49ers Free Agency: San Francisco Visits With Jason Brown

Free agency is coming to a close for the San Francisco 49ers, and the team has filled a variety of holes. The team re-signed Alex Smith, Carlos Rogers and Ted Ginn, while adding Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, Perrish Cox, Josh Johnson, and most recently, Brandon Jacobs. For more on the free agency period and how the 49ers are wading through it, check out Niners Nation, SB Nation's San Francisco 49ers blog.

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Larry Grant To Sign His Restricted Free-Agent Tender Today

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Larry Grant will sign his restricted free-agent tender today, according to the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows who cited Grant's agent. Grant will become an unrestricted free agent next season.

Grant fell victim to an empty market for restricted free agents and ended up not visiting with any other teams. It turned out to be a good thing for the Niners as Grant was productive in the time he was on the field this past season, especially during a three-game stint where Grant started in place of star linebacker Patrick Willis towards the end of the season.

Grant finished with 30 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble after playing 226 snaps on defense while also contributing to 238 plays on special teams.

Grant should re-assume his role as the backup for both Willis and NaVorro Bowman this season.

To keep track of other free agency signings and other news surrounding the 49ers, visit Niners Nation.


NFL Free Agency 2012: Free Agent Safety Madieu Williams Signs With Redskins

The San Francisco 49ers just took a big blow to their defensive backfield as free agent safety Madieu Williams has signed with the Redskins, according to a tweet from CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. Williams had visited with the Falcons as well as the Redskins before deciding to sign with the NFC East team.

This now leaves the 49ers barren at the backup safety spot which now will probably have to be filled through the NFL Draft that's right around the corner. The Niners have already lost Reggie Smith to the Carolina Panthers, leaving starters Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner to have to rely on C.J. Spillman and Colin Jones as their backups. Spillman is more of a special teams player, used sparingly in actual defensive packages and Jones had only one snap last season.

It's one of the few spots the Niners don't look settled in and it will have to be watched closely in the coming weeks.

For more on the 49ers offseason, visit Niners Nation.


NFL Free Agency 2012: Brandon Jacobs' Deal Includes 150K In Guaranteed Money

As with some of the other deals the San Francisco 49ers have made this offseason, like those for Randy Moss and Perrish Cox, Brandon Jacobs' deal comes with minimal risk, just like the Niners like it.

Jacobs, the former New York Giants running back who signed last week, will account for $1.575 million on the 49ers' salary cap, according to CSN Bay Area. The deal includes a $150,000 signing bonus and the rest of the money in the contract is not guaranteed.

Jacobs, a seven-year veteran, will add yet another short-yardage, power back to the Niners backfield to give Frank Gore some experienced backup. Jacobs, who is used to sharing the load in a backfield after playing with Ahmad Bradshaw in New York, has 56 rushing touchdowns in his career including seven in his last year with the Giants.

To keep track of other free agency signings and other news surrounding the 49ers, visit Niners Nation.


Madieu Williams Visiting With The Falcons, 49ers Don't Have Much In The Way Of Backup Safeties

It's going to be interesting to see how the safety position plays out for the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. Dashon Goldson had a decent year, with plenty of mistakes but reinforced with some big, big plays, while Donte Whitner exceeded expectations of every single 49ers fan and was like a shotgun shell on every single play. Whitner is under contract, while Goldson was given the franchise tag - but the real question mark is the backups.

That being the fact that the 49ers don't really have a backup right now. They've got four safeties on the roster, but both backups aren't really "backup" material. C.J. Spillman is used occasionally in goal line situations (and was fantastic there), but is limited outside of that one situation and is a core special teamer. Colin Jones only say one snap last season that wasn't special teams: on offense.

Reggie Smith has departed for the Carolina Panthers, leaving Madieu Williams the only real option for the 49ers, except for the fact that he's a free agent. Williams already visited with the Washington Redskins, and ESPN's Adam Schefter is now reporting that he visited with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday.

If Williams goes, it's going to create an interesting situation for the 49ers. They'll likely need to draft a replacement early on, but the draft isn't all-that strong in regards to the position. Williams didn't see much time in 2011, but the 49ers assumed he was going to be the starter before it was found that Goldson wasn't going to get an offer from the New England Patriots after all, and he was brought back on a one-year deal.

It might be in their best interest to re-sign him at this point, lest Goldson or Whitner go down an injury.


49ers Free Agency: Madieu Williams Receives Contract Offer From Washington Redskins, According To Report

According to a report from The National Football Post, the Washington Redskins have offered a contract to the San Francisco 49ers' free agent safety Madiew Williams. The 30 year old safety played his 8th season in the league for the 49ers in 2012 after two longer stints with the Vikings and the Bengals. Williams played in 15 games for the 49ers but did not see heavy rotation, and he registered only 9 tackles, significantly fewer than in previous years.

The terms of the Redskins offer to Wiliams are unknown at this time. The 49ers defensive backfield has already seen some action this offseason: the team parted ways with Reggie Smith, who signed with the Carolina Panthers, and they applied the franchise tag to Dashon Golson. With depth at safety a concern for the team, if Williams leaves for Washington the team would likely be looking for safety help in the upcoming draft.


49ers Free Agency 2012: Center Jason Brown To Visit San Francisco, According To Report

All was quiet for the San Francisco 49ers for a little while there - after they signed Mario Manningham and made sure Alex Smith was under contract for the foreseeable future, the free agency period wound down. It did, however, wind down without any starting right guard in place, the only perceived opening in the 49ers starting lineup on both sides of the ball. Earlier today, we already took a look at whether or not they might draft a guard early, even if the numbers suggest they won't.

Now, it looks like the 49ers are still looking to address the position by bringing in an interesting player to work out. According to Adam Caplan, they're bringing in former St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown. It's unclear if the 49ers think Brown will be able to play right guard, but that seems the most likely scenario, as the team already has former Pro Bowler Jonathan Goodwin at center.

Brown was released by the Rams in March, when they could no longer stomach the huge salary they offered him after just a couple years in the league. He played with the Baltimore Ravens out of college, and played very well, earning one of the wealthiest contracts for a center at the time. But his play in St. Louis was far from expiring.

As noted by SB Nation's Rams blog, Turf Show Times:

Brown never really lived up to his status as a one of the top free agent linemen that season. He underperformed with the Rams, getting manhandled by bigger defensive tackles. Last season it finally proved to be too much for even Steve Spagnuolo, who benched Brown and replaced him in the lineup with Tony Wragge.

49ers fans will remember Wragge as the backup who wasn't good enough to remain a backup when the 49ers only had late-round rookies to compete with him. That obviously doesn't inspire a ton of confidence, but as it stands right now, Brown was great for one team and pretty poor for another.

He likely could have remained in St. Louis for a chance to redeem himself if not for his big contract. He might be the only guy left on the market with real starting potential, so the 49ers could be onto something, though there's not a ton of cap room left to pay him - not that he'll command a big contract again at this point in his career.


ESPN Free Agency Grades: 49ers Receive An A

Many teams have been active in this years NFL free agency, but few more so than the San Francisco 49ers. Matt Williamson of Scouts. Inc. has taken the time to grade each team's free agency in 2012, and the Niners received an A for al of their efforts this offseason.

From letting go players that would cost too much to bringing in incredible talents on the cheap, Jim Harbaugh and Co. have been absolutely killing it this offseason. Here is Williamson's analysis of the 49ers free agency moves, truly noting that the "who's got it better than us?' logic holds firm in free agency as well.

Key additions: S Dashon Goldson (franchised), QB Alex Smith (re-sign), CB Carlos Rogers (re-sign), WR Mario Manningham, LB Ahmad Brooks (re-sign), WR Randy Moss, RB Brandon Jacobs, QB Josh Johnson, CB Perrish Cox, WR Ted Ginn (re-sign), LB Tavares Gooden (re-sign)
Key losses: CB Shawntae Spencer, WR Josh Morgan, Adam Snyder

Analysis: The 49ers are returning the league's best defense intact, even though they had a few prominent players' contracts expire. While they flirted with Peyton Manning (and to me, this is where Manning should have chosen to play), they have significantly improved their offense since the NFC Championship Game. What is curious is that while San Francisco clearly made a massive effort to improve the verticality of its offense with the additions of Moss and Manningham and even the re-signing of Ginn, Smith really isn't an adept downfield passer. Still, the new perimeter speed should open up room for the rest of San Francisco's offense while allowing Jim Harbaugh to utilize more multiple-receiver sets, which obviously is the direction offense in the NFL has gone. It also wouldn't shock me if Colin Kaepernick -- and his huge arm -- finds his way behind center before long.

Grade: A

It's one of the most exciting upcoming seasons in recent memory for the San Francisco 49ers, who seemingly only got better after reaching the NFC Championship in 2011. They certainly brought the talent in to do some damage, and have the coaching staff in place to get the players motivated and ready to work.

For more on the 49ers, make sure you head over to Niners Nation.


49ers Always Intended For Less Cap Space In 2012, By Paying Patrick Willis

Some might worry that the San Francisco 49ers are going to be in cap trouble over the next couple seasons. They're wondering this because this is the first time in a long time the question has been "can the 49ers afford him?" as opposed to "will the 49ers spend that big pile of money they've got laying around?" It's true, that despite overpaying for someone like Nate Clements, the 49ers have been remarkably good with their cap space.

And it is true that there was some free space just sitting there last season. In 2012, that's not likely to be the case after rookies are signed and things of that nature. In fact, the 49ers are cutting it pretty close when it all comes down to it. That being said, this was the plan all along - and it's working out pretty flawlessly. San Francisco budgeted some guys at a pretty high dollar amount, and still had room to make the signings they wanted, with guys like Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs being added.

You have to wonder how far back the 49ers have targeted specific signings. Cap numbers are hammered out over multiple seasons, to a much more finite degree than some might think. When fans debate cap numbers, it's usually "this year", and "next year", is always given the cold shoulder.

"Pay the man X amount of dollars over X amount of years." "Back load it." "Front load it." "Give him X amount of dollars X amount of years from now."

That's not how the teams handle it ... they'll hammer out the details over the next couple years, and factor in how likely those last years are going to actually be used, whether they're invalidated by cutting a player or restructuring the deal. As it happens, 2012 will be an important year for the 49ers in regards to getting some significant dollars settled.

Namely in regards to Patrick Willis, who has a base salary of just $1.904 million in 2012, yet is set to have a cap hit of $17.6 million. That's right - the 49ers are paying Willis $17.6 million in 2012, which is more than $8 million higher than the next-highest cap hit, which is Alex Smith at $9.2 million. Smith is making a good amount of money in 2012, and will again in 2013, but the 49ers are planning on likely moving on from him after that point.

