49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 1, 2009
Q&A: Tis the season for QB soap operas

Question: Out of curiosity, was Bryant Johnson considered deficient as a blocker? I'm looking at the "new BJ's" size and stats that come with a bigger contract, and in four seasons he's only had one catch for more than 40 yards, and one season with more than 40 catches. Reportedly, he has better speed to stretch the field...but if Shaun Hill is fluttering it to him, does it matter past 30 yards? Has to be that Hill will be replaced with a bigger arm for sure, or Jones is a better blocker.
Mike, Montclair. NJ

Answer: You're hitting multiple nails on their heads. I think speed is the underlying factor here. Brandon Jones has more of it than Bryant Johnson. Remember back in 2007 when the Ravens D-coord asked Mike Nolan why the 49ers didn't play Ashley Lelie? Lelie isn't a great WR, but because he was so fast, his mere presence scared defenses. The 49ers must make sure they have enough speed on the outside so that teams don't stack the box like they did in 2007. ... Now can Shaun Hill make enough downfield plays where that speed becomes effective? That's what the 49ers are asking themselves. That his deep passes tend to flutter is the only thing that keeps from nailing down the starting job and it's what gives life to all these add-a-quarterback - Vick, Sanchez, Warner, oh my! - stories. I hope Hill's doing 50-pound preacher curls right now...
- Matt

Question: I just read on profootball.com that Jay Cutler may be on the trading block. The 9ers need to get in on some of that. I would rather have Cutler than Warner. Do whatever it takes to get Cutler if the Broncos are stupid enough to get rid of him. I'm not sure how much juice 49ers have in a trade. After all, Denver picks right behind them.
Martin, Fort Worth

Answer: I gotta say - I'm also surprised the Broncos were dangling Cutler, who has been - by far - the best of that ballyhooed group of 2006 QBs. Josh McDaniel must have been smitten by Matt Cassel in New England. ... That being said, now that Cassel is off the market, I doubt Cutler's going anywhere.
- Matt

Question: What's the deal with the Chiefs getting Matt Cassel from the Pats at the grand ole cost of a second round draft pick? If that's all it took to get a (seemingly) good QB why didn't we go there? Isn't a 2nd round draft pick a deal compared to paying the 10-12 million Kurt Warner would reportedly go for? What gives??? I thought Cassel was going to go for big bucks, the fact that he didn't and the fact that we didn't go there is really annoying. ps- I vote for Vick over Warner.
Caitlin, SF

Answer: Yes, it seems like the Patriots wanted no part of a Top 5 pick. Maybe that says something about the quality at the top of the draft this year. The Patriots looked at who would be available at the Chiefs' No. 3 and thought - gee, we'd have to pay an awful lot for that guy. The Patriots are more comfortable at the end of the first round and beginning of the second. Watch - they'll draft someone like Brian Robiskie or Connor Barwin and he'll be a perennial Pro Bowler. Dunno why the 49ers didn't jump on that trade. Maybe the Chiefs' second rounder was more appealing. Maybe Cassel felt comfortable with Pioli rebuilding the team. Maybe Pioli has better phone numbers.
- Matt

Question: Do you think a Warner/Boldin package is out of the realm of possibility? Don't the 49ers have enough cap space? Isn't this something that the 49ers have to seriously consider?
Kyle, Lake Stevens, WA

Answer: Boldin is not a free agent like Warner. He's still under contract with the Cardinals, which means that negotiation with him would lead to the "T" word and a loss of a draft pick.
- Matt

Question: Hey Matt love the Blog. Do you know if the Niners plan on getting a solid nose tackle either in Free Agency or the draft? Aubrayo Franklin is not the answer since I've rarely seen him eat up more than one blocker and the key to a successful 3-4 is a plug the middle type of nose tackle. Isaac moves around too much to be one so who is the answer? Do you know if the Niners were looking at the Boston College guys at the combine? Thanks
Steve, Bend, OR

Answer: There are still some solid NTs on the market, but the 49ers' approach thus far has been to add to the defensive end position. If that happens, I would assume they would move Sopoaga - or maybe even Kentwan Balmer - from left defensive end to nose tackle. I'm sure the 49ers were looking at B.J. Raji and Ron Brace, but I still think it will be an OT at pick No. 10.
- Matt

Question: Hey Matt, since the 49ers are bringing back players they once cut, do you think the 49ers would be interested in bring back Kwame Harris? The knock on him was his pass protection but he was an above average run blocker. Since the 49ers are going to be a running team, it may be a good idea to give him another look and he will probably come cheap
Teddy, Kenner, La.

Answer: I hear ya, Teddy, but is Kwame any better overall than Barry Sims or Adam Snyder, two guys already under contract?
- Matt

Question: Quick question. How exactly does an "uncapped year" work? Does that mean that next year there will be no limit to how much each team can spend on players? If That's the case, then two more questions; What's going to stop Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones from paying $200 million per free agent and not leaving anybody out there, and if there's no limit next year, why are the Niners holding off this year? This might be a simple question but I'd appreciate an answer. Thanks in advance.
Carlos, Hayward

Answer: Yes - an uncapped year means teams can spend as much as they want or as little as they want. That's why the 49ers are so intent on getting their own soon-to-become free agents locked down to deals this year. ... I have no doubt that the Redskins and Cowboys will outspend everyone else in an uncapped year. But they've been the biggest spenders in recent years and it hasn't bought them a championship. I think there's a big risk in assembling a collection of superstars who might not be as motivated because they've already landed massive contracts. The crappy economy also might serve as a de facto "cap."
- Matt


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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