49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 12, 2011
Q&A: Niners looking at potential hole at center

@mattbarrows with the problems the niners had at center and the heittman getting old, why don't the niners draft a center around 4th round?less than a minute ago via Echofon

A: While I'm not sure the 49ers had "problems" at center - David Baas played very well there in 2010 - your basic point is valid: There's no guarantee that either Baas or Heitmann will be back this season. Baas is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and with his background at center and guard, he could be a hot commodity on the FA market. (Watch out for Dallas). Heitmann, meanwhile, is still dealing with neck/upper back issues that knocked him out of the 2010 season, and his future is cloudy. Tony Wragge, the team's third option at the position, also is scheduled to be a free agent. Adam Snyder, who is under contract for 2011, only dabbled at center last offseason. The 49ers looked at a few late-round centers last year but never pulled the trigger. I suspect they are doing the same this season. Still, it seems as if Baas is in a very good bargaining position when free agency resumes.

@mattbarrows if cba gets done or litigation opens offseason will 49ers fight for kolb say maybe a 2012 1st rd pickless than a minute ago via twidroyd

A: It's interesting. The sooner the labor situation is settled, the sooner the 49ers can bring a quarterback to team headquarters to start learning the offense, practicing with receivers, etc. That is, the earlier he gets in, the more the 49ers could justify giving up a high draft pick for Kolb. The 49ers could argue that Kolb is better than anyone a good team could pick up in the 2012 draft and that Kolb would make the 49ers a good team. I spoke to a couple of Philadelphia writers about Kolb at the recent combine and owners meeting. They both liked Kolb and thought he was talented. But they both said he struggled when he had to deal with pass-rush pressure and that he had to be "clean" to be effective. (Counterpoint: The 49ers sacked him four times on Oct. 10 and he still finished with a 103.3 passer rating).

@mattbarrows If the CBA gets done today (haha), how will it increase/worsen the chances of Niners re-signing their free agents?less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

A: The only silver lining for the 49ers in a drawn-out labor dispute is that is increases their chances of re-signing their own free agents because there only would be a small free-agency window prior to the start of the season. Of course, that lining might not appear so silver-y if you are not an Alex Smith fan and he's one of the FAs who returns ...

@mattbarrows we have seen your draft crush, who is your "trade/Free Agent" crush? Do you have s 49er QB to be crush?less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac

A: Matt Hasselbeck ... because he's bald. Oh, and because he'd be a great West Coast mentor for a young quarterback. Alas, I don't think he'll leave Seattle, which leads to this question ...

@mattbarrows do you think Seattle has a good chance to snag Alex smith because of the scott mcloughlin connection?less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

A: Yeah, I think that would be a great landing spot for him, especially if they retain Hasselbeck. That would allow the cerebral Smith to do what he should have done early in his career: apprentice behind a smart and capable veteran.

-- Matt Barrows


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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