If the 49ers were wanting to pay Willis in a more balanced manner, they'd likely have around $6 million to $9 million more in cap space for 2012, making some other players a possibility. But who says balanced is the best?


Brandon Jacobs Creates Competition For 49ers, Anthony Dixon On Standby

The San Francisco 49ers are simply looking to get better, at every position on the roster that can feasibly be improved upon. No position is safe, not even the "sacred bond" that Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith apparently shared, given the team's pursuit of quarterback Peyton Manning. They've looked at most positions, grabbing upgrades at the backup fullback position with Rock Cartwright over Moran Norris, and the wide receiver position by bringing in Mario Manningham and refusing to overpay for Josh Morgan.

Now they've turned their attention to the running back position, with the signing of former New York Giants back Brandon Jacobs. It's an interesting signing to say the least, especially given how Jacobs has been prone to trash talk about the 49ers in the past. That's just business though, and he'll at least be able to bond with Manningham to assimilate into the locker room. But what does Jacobs' signing mean on the football field?

It means, in so many words, that the 49ers want more than just competition at every spot - they want multiple feasible starters at every spot. Jacobs has been a starter in the past, and has had success in that vein, but is something of a streaky player. He's just not able to hold up over the course of an entire game or an entire season of entire games with his bruising "run you over" style of play.

Much like how Frank Gore is getting to that point in his career where the mileage on him is making it prohibitive to his ability to be that bell cow that he has always been. While he's the same age as Jacobs, he indisputably has more miles on him and needs more time off now than before. But the 49ers don't want that power running back production to drop off when Gore needs a rest.

They've got Kendall Hunter as the change-of-pace back and potential starter for the future, but when Gore needs a rest and the 49ers need some tough yardage, Anthony Dixon is the only option in that vein. And the 49ers don't have a ton of confidence in Dixon when it comes to that. In the playoffs, Dixon was given a couple crucial carries and couldn't produce a first down. When his ankle was grabbed and he fell well short of the first down marker, many figured Gore would have picked up that yardage.

Or perhaps Jacobs would have. This signing is mult-faceted at this point, in that Jacobs is here to increase the effectiveness of Gore, but he also could compete with him on some level, given Gore's $6 million contract number. At this point, it's open to interpretation what the ceiling for Jacobs is in regards to having an affect on the 49ers' current roster.

But we definitely know that the floor is attempting to make Dixon expendable. Even if Dixon hoped he could be a backup fullback, Jacobs is the kind of player that ... well, doesn't need one. Jacobs is a lead blocker for Jacobs, and always has been. Should be interesting, to say the least.


2012 NFL Free Agents: 49ers Sign Brandon Jacobs, According To Reports

The San Francisco 49ers continue what has been a productive offseason as they made a low risk move in reportedly signing free agent running back Brandon Jacobs. Adam Schefter reported the deal, which comes as a bit of a surprise to fans. The 49ers have a need for depth at running back, but they also had fairly limited cap space. This move is likely a fairly low cost deal, which lowers the risk considerably.

Frank Gore is the number one back and Kendall Hunter is a lock to make the 53-man roster, but beyond that nothing is guaranteed. Anthony Dixon is a big back at the number three spot, but there have been concerns about his dancing and inability to use his size to make big gains. This move, combined with the team's addition of running back and special teams ace Rock Cartwright, put Dixon in a position where he will need to really impress the team in August.

Salary information and contract length are not known at this point, but this deal likely wraps up most of the 49ers remaining cap space. They have a certain amount set aside for draft picks, but beyond that they might have no more than enough for a veteran minimum here or there.


Mario Manningham Contract Details: 49ers Won't Pay For Mediocrity

Mario Manningham was one of the bigger-named free agent wide receivers to head into the 2012 offseason and after looking around the league, he decided to sign with one of the more wide receiver-needy teams, the San Francisco 49ers. Manningham helped lead the New York Giants to a super bowl victory in 2012 with some big catches, but his overall body of work with the Giants wasn't awe inspiring. The 49ers protected themselves in Manningham's contract just in case he didn't turn out to be the No. 1 receiver they hope he is.

Here are Manningham's contract details, thanks to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio:

1. $2 million signing bonus.

2. $1.2 million base salary for 2012, fully guaranteed.

3. $250,000 in total per-game roster bonuses for 2012.

4. $100,000 workout bonus for 2012.

5. $3.6 million base salary for 2013, $1.25 million of which is guaranteed for injury only.

6. $250,000 roster bonus for 2013.

7. $100,000 workout bonus for 2013.

There are also a long list of incentives that will put a little extra cash in Manningham's pocket if he reaches certain checkpoints. He will earn $100,000 for 70 catches, $250,000 for 80 catches or $500,000 for 90 catches. He'll earn $50,000 yards for 1,050 catches, $100,000 for 1,150 yards or $250,000 for 1,250 yards. He can also make an extra $50,000 for scoring nine touchdowns, $100,000 for scoring 11 or $250,000 for scoring 13. Finally, he can make an extra $250,000 if he makes it into the Pro Bowl.

Manningham's deal is worth $7.5 million over the next two seasons, but it can be increased to $10 million with the incentives.

Based on Manningham's best season, though, Manningham would have made just barely over his base salary of $7.5 million as he would have reached just one of his incentives. In his best season, he caught 60 passes (10 short of his lowest incentive), had 944 receiving yards (206 yards short of his lowest incentive) and he scored nine touchdowns, which would have earned him $50,000. Hopefully being in a new city and having a chance to make quite a bit more money will drive him to have the best couple seasons of his career.

For more on the 49ers, head to Niners Nation, and for more updates on the team's free agency movies, follow SB Nation Bay Area's StoryStream.

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No Rock Or Hard Place For Alex Smith - It Was Always The 49ers

As already noted, Alex Smith was always going to come back to the San Francisco 49ers. That doesn't necessarily mean that there wasn't an actual chance that Peyton Manning was coming to San Francisco, it means that, in lieu of Manning, there was never any real chance of Smith ending up on another team while Manning plays for someone other than the 49ers.

There was no rock and there was no hard place - just Alex Smith completely and utterly within the 49ers' grasp whether he liked it or not.

It helps that he does like it, quite a bit. His contract is pretty team-friendly, with some decent coin coming his way over the next couple years, which bring to light questions of Colin Kaepernick. Most assumed that Kaepernick would be starting by 2013, whether that meant he'd already have a year under his belt as the starter in 2012 or not.

But what if Smith has a monster year, and then improves on it? What if he becomes that franchise quarterback that everyone wants him to be? Then everyone will forget about Kaepernick, and also Josh Johnson. And Scott Tolzien. And you know what? That's just fine. Folks will talk about the fact that the 49ers have invested in Kaepernick, and they should ultimately commit to him, regardless.

Remember, Kaepernick only cost the 49ers a second-, fourth- and fifth-round pick. It didn't cost a first, while Smith cost them the first overall pick in the 2005 draft. Sure, it took seven years to start seeing any kind of return on their investment, but if it's a return and it's worth waiting for, why throw that away for Kaepernick? Maybe they'll get some sort of trade value for him, but in the end, if Smith can pay off, then we can handle Kaepernick being a wasted pick and lot him in with Chilo Rachal and Kentwan Balmer.

It's probably safe to say that 49ers fans would love nothing more than for Smith to lead them to the Super Bowl. It would be better with Smith than it would be for Kaepernick, and any fan who says different is probably lying. It's vindication - good for the soul, and of course, good for the sports writer. Smith has been eternally mocked by the fans and beaten up more than most quarterbacks in the league, but if he builds on 2011, that will all be forgotten.


Jim Harbaugh Wants The Perfect Offense For Him; And More On Josh Johnson, Peyton Manning

Are the San Francisco 49ers dissatisfied with their quarterback position? The pursuit of Peyton Manning and the signing of Josh Johnson have led some to ask that question. It's certainly a possibility, given the fact that Jim Harbaugh is an offensive-minded guy. The problem with that kind of guy is that he's always looking to innovate and make things happen - even when the current form is working.

You see, it's not Harbaugh's style to earn a three-point win with limited offense and no turnovers. That's how he built the 49ers in 2011 because he was more than smart enough to see that they're best suited for that kind of game. He relied on Alex Smith and used him to his fullest potential in an offense that was light on frills and heavy on ball security. It worked more often than naught, but as we saw in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Harbaugh is rarely content.

It's not that he'll change things up at the detriment to the team, it's just that he could be looking for something with a little more pop to it. That could be Josh Johnson, or it could be Colin Kaepernick. Nobody really knows right now. It's probably safe to say that Harbaugh isn't getting what he truly wants out of the quarterback position, so he's bringing in Johnson to make things interesting.

But on top of all of that, Harbaugh wants to make sure he has the best team out there at all times. In all, this isn't a lack of faith in Smith because Harbaugh showed that he's more than happy with him as "the guy." That didn't change with the pursuit of Manning, really. It was just an opportunity to get better, and he's a big fan of competition.

The guy is kind of crazy as hell - he may have even tried to have an actual competition between Manning and Smith had he got Manning under contract. That's just how he is and that's just how he's going to be.

So when it comes to bringing in Johnson, it could be so many different things, but more than anything, Harbaugh is simply covering his bases with a quarterback he has a long history with and has been successful with on some level. And do not forget this about Johnson .. quarterback and coach combinations are a real thing. Some players just work better with some coaches, and so much more potential can come forth.

Just remember that there's a difference between having a preference and being dissatisfied.


Josh Johnson Contract Details: 49ers QB Likely To Compete Primarily With Colin Kaepernick

The San Francisco 49ers announced Thursday evening they had signed Oakland native and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer QB Josh Johnson to a two-year deal. Johnson is well-connected to the 49ers as he was a star pupil of head coach Jim Harbaugh when the two were at the University of San Diego. Johnson was an undersized QB coming out of high school, but Harbaugh helped develop him into an eventual draft pick and backup quarterback in Tampa Bay.

Some of the details of Johnson's contract leaked out today and it is a deal that is both friendly to the 49ers, but also provides incentives for Johnson in the upcoming QB competition. Johnson's two year deal is worth $2 million at its base, including a $350,000 signing bonus. The deal also includes up to an additional $1.5 million in incentives that would be based on starting playing time and strong performance.

The general belief is that Alex Smith is the sure-fire number one, with Johnson coming in to compete with Colin Kaepernick for the number two job. In his Friday conference call with the media, Johnson indicated his belief in coming to San Francisco was simply concerned with getting training camp reps so he would have an opportunity to show what he can do.


