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August 4, 2011
E-trade: 49ers are shopping Taylor Mays

It turns out that the 49ers' signing of veteran safety Madieu Williams wasn't just about prompting Dashon Goldson to sign the team's contract offer. According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, the 49ers are actively shopping safety Taylor Mays to the point where they sent an email to the 31 other teams notifying them that Mays is available.

Taylor Mays.bmp

Mays, of course, was a second-round pick last season. With Goldson unsigned, he has been working with the starting group next to safety Reggie Smith, who has had a solid start to camp. However, in the first practice of training camp the safety starters were Smith and C.J. Spillman, who has since had to watch practice along with players like Alex Smith and Ray McDonald because he is a free-agent signee.

As some of you will recall, the live feed into the 49ers draft room in April of 2010 seemed to show an argument between then-coach Mike Singletary and Trent Baalke, who was running the draft, when the team's second-round pick was approaching. It appears now as if Baalke wasn't too keen on drafting Mays. Baalke instead was believed to have been interested in quarterback Jimmy Clausen. When Clausen went to Carolina one pick ahead of the 49ers' selection, the team took Mays.

Mays also was the source of tension in the 49ers' locker room last year. When veteran safety Michael Lewis, who started the first three games, learned that the team planned to give Mays more playing time at his expense, he felt betrayed and quit the team. Mays started the next six games but began to struggle and was replaced in the starting lineup by Smith. The team's secondary coach, Johnnie Lynn, left the team later in the year under unexplained circumstances.

Would the 49ers be able to find a trading partner? Mays was passed over by his college coach, Pete Carroll, in the first round last year, which left Mays fuming. He and Carroll, now the Seahawks coach, have since made up. The most obvious landing spot is Minnesota where Singletary is the linebackers/assistant head coach.

Williams, who signed a one-year deal yesterday with the 49ers, played in Minnesota last year. Meanwhile, the Mays' maneuver makes it seem as if Goldson's return is more likely.

-- 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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