on August 12th against the New Orleans Saints. Harbaug and Co. have to install their systems and get the bodies into camp. Undrafted rookies will need to be signed and any potential trade options will need to be pursued. For a head coach on his first go-round, this is going to be incredibly hectic and incredibly interesting. Follow along as we see what he can do.
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