Mario Manningham Contract Details: 49ers Two Year Deal Lower Than Redskins Josh Morgan Deal

The San Francisco 49ers had reportedly signed wide receiver Mario Manningham a week ago, but it took them nearly a week to officially announce the deal, and another day for any contract details to come out. Now that they are out, 49ers fans can chalk this deal up as another winner for the 49ers front office.

According to Matt Maiocco, the 49ers signed Manningham to a two year contract worth $7.375 million. The deal reportedly includes a $2 million signing bonus with base salaries of $1.2 million in 2012 and $3.6 million in 2013. The deal will feature a 2012 salary cap hit of $2.487M and a 2013 salary cap hit of $4.887M.

This deal is notable in part because of how it compares with former 49ers wide receiver Joshua Morgan. The former 49ers receiver signed a two year $11.5 million deal with the Washington Redskins. While he has considerably upside, Manningham has plenty of upside himself and would seem to at least be of comparable value to Morgan, if not more. The 49ers are constantly discussed as a team that places a specific value on free agents and generally will not push too far beyond that. This would seem to show the value of the 49ers fiscal sanity one more time.

For more on this signing and all sorts of 49ers news, head over to Niners Nation.


Why Is Josh Johnson With The 49ers? Competition? Familiarity?

Much has been said already about the signing of quarterback Josh Johnson and what it means for the current players on the San Francisco 49ers' roster. Does it mean there's now a competition with Alex Smith for the starting job, or does it mean Johnson and second-year player Colin Kaepernick are going to throw down for the main backup role? Perhaps Johnson is actually the fourth quarterback and that's what the team wants to go with, utilizing him in different ways here and there. Or maybe he's just a replacement for third-stringer Scott Tolzien.

Well, the truth is that nobody is really sure at this point. When it all comes down to it, Johnson wants to compete for a starting role, and didn't truly get that opportunity with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were always going to go with Josh Freeman, who cost them a first-round pick, and for the most part, that's worked out for them. Johnson has always been an under-the-radar kind of guy.

So, we know Johnson wants to compete - he told the Bay Area media as much before Smith re-signed with the team, even if Smith were to come back. Well, Smith is back and Johnson is here, with Kaepernick and Tolzien in the fray. This is likely quite a few things at work here, let's take a look at a couple of them.

It's unlikely that the 49ers are not confident in Smith. They didn't feel pressured into giving him more guaranteed dollars, lest their season be lost, but they do feel like they can win football games with him at the position. This much is known to be true. But ...

It's possible that the 49ers are not totally happy with said production from the quarterbacks. Johnson is a guy who has worked with Harbaugh in the past and has a chance to put up bigger stats than Alex, if he has what it takes at the pro level. Even if the 49ers are confident in Smith, that doesn't mean they're thoroughly satisfied. Mixing it up increases the chances that you'll find someone who truly fits.

Or perhaps the 49ers are just doing Johnson a favor. Harbaugh likes him, and they might consider him the No. 3 guy now. Who really knows?

There's all kinds of other things to consider - like perhaps they're keeping Kaepernick busy while he rides the bench, or they're not satisfied with Kaepernick after drafting him. At any rate, it's highly unlikely that Johnson is here to have an actual, factual competition with Smith. Not after the money they just gave him.

Let's just call it interesting.


49ers Free Agency 2012: Josh Johnson, Ted Ginn Jr. Sign With San Francisco

The 49ers' front office is getting busy in this free agency season. A day after re-signing quarterback Alex Smith to a three-year contract, the San Francisco 49ers inked quarterback Josh Johnson and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. to two-year and one-year contracts respectively.

Johnson, a four-year pro was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from San Diego. The Washington Redskins met with Johnson on Wednesday before he ultimately chose the 49ers. He will be reunited with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh who coaches Johnson while he was at San Diego.

"I’d get to come home, be with my family, play for a coach that changed my life and play for a team that I grew up loving," Johnson said to The Chronicle. (Via: San Francisco Chronicle)

Ginn Jr. re-signed with the 49ers after testing the waters with Detroit, Minnesota and Baltimore. In 14 games for San Francisco last season, Ginn returned 38 punts for 468 total yards, with three returns for over 40 yards. He conducted a free agency tour looking for more opportunities as a receiver, but in the end he returned to San Francisco for another season.

For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.


Josh Johnson Signs Two-Year Deal With 49ers, Giving Alex Smith Competition In Camp

The San Francisco 49ers and Jim Harbaugh have never had an issue with position battles in camp. Not only do they tend to the get the most out of players, but it also provides even more motivation for the guys in the offseason when it's easy to sit around and relax. Despite recently re-signing starting quarterback Alex Smith, the 49ers added yet another quarterback on Thursday evening: Josh Johnson.

Johnson, a fifth round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, has started just five games while primarily backing up Josh Freeman. The 25-year-old thrived at San Diego University under head coach Jim Harbaugh, and the front office must feel like there is enough potential left in Johnson to hand him a two-year deal. Maybe his former coach is all he needs to become a quality starting quarterback once again.

"Josh is a promising young player that has experience in our offensive system," said 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke. "He is a skilled athlete with good arm talent. Josh has shown promise in limited action, both as a back-up and starter at the NFL level. We are pleased to add him to our team."

It is unclear just how Johnson will fit in with San Francisco. This now gives the team four legitimate quarterbacks -- Smith, Johnson, Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien -- and does not include any other QBs potentially added at the NFL Draft next month. You would think Smith would have the job locked down given his recent success and playoff run, but he will have plenty of competition behind him should he falter early in the year.

For more on Johnson and the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.


49ers Free Agency 2012: Team Re-Signs WR Ted Ginn Jr. And Are Set On Returns

At one point or another during this free agency period, the San Francisco 49ers have been ready to part ways with Alex Smith and Carlos Rogers, and from the beginning, there weren't many people even questioning whether or not wide receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. would be coming back. Most figured the 49ers would let him walk, for one reason or another.

Defining those reasons is actually kind of hard. He was never set to make a ton of money, and the team used him as their primary kick and punt returner in 2011, so why was it thought that he wouldn't be making a return? It's likely because most saw him on offense so much, and the 49ers just added two new receivers in Randy Moss and Mario Manningham.

But that's the thing - San Francisco doesn't really want to use him as a receiver so much. He's one of the better return specialists in the league. And the team announced, via Twitter, that Ginn is coming back on a one-year deal. It's kind of sudden, mostly because there wasn't any talk of Ginn returning for several days, and nobody had reported that the team was making attempts to bring him back.

Ginn was hoping to get a chance to play more receiver in 2012, but this writer's guess is that won't happen. He did get significant time in 2011, with injuries to the wide receivers and a complete lack of ability from Braylon Edwards. Now, he'll focus on being a return-man, and possibly be the fourth or fifth guy down on the depth chart.

Either way, it's a solid signing for the 49ers. They've brought in some guys who can handle kick returns, in Rock Cartwright and Perrish Cox, but punt returning is serious business that not just everyone can do. Ginn is one of the top players at the position and has been since entering the league. Ginn's important can be explained just by watching the NFC Championship game, when Kyle Williams filled in and committed a couple costly turnovers that cost the 49ers the game.


Mario Manningham On Joining 49ers: 'That's The Team I Wanted To Go To'

The San Francisco 49ers were happy to finalize their deal with wide receiver Mario Manningham on Thursday afternoon, and held a conference call soon afterwards to discuss his feelings on his digs out West, and what he expects from his new team.

"I wanted to go to the 49ers, that's the team I wanted to go to," he said during a conference call with reporters. "They have a good coaching staff, great players around them and I know what they're capable of doing," Manningham said.

Manningham agreed to his deal before the whole Alex Smith, Peyton Manning thing really heated up, and wanted to make sure that it was known that the possibility of Manning joining the Niners had nothing to do with his decision:

"I thought he was coming to the 49ers but he didn't, he went to Denver. So good luck with him with there, and I just wish everything the best for him. We have Alex Smith -- he's a great player and he played good last year. I knew it was a possibility but I wasn't picking them because of that."

Manningham joins a group of Michael Crabtree and veteran Randy Moss, a rather solid core of receivers on paper. Now the question will be how Alex Smith meshes with his new targets. Either way, it's certainly exciting to have some more playmakers on the squad.

For more in depth discussion and analysis of the San Francisco 49ers, make sure you check out Niners Nation to get in on the action.


Mike Wallace An Attractive Option For 49ers, But Not At Larry Fitzgerald Money

At the beginning of this free agency period, there was a small push by fans campaigning for the San Francisco 49ers to sign Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. It just so happens that this writer was leading that campaign, but that's neither here nor there. The biggest issues in regards to signing Wallace are that he'll cost any team a first-round pick due to his restricted free agent tender, and he'll cost boatloads of legal tender.

Now, this writer is of the opinion that the 49ers need to go out and get a No. 1 receiver, and they need to pay him like one. San Francisco hasn't been paying a No. 1 receiver in some time, and it's about time they sink $9 million to $11 million per year into that position to get someone dependable.

But according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, Wallace didn't just want No. 1 money. Wallace was looking for ridiculous money. Barrows says that Wallace is looking for a deal that exceeds Larry Fitzgerald's deal of eight years at $120 million. That's insane ... absolutely insane in every way. Wallace is only 25 years-old, and is definitely a No. 1 receiver, but he's not the No. 1 receiver.

It does feel good to know that the 49ers did look into signing Wallace at the start of free agency, though. It shows that the team knows they need to get better, even after signing Mario Manningham. That being said, it doesn't mean Wallace is fully off the market. If he wants to get paid sooner rather than later, he could budge on his contract talks and take, say, a shorter deal.

The other teams interested aren't likely to pay him that number, either. So Wallace can either make less than $3 million this year or lower his demands. That being said, it might be smart for him to just play out this tender and his unrestricted free agency in 2013 - but then the Steelers could use the franchise tag on him. There's a lot of options right now, but it's a good bet to say that there are teams interested in paying him like a No. 1. Just not .. Fitzgerald No. 1.


NFL Free Agency 2012: Geoff Schwartz, 49ers, Begin Contract Negotiations, According to Report

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch the San Francisco 49ers and free agent lineman Geoff Schwartz have begun contract negotiations, looking to fill the void of Adam Snyder departing for the Arizona Cardinals.

"We're excited - we think San Francisco could be a great fit," said Deryk Gilmore, Schawrtz's agent. "We have to reach agreement on little things. If we can do that, I could see him being a Niner blocking for Alex (Smith) ... Hopefully, San Francisco knocks us out."

Gilmore also noted that Schwartz enjoyed meeting both head coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst during his visit as well.

Schwartz, the seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2008, sat out last year with a hip injury but played every snap for Carolina in 2010, starting at both right guard and right tackle, possibly providing some extra versatility on the O-line for San Francisco if he decides to sign with them.

For more on the San Francisco 49ers, please head over to Niners Nation, SB Nation's preposterously passionate 49ers blog.


Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers, Officially Agree To Three-Year Deal

More: On Alex Smith Signing

The San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Alex Smith have officially come to terms on a three year deal worth $8 million a year and $16.5 million guaranteed, keeping the bromance of head coach Jim Harbaugh and Smith intact for a few more seasons after a tumultuous week for free agent QB's across the nation.

"We are pleased that Alex has chosen to continue his career as a 49er," said 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke. "His contributions were instrumental to our success in 2011, and we look forward to the continued growth of our offense under his leadership"

Smith is coming off his best year as a professional, leading the 49ers to a 13-3 record, the NFC West division crown and a trip to the NFC Championship game. He started all 16 regular season games, completing 273 of 445 passes for a career-high 3,144 yards with 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also posted a career-high 90.7 QB rating, while leading the 49ers to five, 4th-quarter comebacks in the regular season.

For more on Alex Smith and the 49ers in general, please head over to Niners Nation.


Alex Smith Contract Details: 49ers Give QB $16.5 Million Guaranteed, Three Years, According To Reports

It's been a long and somewhat confusing free agency period for the San Francisco 49ers. More accurately, it's been long and confusing for their fans, who have had to follow along while their team tries to court Peyton Manning. That's all over now, and the horrible, broken relationship with all of the hurt feelings and face-slapping between Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith has been mended.

That was sarcasm, if you didn't catch that - a nod to the folks who have been putting way too much emotion into the business side of things. So let's just pass that on by and get to more business-related things. The 49ers had a reported offer of around $24 million over three years for Smith during the Manning saga, so it was assumed his eventual contract would look a bit like that.

Janie McCauley is reporting via Twitter that Smith's deal is worth $33 million altogether. It confirms a three-year deal, with $8 million per season and $16.5 million guaranteed. This fits the bill of three years at $24 million, with the other $9 million or so coming from incentives. None of this is confirmed, but it is a solid launching point for the discussion and the numbers seem pretty accurate.

What's going to be interesting is seeing what Alex's year one cap hit is, and how much space the 49ers have to make some moves. They've got a decent amount of space left, but still don't have a right guard and will have to sign all of their draft picks. It'll be interesting to see what year three looks like, as most assume it will be time for Colin Kaepernick by then.


2012 NFL Free Agents: James Davis Works Out For Raiders, Plans Workout With 49ers

The Oakland Raiders began the search for possible running back depth options as they worked out former Browns, and Redskins running back James Davis. The former Clemson running back was a sixth round pick of the Browns back in 2009 and has been a limited producer in the NFL. He had 19 carries and four receptions in 2010, but spent 2011 bouncing between the Texans and Lions practice squads.

The Raiders are in need of running back help as they try to figure out the post-Michael Bush era. Darren McFadden will remain their starting running back, but given his injury history, depth is needed. The Raiders are hoping for big things from Taiwan Jones as a complement to McFadden, but he is only a second year back. At this point it would help to bring in some competition, even if Davis has not been the most dynamic of running backs.

The 49ers running back situation is focused on Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, but they are on the lookout for competition for third string back Anthony Dixon. Although Dixon brings great energy to special teams, he has a bad habit of being a bit too much of a dancer for a big guy. Although he continues to stick on the roster, the team continues their search for competition.


49ers, Mike Wallace Rumors Just Won't Go Away - Ready For Some Kaepernaction?

Stop us if you've heard this one. The San Francisco 49ers could be in pursuit of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. This idea has been around since the start of free agency, when Wallace become a restricted free agent tendered at the first-round level. This means that, in order to get Wallace, the 49ers would need to pay him more than Pittsburgh is willing to, and also forfeit the 30th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

That statement in and of itself ("forfeiture of first-round pick") is a scary one to most NFL fans, but take a look at that number again. No. 30. That's a spot where the 49ers aren't guaranteed to find somebody they really like, especially at positions of need like offensive guard and wide receiver. Is Stephen Hill a better option than Wallace? Surely not.

Wallace is, again, 25 years old, very productive, and one of the best deep threats in the NFL. On the 49ers, he'd be an instant No. 1 receiver, and the great thing is, there's plenty of room for him. Sure, the 49ers just inked Mario Manningham to a two-year deal, but Manningham certainly isn't a No. 1 receiver. In fact, he's best suited in a slot role, which leaves Michael Crabtree to be the No. 1 guy.

While Crabtree showed a lot of poise and promise as the 2011 season dragged on, he hasn't lived up to his status as a top-ten pick and it's not likely that he ever will. But as a No. 2 guy, Crabtree really could flourish. Don't even mention Randy Moss, because he has no business being in any projected top three right now, which isn't a terrible thing. Moss is a tryout -- an undrafted rookie and nothing more. Forget about him for now.

Peter King is the one who isn't letting the Wallace rumors die down, suggesting that San Francisco could be in play under certain circumstances. King isn't a believer in Colin Kaepernick, and suggests the 49ers would sign Josh Johnson for a low number, but the point is that if San Francisco loses out on the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and Alex Smith ends up going to the Miami Dolphins, then they'd have considerable money to throw at Wallace.

Personally, this seems like a real possibility. The 49ers knew the risks of flirting with Manning when it came to Smith's status, and we all know that the team traded up to pick Kaepernick in the 2011 NFL Draft. They clearly believe in Kaepernick, and what better way to support him than by giving him Wallace? Kaepernick certainly has a huge arm -- try and find a better situation to put him in than starting QB of the 49ers, with their special teams and defense and guys like Wallace, Crabtree, Manningham, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore on offense.

Just try. We'll wait.


NFL Free Agents 2012: Alex Smith Negotiating With Miami Dolphins, According To Report

Alex Smith seemed to be secure in his spot as San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Well, at least until Peyton Manning became available. Now the 49ers seem to be very much in the running for landing him, which could mean the end of a tumultuous seven year campaign

The Miami Dolphins want a quarterback, and they really wanted Peyton Manning, but now it's likely they might have to settle. With Matt Flynn going to Seattle and Manning looking at all of his options, Smith might become the best possible player available. Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports.

In a seemingly sudden and stunning development, free-agent quarterback Alex Smith is in negotiations with the Miami Dolphins, according to an NFL source.

Smith led the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC championship game last season and although he was a free agent, the assumption through most of the offseason what that he would return.

If Smith ends up with Miami, it would be a pretty shocking turn of events for a quarterback that seemed committed to his team and had a pretty good contract deal in place from San Francisco. It also means the Dolphins don't seem as confident as they were at the beginning of this process to land Manning. Who knows what'll happen now.

To talk about Smith with 49ers fans, go to Niners Nation. To discuss Smith with Dolphins fans, head to the Phinsider.


NFL Free Agents 2012: OL Geoff Schwartz, 49ers, Reportedly To Meet Tuesday

As the San Francisco 49ers look to replace Adam Snyder, free agent offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz is scheduled to meet with the Niners this week, according to Samuel Lam of the San Francisco Examiner.

Lam notes that the meeting will take place this Tuesday with the third year guard out of Oregon, who has experience at both right guard and right tackle positions, and could prove some extra help for the 49ers O-line. Daniel Kilgore will likely step forward as Snyder's replacement, but Schwartz is a solid addition to the right side regardless.

Schwartz has started 19 games since his 2008 debut with the Carolina Panthers, but missed all of 2011 with a hip injury with the Detroit Lions.

For more in depth discussion and analysis of everything San Francisco 49ers, make sure you head over to Niners Nation, SB Nation's dedicated 49ers blog, to get in on the action and show off your fanhood.

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49ers Free Agency 2012: So They've Got Mario Manningham, Now How About A Guard?

The San Francisco 49ers are certainly making moves during this free agency period, though many of them have been pretty unexpected. Largely dominating the headlines is the news about Peyton Manning, but just underneath has been the search for a wide receiver, which has been mostly spoiled by the Washington Redskins and some other teams. Guys like Pierre Garcon and Chaz Schilens signed elsewhere, but the 49ers waited patiently and got their guy in Mario Manningham.

He's not a player that inspires a ton of confidence given his recent level of play, but he seems to have more "boom" potential than some of the other aforementioned receivers, and probably didn't come with a high price tag. In short, it's a good signing at face value.

And now the 49ers can move on to something more important. No, not Manning - though that is definitely more important. What the 49ers need to move on to right now is the signing of a right guard. Why is that more important than the wide receiver position, you might ask? Because the 49ers have Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Randy Moss. Sure, the latter isn't much of anything right now, and as big an unknown commodity as a Mr. Irrelevant pick at this point, but there's bodies there.

There's nobody to play right guard. There's not even a guy who fans are lukewarm about who could potentially play if need be. Daniel Kilgore is the closest to fitting that mold and he just ... really doesn't. He's not ready, he's not even approaching the potential of possibly being ready some day. It's not often a team goes through free agency this long without having a starter or backup at an actual position.

Look for the 49ers to really make a push for someone like Geoff Schwartz when he visits on Monday.


49ers Free Agency: Fans React To Mario Manningham Deal

The news broke late on Friday night that the San Francisco 49ers had reportedly come to a two-year agreement with wide receiver Mario Manningham, formerly the guy making impossible, game-changing receptions for the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants. The deal would be a blockbuster move for a team that formerly had no top-tier wide receivers and will only fuel the rumors that Peyton Manning may be coming to town.

Over at Niners Nation, the comments were exploding with fan reactions to the news, many of whom believe this move may be the appetizer for the Manning main course. Here is just a sampling.

89ers: "With our quarterback situation in flux why would Manningham sign with us now versus waiting a few days to have this situation work itself out... Why would he sign on with us without knowing who the starter would be, knowing full well that it could be figured out soon? I think Manningham might know something that we don't"

Some fans also pointed out that, including tight ends, the Niners just became a very, very deep receiving team in the past week with the acquisitions of Manningham and Randy Moss.

49ersfanforever: 10-4 there….having a string 3 TE set gives us a lot of flexibility for both run and pass. Remember that Harbaugh took a stud like Toby and put the Cardinal in the National Championship hunt. He transitioned that into the team that almost took it all with Luck at QB this year. Harbaugh will stress balance on offense and need to get the third down efficiency up by using the 3- TE sets (especially on 3rd and 2-4 yards). We will go after another TE in the draft, me thinks.

It is certainly looking like -- Manning or no Manning -- the 49ers have every intention of making another deep playoff run in 2012.

For all news and information regarding the San Francisco 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.


49ers Sign Mario Manningham To 2-Year Deal, According To Report

The San Francisco 49ers looked to be having a relatively quiet offseason ... until this past week. The team has suddenly made a flurry of interesting moves, including signing the formerly-retired Randy Moss and supposedly attempting to lure superstar quarterback Peyton Manning. Now it appears as though they've acquired another top-flight wide receiver, perhaps with an eye to pairing him with Manning.

ProFootballTalk reported on Friday night that the 49ers and Mario Manningham have agreed on a two-year deal. Manningham, formerly with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, was a productive part of a Manning-Manningham touchdown tandem ... although the Manning in question was Peyton's brother, Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

The signing will certainly do nothing but fuel the rumors about Peyton coming to San Francisco. Perhaps this was the final piece they needed to convince the free agent QB of their intent to go all the way and build a capable wideout selection for him. This certainly would go a long way toward supporting that theory.

For all news and information regarding the San Francisco 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.


San Francisco 49ers Reportedly Offer Alex Smith Three-Year Deal, Complicating Peyton Manning Situation

The odd situation in San Francisco just keeps getting weirder: after the 49ers suddenly became involved with free agent Peyton Manning, the team has now reportedly offered current quarterback Alex Smith a three-year deal worth $24 million dollars. Smith figured to be the quarterback for the 49ers for at least the 2012 season, especially after the team came up just short of a Super Bowl appearance with him at the helm.

So here are the questions: are the 49ers thinking they are out of the Manning sweepstakes, or are they simply covering all their bases in case they miss out on Peyton? Is this a smokescreen to prevent other teams from seeing their plans? If they sign Smith and then get a shot at Manning, what do they do with Smith and his $24 million dollar deal?

It really isn't clear at this point.

Fortunately for fans, their days of having to stalk Twitter should come to an end in the near future. Reports surfaced from league sources that Manning will make a decision by Monday or Tuesday, although it was not confirmed. At this point, it's probably best just to sit back and watch everything unfold.

Or go back to stalking Twitter. That's always fun, too.

For more on SF and their pursuit of a quarterback, head on over to Niners Nation.


49ers Free Agency 2012: San Francisco Still Without A Guard

While the San Francisco 49ers are engaged in Peyton Manning escapades and hijinks, they still have two pretty serious holes to fill in either free agency or the 2012 NFL Draft. Those holes are at right guard and wide receiver. Signing Randy Moss doesn't give you a pass when you only have Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams to supplement him. So they'll continue to play that market, but as it stands, right guard is just a little more important.

How important? They don't have anybody to play the position.

More than that, they don't have anybody to be a backup at the center position, either. Adam Snyder was the starter, who could also play some center if he needed to, while Chilo Rachal was the backup. There's no Rachal on the horizon, as 49ers fans would have committed mass suicide had he actually been re-signed, while Snyder has been snatched away by the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals.

San Francisco sorely needs to fix this position, sooner rather than later. They've been bringing in some guys, like Leonard Davis and Geoff Schwartz, but neither inspire much confidence. One option remains in the NFL Draft, and it's actually a good one. There are a ton of high-value guards that could be around when the 49ers are picking at No. 30.

The biggest problem with this is how shallow the wide receiver market has gotten. Vincent Jackson, Josh Morgan, Eddie Royal, Pierre Garcon and just about everyone else are all gone. There are better guards available than their are receivers. On top of that, there may be some even higher value receivers at No. 30 than there are guards. So it's really a tough choice to see which one they'll wait on.

This writer thinks the 49ers should sign a guy like Schwartz if at all possible, and try and draft a guard relatively soon to compete. It's really hard to outline such things, given that you'll never know how the draft will line up, but the 49ers do have wide receivers and do not have a right guard. So there's that.


Peyton Manning Reportedly Set To Announce Decision On Monday Or Tuesday

The Peyton Manning saga has featured numerous twists and turns, and it looks like an announcement may be coming in the near future. After the news came on Friday that the San Francisco 49ers were a dark horse to land the future Hall of Famer, the Bay Area has been fascinated with the thought of bringing No. 18 to the franchise. According to a report on Friday evening, league sources are expecting a final decision by Monday or Tuesday.

Here are a few details:

And another:

That last tweet is certainly a possibility and there is a very real chance that this could turn into Brett Favre Finds A Team 2.0, but delaying the announcement doesn't really seem like something Peyton Manning would do. He is focused on getting healthy and back into game-shape and flying around the country while visiting with coaches that are drooling over him isn't exactly going to help his neck.

Stay tuned, folks. I'm sure this will be a very busy weekend for rumors, whispers and reports from the always-reliable "sources".

For more on the 49ers, head over to Niners Nation.


NFL Free Agency: Mario Manningham Talking To Rams, 49ers, Various Reports Coming In

The 2012 class of free agents in the NFL is rich with wide receiving talent. While some guys like Marques Colston and Vincent Jackson will go for millions and millions of dollars, it's a guy like Mario Manningham where a team typically finds the most value. The talented WR is looking at various clubs to potentially sign with this spring, including the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams.

There were vague reports that came in on Friday afternoon that Manningham was nearing a deal with the Rams, but those rumors have since been refuted. Here is the latest on the situation:

The appeal that comes along with St. Louis is the potential to become the immediate No. 1 option in the passing game for Sam Bradford, while Manningham would have to battle with Vernon Davis, Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree and others in the Bay Area. If the 49ers were so somehow scoop up Peyton Manning, though, I would imagine that receivers from all over the country would be flocking to play in San Francisco.

Stay tuned, folks. There is a lot of smoke surrounding Manningham right now, but the situation should clear up soon.

For more on Manningham, the 49ers and their pursuit of Peyton, head over to Niners Nation.


Peyton Manning Met With Jim Harbaugh, 49ers Tuesday, According to ESPN

Before he threw a single pass for John Elway and the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning had reportedly already worked out and took a physical for the San Francisco 49ers in a super sneaky workout and meetings in Durham, North Carolina earlier this week according to ESPN.

Both offensive coordinator Greg Roman and head coach Jim Harbaugh were in attendance for the workout Tuesday at Duke University, who described it to an ESPN source as 'very impressive.' They then asked for a follow up physical, getting Manning checked out on Wednesday in the Durham area as well.

Peyton still has to meet with delegates from the Tennessee Titans before he really starts to sit down and make some decisions, though he's visited the Broncos and Cardinals already. Some unconfirmed developments such as the Seattle Seahawks parking a jet in Denver in a failed attempt to visit with No. 18 have occurred as well, according to ESPN's sources.

For more on the Niners chances to sign Peyton, head over to Niners Nation.


Peyton Manning Works Out For 49ers, According To Report

Many have speculated whether or not a 'mystery team' would get in on the running for the services of Peyton Manning, as well as why the San Francisco 49ers haven't had much interest.

Well, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen Manning had a workout for Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers this week, and even took a physical for them, effectively joining the race late. But late is always better than never:

This would clear up some of the confusion of Alex Smith's contract status as well, as the team has basically put signing Smith on the back burner (or off the heat completely) while quietly making a play on No. 18. From his other suitors in Tennessee and Denver, the 49ers would be leaps and bounds the most talented team he could join, and with all the cap space they've been opening up, the numbers could line up just right to land him.

For more on the possibility of Manning as a 49er, head over to Niners Nation to get in on the action.

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Shawntae Spencer Not Cut By 49ers For Lack Of Ability, Can Still Play

Shawntae Spencer is not a cornerback who should stay unemployed for very long. The San Francisco 49ers announced his release on Thursday for a couple of reasons, none of which fall into the category of "not performing to expectations." In fact, Spencer continually outperformed what was expected of him while playing for the 49ers, and was always better than he'll ever be given credit for. It was injuries and a lack of familiarity that made the 49ers go in another direction - they simply had other plans for the cornerback position.

A lockout and some training camp injuries forced Spencer into inactivity for much longer than he was actually injured, and once he did return, he got hurt again. These aren't injuries that look terribly bad on his resume, considering it was turf toe that sidelined him a second time (or something like it), and that's essentially unavoidable. In short, the 49ers just weren't able to dedicate time to catching him up to speed on the system and giving him time when they have a guy like Carlos Rogers having a breakout year and rookie Chris Culliver trying to learn the ropes.

Now, the 49ers are trying to get younger at the position, with Perrish Cox being brought in as a guy who is high on potential, and there's not a whole lot of room for an aging Spencer. More than that, there's not a whole lot of room for a guy who is making more than $3 million and was not healthy in 2011.

And that's why the cut was made, more than anything - he's not going to make $3 million per year. That isn't to say he can't play at that level for one season, he just can't convince a team of that before actually getting onto a football field. Before all of the lockout nonsense, Spencer had worked his way into the starting lineup and was easily better than Nate Clements at most things - especially coverage.

Spencer won the starting job back when he wasn't even considered a factor. He wasn't even given the "dark horse" candidate label, he just simply was a non-factor. Then he impressed Greg Manusky and the rest of the 49ers coaching staff, and he got the job. He covered very well, though he didn't force a lot of turnovers. One thing Spencer did very well was cover Larry Fitzgerald, something that remains somewhat of an anomaly at this point.

At any rate, I'm establishing that Spencer has something left in the tank, providing that he's healthy, and will find a team and get some playing time in 2012.


NFL Free Agents 2012: Mario Manningham Visits 49ers, Visiting Rams

The San Francisco 49ers have one considerably huge need in free agency: Wide receiver. The 49ers passing game was considerably restrained the past few years, not doing enough to lift the team to the Super Bowl. With Josh Morgan leaving in free agency to the Redskins, the Niners need to find new guys that can fix things up.

San Francisco has already made one big move with Randy Moss, but he is well past his best days. The 49ers might be going for someone more current.

Obviously the 49ers would love to have a big play receiver like Manningham, particularly since he was the one who made the most crucial catch in the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl last season. However, Manningham's value is probably higher than it should be right now because of his recent success, so San Francisco might be forced to pay up.

The Rams could be the ones who might pay top dollar here to give Sam Bradford more targets, so the 49ers might be a little behind.

To discuss the idea of Manningham joining the 49ers, hit up Niners Nation. To talk about Manningham on the Rams, check out Turf Show Times.


Rock Cartwright Signing A Good One For San Francisco 49ers Special Teams

You can rest easy, San Francisco 49ers fans, as the chances of the team bringing back fullback Moran Norris are now slim to none. Actually, they were already pretty close to that mark, but given the power running attack the 49ers utilize, the team didn't really have a true backup fullback in the scenario that Bruce Miller goes down with an injury like he did in 2011. Any scenario in which Norris might play is regarded as a doomsday scenario, more-so than any other potential backup scenario since ... well, since 2011 and Chilo Rachal at the right guard position.

Oh yes, back to the original point - being that the 49ers have signed Rock Cartwright to a contract in free agency. Now, Cartwright isn't known for his fullback prowess and he certainly doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in that area, but a backup is a backup, to varying degrees, and the 49ers can't afford to put too much stock into one of them. So why the excitement over Cartwright?

He's a special teams ace, and in case you forgot, the 49ers just lost one of those aces in Blake Costanzo, who signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears after not receiving an offer from San Francisco. San Francisco knows all too-well what it's like to lose one of their prized special teams possessions, when Michael Robinson and Donald Strickland departed during the Mike Singletary "era." The coverage units suffered and it cost them at least a couple games.

Regardless of the fact that the 49ers have C.J. Spillman and guys like Colin Jones and Tavares Gooden, they absolutely needed another guy, preferably a high-energy kind. Cartwright fits that bill in every way and can be a leader on and off the field. He's going to hustle to make every tackle and he's going to do his best to make everyone around him better. Most importantly, he's a big locker room guy, and for the 49ers in particular, that's something they need.

Why is it important for the 49ers in particular? Just look at the energy of their special teams unit in 2011. Everybody was dancing, everybody was hyped up and everybody had total trust in every single person there. They were the most energetic unit in the NFL - and the most effective. The 49ers need to keep that going.


NFL Free Agency: FB Rock Cartwright Joins 49ers According to Report

The San Francisco 49ers continue to make some waves in free agency as the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora is reporting that veteran fullback Rock Cartwright is heading West across the Bay, jumping ship from the Oakland Raiders to join to 49ers for the 2012 season.

Rock is a special teams assassin and bruising tailback that will certainly help fill some the FB void the 49ers had, who used converted rookie Bruce Miller there much of the year after playing defense in college while Moran Norris is a free agent this year. The 10 year veteran will see most of his time as a backup and on special teams.

Just a few days ago he won the Raiders Commitment to Excellence Award for the second straight time for his outstanding character and determination. Cartwright spent his first eight seasons with the Washington Redskins, before heading to the Raiders for the pervious two.

For more on the 49ers, please check out Niners Nation.


NFL Free Agency 2012: San Francisco 49ers Release CB Shawntae Spencer

The San Francisco 49ers have been busy in free agency thus far and the team made yet another move on Thursday morning when they announced the releasing of veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer. The 30-year-old Spencer was drafted by the team in 2004 and appeared in 98 games over the years, including nine this past season. Adam Schefter of ESPN has the news via Twitter:

Spencer had developed into a top-tier cornerback just a few seasons ago while serving as a starter for the 49ers, but an injury early in this past season cost him his job, opening the door for Tarell Brown. Between Spencer turning 31 in a few months and already having a solid secondary in place, it did not make sense for San Francisco to bring him back for a few more seasons.

"The 49ers would like to thank Shawntae for his eight years of service to the organization and the Bay Area community," said 49ers General Manger Trent Baalke. "He has always represented himself, his family and this organization with the utmost class. We wish him, and his family, the very best."

For more on the 49ers and to talk NFL free agency, be sure to visit Niners Nation.


NFL Free Agents 2012: Veteran Guard Leonard Davis To Visit 49ers

According to a report for CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco veteran guard Leonard Davis will be making a visit to San Francisco 49ers team headquarters on Wednesday, looking to get back to the game he loves.

Davis, 33, is an 11-year veteran, who didn't participate in a single snap during the 2011 season after signing with the Detroit Lions halfway through the year last season. The 6-6, 355 pounder was the No. 2 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals back in 2001, moving between them and the Dallas Cowboys over the last ten years. Dallas let him go after the lockout lifted.

Davis is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and has no other visits scheduled, so he'll likely be landing with the 49ers or no where at all.

Free agent guard Adam Snyder is visiting the Arizona Cardinals today, meaning Davis could serve as a replacement for the position if he leaves.

For more news and notes on the 49ers offseason, head over to Niners Nation. For more on the NFL in general, especially the free agency frenzy, make sure your head over to SB Nation's dedicated NFL hub.

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Free Agency 2012: 49ers Showing Interest In Laurent Robinson, Chaz Schilens

Day two of free agency is here, and with it comes more and more speculation surrounding the San Francisco 49ers and the wide receiver position. Day one saw the big names snatched up, and then a group of mid-tier guys all heading to the Washington Redskins, including Josh Morgan, who has played his career (until now) with the 49ers. They also signed Pierre Garcon and Eddie Royal, making the pool of available receivers much more shallow.

Now the 49ers have turned their interest to an even lower tier of receivers, with Chaz Schilens being the guy discussed through the night and set to visit on Wednesday. Schilens has played with the Oakland Raiders and probably would have been very productive if he could have stayed healthy on a consistent basis. Instead, he was hurt often, and wasn't able to use his great size to help him into the top tier of receivers.

Still, he remains an intriguing option - but he's not the only one. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported, citing a source, that the 49ers are now expressing interest in former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Laurent Robinson. He's received interest from a few teams thus far, but there's no visit scheduled with the 49ers just yet.

Robinson had 11 touchdowns in 2011, and is just 26 years-old. Starting just four games, he had over 800 yards and is hoping to make the next step in production in 2012. If he can make that jump, then he'll certainly be valuable to the 49ers, who currently don't have much at the wide receiver position and not a ton of cap room left to work with.


Randy Moss Contract: 49ers Assume No Financial Risk By Signing Veteran Wide Receiver

The San Francisco 49ers made an interesting low-risk, high-reward move this week when they signed veteran wide receiver Randy Moss to a one-year deal. While Moss isn't close to being the All-Pro receiver he was five or so years ago, the 35-year-old reportedly looked great while working out for teams and still possesses one of the better set of hands in the league. And for his price tag, what did the 49ers have to lose by signing him?

Pro Football Talk of NBC breaks down his performance-based contract for 2012:

Per a source with knowledge of the contract, the new contract that Moss signed with the 49ers carries not a penny of guaranteed money.

Instead, Moss will receive a base salary of $1.75 million. He'll be eligible for another $46,875 for each game that he is on the active 46-man roster. If he's active for every game, he'll get a total of $750,000.

Moss also can earn up to $1.5 million in incentives tied to playing time, receptions, and qualifying for the Pro Bowl.

Most importantly, if the 49ers decide at any point before Week One that it's just not working, they can cut Moss and owe him nothing.

Is there anything to not like about this deal? Best-case scenario means Alex Smith gets a reliable target to throw to, worst-case is Moss gets cut if he isn't performing or if he starts to cause a headache for his teammates or coaches. Moss could potentially earn upwards of $3 million dollars with a strong season in 2012; if that isn't enough incentive, he'll also get to face the Vikings and Patriots, his two former-teams.

For more on the 49ers and Moss, check out Niners Nation.


Free Agency 2012: 49ers Lose Blake Costanzo, Who Goes To Chicago, But Why?

The first stretch of the 2012 free agency period has been hectic, to say the least. Or maybe it's just hectic because San Francisco 49ers fans are rabid for a lot of odd things, while the team is somewhat inactive, as is the usual case. While the fans worked themselves into a frenzy over Mike Wallace and the potential departure of linebacker Blake Costanzo, the team quietly courted guys like Eric Wright and Brandon Carr, before ultimately re-signing Carlos Rogers.

Unlike the Wallace frenzy, the fans had a good reason to get worked up about a potential departure for Costanzo, because he actually left. He signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Bears, and in doing so did not spurn the 49ers organization even a little bit. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

Before free agency started, you'd have been hard-pressed to find a player that had the perception of remaining with the team more than Costanzo. We previously said it'd be hard to see him leave, even if the 49ers offered him, oh, a hundred bucks a game. But during the day, it was revealed that Costanzo had two offers on the table - neither of them from the 49ers. That ended with a Twitter-wide double-take and tons of passionate fans Tweeting Costanzo, the 49ers and Jed York.

Costanzo took to Twitter, re-tweeting all of the positive messages from fans and noted several times that he did not want to leave. It looks like the 49ers didn't have him in their plans going forward.

And that could be a problem. The 49ers had an excellent defense in the NFL in 2011 - perhaps the best. As a reaction to that, San Francisco retained all of the defensive starters, capping it with the aforementioned Rogers signing. On the flip-side, their special teams unit wasn't just the best in 2011, it was among the best in recent memory, and at the forefront of the coverage units was Costanzo.

So why not bring him back? There's a couple possibilities, like the 49ers feeling like their schemes going forward would better suit some other players on the roster. They do have Colin Jones, who played a lot of special teams in 2011 but didn't really "get" it until late in the season. They could be expecting him to step up alongside C.J. Spillman and lead the coverage units. Curtis Holcomb could be back and healthy, ready to contribute.

Still, it's somewhat of a head-scratcher, given the relatively low amount that Costanzo will be paid in Chicago.


NFL Free Agents 2012: Brandon Lloyd Expected To Visit San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers undoubtably need to improve upon their receiving corps for the upcoming year and they have two legitimate options: free agency and the NFL Draft. While many have the team selecting a WR in the first round, it appears the team is starting to entertain the idea of bringing a big name free agent to the Bay Area. The latest name to be linked to the 49ers? Brandon Lloyd.

Fans may recall that Lloyd reportedly rejected a mid-season trade that would have sent him to San Francisco from Denver before eventually heading to St. Louis. And yes, this is the same Brandon Lloyd that ducks from footballs.


The veteran receiver would certainly be a welcome addition and could provide Alex Smith with another reliable target to throw to outside of Vernon Davis, recently-signed Randy Moss and (potentially) Michael Crabtree. Lloyd has drawn interest from multiple organizations around the league and does not appear incredibly eager to sign, but this will definitely be a story to watch for in the coming days.

For more on the 49ers and to discuss their free agency plans, head over to Niners Nation.


San Francisco 49ers Offseason: Carlos Rogers Contract Details

Cornerback Carlos Rogers' has agreed to terms with the 49ers that will keep the Pro-Bowler in San Francisco for four more years. Rogers had six interceptions and 18 passes defensed for the 49ers' vaunted defense, and was a big part of their run to the NFC Championship Game.

This is welcome news to Niners fans, as earlier in the day ESPN's Howard Balzar had reported rumblings that the St. Louis Rams would pursue Rogers, and many took this as evidence that the team was preparing for that eventual departure by signing free agent cornerback Perrish Cox. Cox will make his return to the NFL after sitting out of 2011 while on trial for sexual assault.

To discuss Moss and the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.


San Francisco 49ers Offseason: Randy Moss Contract Details

Wide reciever Randy Moss was signed to a one year deal by the San Francisco 49ers, at minimal risk for both sides. The 49ers have only committed a minimal amount of money to him, so if he doesn't work out they can cut him loose real quick. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports.

In addition to a base salary of $1.75 million, Moss will earn $46,875 for every game he is active on the 49ers' 46-man roster -- a possible $750,000, if he plays in all 16 games. Moss can make another $1.5 million in incentives based on playing time, receptions and being named to the Pro Bowl team.

I'm guessing he'll want all that money as straight cash, homie.

With Josh Morgan apparently on his way to the Washington Redskins, Moss's ability to produce with San Francisco becomes that much more crucial. The 49ers need wide receiver production if they expect to have a consistent enough offense to win a Super Bowl next season, particularly in the passing game. Utilizing Moss as a deep wideout threat to stretch the field vertically and allow for more action for the remainder of the offense will be crucial.

To discuss Moss and the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.


2012 Free Agents: 49ers Interested In Brandon Carr, Eric Wright

Most of the updates regarding the San Francisco 49ers and this free agency period have revolved around the wide receiver market. Could Mike Wallace be an option, will they be in on Vincent Jackson, they're out of the Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan market - things of that nature. The first real, pertinent news to actually concern them and their intent to sign someone since the beginning of this period doesn't feature a receiver at all.

Jason LaCanfora is reporting via Twitter that the 49ers are in pursuit of Detroit Lions cornerback Eric Wright. He's only 26 years-old and had a productive season with the Lions in 2011, with 16 passes defensed, starting all 16 games and without safety help a lot of the time. He also picked off four passes and looked good doing it.

We'll see where that goes in the near future, as the 49ers are supposed to be very interested. In the mean time, it looks like they're really getting set for a cornerback push, as Adam Schefter reports that the 49ers are in on Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr as well.

Carr is just about entering his prime and is a solid option to go forward as the No. 1 corner. It's hard to think about Carlos Rogers being on his way out, but Carr has age and upside on his side, as does Wright, to a slightly lesser extent. Both of these players had stellar 2011 seasons and have been looking forward to hitting free agency to see what they can get.


Josh Morgan Reportedly Set To Sign With Redskins, 49ers Getting Worse At WR

Coming just after the Washington Redskins took Pierre Garcon off the free agent market (potentially with a ridiculously high salary), they're making headlines again in the wide receiver market. As is the case with anything having to do with a wide receiver, it's going to affect the San Francisco 49ers, as they're definitely in the market for another receiving target, despite the signing of Randy Moss.

Adam Schefter is reporting, via Twitter, that the Redskins are close to signing Josh Morgan, who has only played for the 49ers up to this point. So, obviously it's going to have more of an effect on the 49ers than the Garcon signing. No word yet on whether or not it's a done deal or the money involved, but many figured Morgan would re-sign with the 49ers.

San Francisco certainly made it known that they were planning to bring Morgan back. It's going to be odd to see him in another uniform, but more than that, the 49ers now have VERY limited options at wide receiver, with Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams being the only guys under contract (along with the aforementioned Moss).

Morgan is from the area, so it makes sense that he's going back to Washington. In the scope of an hour, the Redskins have drastically improved at wide receiver with a new quarterback coming in the 2012 NFL draft by all accounts, and the 49ers have done nothing but sign a guy who might still possibly maybe kind of/sort of run a streak route in Moss.

Let's see where this goes!


Pierre Garcon Signing With Redskins, 49ers' WR Options Shrink In Free Agency

Free agency is here, and the San Francisco 49ers are going to be on the phone all day and night, according to Jed York. Apparently, they're a bit slower with the phones (or perhaps with pre-deadline tampering) as multiple deals are getting done across the league. The most pertinent deals in regards to the 49ers are those relating to the wide receiver market.

The first one off the presses is a big one, and announced by the player himself before us salty media types could get our precious Tweets out: Pierre Garcon took to Facebook and Twitter to announce that he'll be signing with the Washington Redskins. There's no information regarding his pay, but Bleeding Green Nation did Tweet that it was at $8 million per.

Right now we're unsure if that's just a dig at the Redskins and Daniel Snyder or an actual figure - but it seems out of this world. Again, that's out of this world in regards to all sane teams but par the course for the Redskins. That number seems really high and if it sets the tone for this free agency period, the 49ers really could be in trouble in regards to actually getting someone under contract. As it stands now they really only have Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss.

Neither of those two names inspire a whole lot of confidence. There are still other guys on the market, like Vincent Jackson and the 49ers' own Josh Morgan, but those guys could all have potential deals elsewhere. We'll wait on something official. For now, Garcon is off the market, potentially at a somewhat ridiculous cost.


49ers Re-Sign Tavares Gooden, Working To Keep Strong Special Teams Intact

The San Francisco 49ers made a move at the start of free agency, though it's nothing huge and something that could have happened, you know, a couple months ago. The team announced that they've re-signed linebacker Tavares Gooden on a one-year deal. It is somewhat surprising due to the lacking playing time he received in 2012, but it's all likely for minimum dollars, so surprise is limited in that vein.

Gooden did not see the field much on defense, but that's not a huge knock against him. The 49ers had Larry Grant to be their backup inside linebacker behind superstars Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Not getting playing time against that group of players is nothing to be upset about, by any stretch of the imagination. It's likely the 49ers would have played Gooden if Grant was not available though, as he's had starting experience in the past.

Most of his work came on special teams, where he was part of one of the best groups of special teamers in recent memory. He wasn't one of the core guys that you think about when you consider the impact players (C.J. Spillman and Blake Costanzo come to mind), but anything the 49ers do to keep that group together as a whole can only be a good thing. It's hard to argue with keeping all the pieces of that group together.

There's also a chance that Gooden has a vote of confidence on the defensive side of the ball. Grant has been tendered with an original-round tender, meaning seventh-round, and it's likely he finds some more money elsewhere. The 49ers might consider Gooden a solid backup candidate in the event that Grant is on his way out. He did have plenty of playing time with the Baltimore Ravens before coming to San Francisco, and in fact, many 49ers fans expected to see more of him.


Brandon Marshall Trade: Miami To Chicago Deal Improves 49ers' WR Free Agency Chances

It's no secret that the San Francisco 49ers are widely considered to still be in the market for a wide receiver in free agency, despite signing Randy Moss to a one-year deal before the period began. The market shrank a little when Marques Colston re-signed with the New Orleans Saints with a five-year deal. Now it looks like the market got a little bit better for San Francisco.

Just before we hit the mark for free agency (oh God it's starting), Jay Glazer broke a pretty big trade on Twitter, as Brandon Marshall appears to have been traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Chicago Bears for a couple of third-round picks. Marshall is one of the NFL's best receivers and likely wanted to hook back up with Jay Cutler in Chicago to get his career on track.

This is pertinent because it was no secret that the Bears were likely in the wide receiver market in regards to the available free agents. That's less competition for guys like Vincent Jackson or Mike Wallace, on top of the other tier of receivers, like Josh Morgan. It's unlikely the Bears will commit a ton of resources to further shoring up the position with a clear No. 1 guy like Marshall in the mix.

There's still plenty to get in the way of the 49ers signing a guy - like the fact that Wallace would require a first-round pick, the Washington Redskins vomiting money all over the place and, of course, the fact that the 49ers still have some deficiencies in the secondary and on the offensive line.


Perrish Cox Contract: 49ers Get Cornerback For Minimum Salary

Earlier today, the San Francisco 49ers announced the signing of free agent cornerback Perrish Cox to a two year contract. The talented but recently troubled cornerback was out of the league in 2011 as he dealt with a sexual assault charge and his new contract shows that he is simply looking to get back into the league and prove himself. Reports indicate the contract is for the league minimum both years.

The only real question mark surrounding Cox's talent was a slow 40-yard dash prior to the 2010 NFL Draft. However, as Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft points out, Cox has generally appeared to play faster than his 4.6 40-time would indicate. He is not a big guy, but he has the ability to play very physical, which can help him against the sizable wide receivers in the NFL.

For the 49ers, the deal represents a low risk, high potential opportunity. If Cox struggles on or off the field they can release him at minimal cost. If Cox shows he has turned over a new leaf and becomes a strong player, it could be quite the coup for the team.


Perrish Cox Signing: 49ers Get High Potential With Very Questionable Character

With the news that the 49ers have confirmed the signing of Perrish Cox to a two-year deal comes ... well, not a whole lot of clarity. With Carlos Rogers not having a deal in place and the free agency period set to start in just under two hours, the 49ers are definitely not set at the cornerback position. They've got guys like Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver, with Tramaine Brock also having recently re-signed, but there's not much else.

So what does Cox bring to the table?

He brings a whole lot of character issues that the 49ers hope are resolved. It's unclear how they plan to use him, but he's been considered a very high-potential guy at the cornerback position and would appear to still have some upside. But he's not a guaranteed commodity by any means, especially coming out of the fifth round.

That being said, Cox fell to the fifth round for a couple reasons. On one hand, he ran a slow 40 and that took him down from perhaps a second-round status, and there were wide reports of potential character issues. Those character issues eventually dropped him down to the 137th pick in the draft, where the Denver Broncos took him. There was some definite talk about his upside, as a potential successor to Champ Bailey, which certainly is high praise.

On the field with Denver, Cox played well, and made a successful transition to playing corner in the NFL. Then there was the sexual assault charge that led to his arrest and release from the team. Those are two very dirty words, and something 49ers fans generally aren't familiar with when it comes to one of their rostered players. In short, Cox was charged with raping an incoherent woman, though he was very recently declared not guilty.

It's true that the "in short" is followed by something very serious and very hard-hitting. It's kind of odd, as the 49ers aren't typically signing guys with these kind of character issues. Suffice to say that everyone, and especially this writer, hope that Cox didn't ever approach the level of sickening that the case alleged and that he is beyond being in those kinds of situations.

So back to the present day, where he was given a two-year deal, a year away from football and doesn't seem to have a whole lot planned in regards to what he'll be doing in 2012 with the 49ers. There is a big chance that Cox will be used as a return-man on punts and kickoffs, something he was highly productive with in college. This would mean that Ted Ginn Jr. is unlikely to be back with the 49ers in 2012 and could sign elsewhere once free agency starts.

But he almost surely will get a chance to play on defense. The 49ers are not stacked in their secondary and he should have plenty of opportunities to play up to the fact that he was considered one of the highest potential corners in the 2010 draft. From a potential standpoint, the signing makes world of sense and he can probably do some great things if he's stayed in as good a shape as he says he has. He spent a ton of time training, has played under Ed Donatell, and has some connections on the roster that could be a good influence.

Only time will tell if the Cox signing is a good one, but it's likely that this is a very team-friendly deal, regardless. Now it's a question of whether or not Jim Harbaugh can keep that locker room in check, especially with someone like Randy Moss having just been brought in, as well.


San Francisco 49ers Free Agency 2012: 49ers Sign Former Broncos CB Perrish Cox

According to a tweet from ESPN's Josina Anderson, the San Francisco 49ers have signed former Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox to a two-year-deal.

This signing comes on the heels of the Niners re-signing cornerback Tramaine Brock to a one-year deal on Monday. Cornerback Carlos Rogers is expected to be pursued by the rival St. Louis Rams so the Niners are doing what is necessary to make sure their defensive backfield is prepared to face the high-powered quarterbacks and offenses it will face this season.

Cox was released by the Denver Broncos prior to the 2011 season amid a sexual assault case which he was found not guilty on March 2. Mile High Report describes him as a "high risk, high reward type player" with "unquestioned talent". But his off the field issues have always been a concern both before he was drafted and now.

Cox played 15 games in 2010, starting nine for the Broncos and recorded 58 tackles, one interception and forced two fumbles. He can also serve as a return man.

Editor's Note: GM Trent Baalke commented on th


2012 NFL Free Agents: Carlos Rogers Could Be Popular With Rams

2012 NFL Free Agency will get started at 1:00 p.m. PT and one of the more popular free agents could be San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers. Coming off his best season as a pro, Carlos Rogers will be looking to capitalize and ink a long term contract extension with big guaranteed dollars. He has indicated a preference to remain in San Francisco, but the 49ers are likely unwilling to overspend for the free agent cornerback.

Now it sounds like the 49ers divisional rivals, the St. Louis Rams, will be looking to get in on the Rogers sweepstakes. They need to overhaul a sizable chunk of their defense, and adding Rogers as their top cornerback would be a strong first move. Although he did have a career year at the age of 30, he has always been a fairly solid cornerback. His issues had always been with regards to holding on to interceptions. He figured that out this past year and benefited accordingly.

Although the 49ers would re-sign him for the right price, that price might have lowered even further following the addition of former Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox. At this point, the 49ers would seem intent on starting Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver, and having Cox compete with Tramaine Brock and Curtis Holcomb for nickel time.


Saints Reportedly Re-Sign Marques Colston, 49ers' Receiver Options Shrinking In Free Agency

One of the biggest needs for the San Francisco 49ers heading into free agency (and if not addressed there, the 2012 NFL Draft) is wide receiver. The signing of Randy Moss to a one-year deal laden with incentives and low on risk doesn't change the fact that the 49ers don't have a true No. 1 target as the go-to guy. It's now abundantly clear that Michael Crabtree isn't going to be that guy, so the team could be active once free agency opens at 1:00 p.m. pacific.

There will be one less guy on the market though, as Jay Glazer is reporting via Twitter (with a scoopage, or something) that the New Orleans Saints have agreed to bring Marques Colston back on a five-year deal. There's no details on the dollar amount yet, but it's important for a couple reasons.

For one, Colston was considered one of the top three receivers to hit the open market. The others are Mike Wallace and Vincent Jackson, though the former is a restricted free agent with a first-round tender applied to him. His re-signing means that teams needy at the position may pay higher for guys like Jackson or even the mid-tier of receiver set to hit (including San Francisco's own Josh Morgan).

For two, it means that the Saints may not be able to sign some other important pieces, who could now be hitting the market in a matter of hours. One such piece is offensive guard Carl Nicks, who the 49ers would definitely benefit from having. Nicks is among the league's best guards, and while the 49ers haven't truly been linked to him, it's an interesting possibility with the Saints possibly out of the picture.

In regards to Colston, some teams were wary of him, anyway. His skill-set is not thoroughly broad, nor is he "the" highlight reel receiver, he's just crazy productive. The biggest question mark is how much of that is him and how much of that is the Saints' high-flying offense. It's ridiculously hard to judge their receivers, and it was probably best for everyone that Colston remained with the Saints.


Randy Moss Contract: 49ers New Receiver Reportedly To Get $2.5 Million Base Salary

Well, it's not quite the huge wide receiver signing that some fans expected, but Randy Moss is the newest member of the San Francisco 49ers. He worked out with a couple teams, but ultimately signed a deal with the 49ers after one workout in the Bay Area. Teams are wary of Moss due to his declining play, his age and the fact that he's been trouble in the locker room at one point or another.

That being said, Moss was pursued by teams due to the perception that he wasn't going to cost a lot of money. Teams didn't necessarily "need" Moss as much as he needed them, so the deals could be structured accordingly. There's now some information coming out in regards to just how much Moss will be paid during his one-year deal with the 49ers, and it definitely fits the bill of "low risk."

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported via Adam Schefter that the deal is for $2.5 million, with another $1.5 million possible in incentives. At first glance, $2.5 million does seem a bit high, but the guaranteed dollars are not known and Moss is expected to have a short leash. To reach even the initial $2.5 million, he'll likely need to play in each game and, you know, actually be on the roster.

The guaranteed dollar amount isn't as important now that we know the base is $2.5 million. That number alone shows that it's team-friendly, but it will be interesting - at the least - to see if Moss worked a higher guaranteed number in there to sign before free agency kicks in, as opposed to going and trying out elsewhere, muddying the waters a bit for the 49ers in regards to where they stand on acquiring receiving talent.


Randy Moss Is A Niner, So What's Next?

Now that Randy Moss is in town, what does that mean for the San Francisco 49ers? What changes? Or does anything change at all? As with the reaction to the surprising signing of the briefly retired future Hall of Fame receiver, the future is just as interesting and unpredictable.

SI.com asked the questions, ‘does Moss have anything left in the tank?', ‘who will throw him the football?' and ‘how will Jim Harbaugh adjust for Moss' abilities?' ESPN.com even took it as far as calling Moss the ‘new Braylon Edwards', after the failed marriage between Edwards and the Niners ended before the playoffs last season.

It is all relevant. Moss didn't finish his last season in 2010 strong and is 35-years-old. Alex Smith is still working on a contract with the Niners but who knows if he'll be able to continue his successful campaign from a year ago. And adding Moss to a run-first, ball control offense has internal conflict written all over it unless the Niners are getting a Moss that just wants to play football.

And that remains to be seen.


Randy Moss Signing With San Francisco 49ers Reaction

The San Francisco 49ers now have Randy Moss on their team. It could be a big signing for them, or it might just be a big name. It's unclear how crucial the signing will be to the team's hopes of winning, but it's clear Jim Harbaugh believes it's an important signing.

How exactly will it affect the Niners? David Fucillo, our esteemed SB Nation Bay Area editor and Niners Nation expert, provides his thoughts on the new signing.

1. Think Moss will be the #1 option for the 49ers, or just become another face in the crowd?

David: Although we don't have contract details yet, as a one year deal, this is pretty low risk. Given what they learned from Braylon Edwards struggles, I think they will be looking for another significant option. Moss is there to stretch the field and be a deep threat to open up the middle of the field for Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, maybe Joshua Morgan if he re-signs.

2. Based on how the way the 49ers offense runs, will they utilize Moss to open up the passing game, or further reinforce a run-heavy style?

David: They signed Moss to be a deep threat. There have been question marks about his willingness to get into the blocking side of things. You don't sign Randy Moss to reinforce a run-heavy offense. It doesn't mean they're suddenly going to a spread offense, but it provides a deep option for Alex.

3. Will (and should) San Francisco still take a receiver with their first pick?

David: I still think they could, particularly if a young speedster like Stephen Hill drops to them.

To talk about Moss with 49ers fans, head on over to Niners Nation.


San Francisco 49ers, Jim Harbaugh Pick Randy Moss Up From The Airport

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss seems to be well-liked by head coach Jim Harbaugh. How do we know that?

Here are some more quotes about Moss; check out the conference call by clicking here.

  • Moss liked the 49ers upside considering how close they came to the NFC Championship, and it's something he looked at and evaluated. Jim Harbaugh is a young, enthusiastic coach, and Moss loved that enthusiasm.
  • Moss still remains really passionate about football, but he just had some personal issues that cost him from playing last year.
  • Moss doesn't really know Alex Smith that well, but is looking forward to working with everybody.
  • Moss says he didn't discuss a lot about his role. Whatever his role is, he just wants to get out there and be productive.
  • Moss found it intriguing to reach out to the 49ers to come out and give everything he had today. He just wanted to come out and get back to what I do.
  • Moss believes he's here to "play football and stretching the field", meaning the 49ers seem interested in stretching the field with him.
  • Moss likes what he can do for the NFL, doesn't like what the NFL can do for him.
  • Moss signed a one year deal, but he just wants to play football "one day at a time"
  • Moss was asked about Harbaugh's blue collar mentality: "They've done their homework on me otherwise they wouldn't have brought me in there."
  • Moss understands how the sports world shows his reputation and he thinks the 49ers have done their research.

To discuss Moss, Harbaugh, and the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.


San Francisco 49ers, Randy Moss Agree To One Year Deal

The San Francisco 49ers believe they came up one solid wide receiver short of an NFC championship last year, as the 49ers had to rely almost solely on Vernon Davis to open up the passing attack for Alex Smith in the playoffs. Michael Crabtree was ineffective in that number one receiver role. It seemed like the NFL Draft would be the perfect spot to find that type of player, but San Francisco is also looking like they want at least one quality free agent as well who could make an immediate impact.

Adam Schefter of ESPN files this report.

Moss was a great receiver back in the day, but he will be 35 years old this season and did not play in the league in 2011. In 2010, Moss played for three different football teams (traded from the New England Patriots, waived by the Minnesota Vikings, retiring after finishing the season with the Tennessee Titans), managing only 28 total catches and 393 yards. This could just be a calculated risk by Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke to find a brief talent burst before replenishing the coffers with greater receiver talent.

And if he fails? You cut him and move on.

To discuss Moss and the 49ers with San Francisco fans, head on over to Niners Nation.

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