49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 30, 2013
14 for '14: SF must look a year ahead when it comes to draft haul


Kudos to Mike Sando - he works for some outfit called ESPN - for pointing out today something that's been in front of our noses all along but hasn't been fully articulated until now. The 49ers' 14 draft picks this year are valuable not just for filling current holes on the roster but for plugging future ones as well.

Sando notes that several big-name starters - such as Justin Smith and Donte Whitner - are under contract for just one more season. As Dashon Goldson's situation this month illustrates, the 49ers won't be able to hold onto everyone in coming years, especially with a potential mega deal for Colin Kaepernick on the horizon. That's why having 14 draft picks is such a boon to the 49ers right now and so crucial to sustaining success. It gives them the ability to plan for the future with relatively cheap labor.

Here are players scheduled to become free agents in 2014 along with some potential replacements in the draft. The 49ers also are likely to parlay some of the picks this year into even higher picks next year.

* WR Anquan Boldin. He said he'd be interested in extending his contract. If the 49ers are looking for another physical, big-bodied wide receiver in the draft, the best one is located up the road in Berkeley: Keenan Allen.

* CBs Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock. In my view, Brown, 28, has been the most consistently good cornerback on the team over the last two seasons. Brock, who currently is a restricted free agent, always has been a favorite of GM Trent Baalke. The team has been looking at cornerbacks both in free agency, Nnamdi Asomugha, and the draft, David Amerson, Tyrann Mathieu, B.W. Webb among others. That is, it's a safe bet the 49ers will add at least one more cornerback to the mix by April 27.

March 29, 2013
Ex 49er Kwame Harris wishes he had come out during playing career

Former 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris said he wished he had had the strength to be the first gay player to come out during his playing career, but at the time he didn't see being gay and playing in the NFL as "compatible."

"Now when I look back in hindsight, if I could have done it differently I'd like to think that I would find the strength or find the fortitude or the grace to kind of make the hard decisions," Harris told CNN Friday morning.

Harris, 31, was the 49ers' first-round draft pick in 2003, and he played for the team through 2007. The Raiders signed him in 2008 and he has been out of football since. His sexual orientation was revealed last month when he was charged with assaulting an ex boyfriend.

March 29, 2013
49ers pre-draft visit tracker

Each NFL team is allowed to host up to 30 draft-eligible players over the next few weeks. Back in the olden days, the 49ers would release this list of players prior to the draft. If you asked for that list today, you would be frisked, escorted out of the building and your name would be placed on Trent Baalke's "Suspicious Persons" list. (I'm exaggerating ... right?). So you have to pick up information where and when you can.

That said, here's an ongoing list of visits and workouts I will update between now and the start of the draft on April 25.

Defensive linemen

* Georgia DT/NT John Jenkins is scheduled to visit the 49ers the week of April 9. Source: NFL.com

* Alabama DT/DL Quinton Dial will visit the 49ers. Source: Scout.com.

* British discus thrower Lawrence Okoye visited the 49ers April 10. Okoye, who has excellent size and speed but who never has played American football, is being eyed as a defensive end. Source: Detroit Free Press

* The 49ers attended Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine's individual workout and had dinner with him the night before. Source: The Sacramento Bee.


Penn State outside linebacker Gerald Hodges will visit the 49ers the week of April 15. Source: Scout.com


* LSU's Tyrann Mathieu will visit the team on April 9. Source: The Sacramento Bee

* Houston's D.J. Hayden visited the 49ers on April 15. Source: XM Radio


* Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien will visit the 49ers, date unknown. Source: Pro Football Talk

* Florida S Josh Evans has a workout scheduled with the 49ers. Source: The Sacramento Bee

* Nevada's Duke Williams (he also plays CB) has a workout with the 49ers, date unknown. Source: Scout.com

* Central Michigan safety Jahleel Addae visited the 49ers. Source: Scout.com

Wide receivers

* West Virginia's Tavon Austin is scheduled to visit the 49ers April 2. Source: The Sacramento Bee.

* Louisiana Tech wideout Quinton Patton had a pre-workout dinner with the 49ers. Source: The Sacramento Bee.

* Eastern Kentucky wide receiver Tyrone Goard will work out for the 49ers. Source: Scout.com

* Fordham wide receiver Greg Wilson is scheduled to work out for the 49ers. Source: NFLDraftBible.com

Offensive linemen/tackles

* San Jose State OL David Quessenberry will visit the week of April 15. Source: The Sacramento Bee.

* Azusa Pacific tackle Luke Marquardt is scheduled to visit the 49ers. Source: The Sacramento Bee.

* Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Jordan Mills had a workout for the 49ers. Source: Scout.com

Tight ends

* The 49ers were one of three teams who had a private workout with tight end Matt Furstenberg (6-3, 244). Source: NFL.com.

* Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce will visit the 49ers the weekend of April 13-14. Source: The Sacramento Bee.

Have you seen reports of other 49ers-related visits or workouts? Please post below. Thanks - The management.

-- Matt Barrows

March 29, 2013
'Honey Badger' Tyrann Mathieu to visit 49ers

The Honey Badger will visit Santa Clara.

According to a league source, former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, a staple of national headlines for the last two years, will visit the 49ers on April 9. Mathieu had a memorable 2011 season at LSU but was kicked off the team for rules violations and did not play in 2012.

The 49ers have been looking at cornerbacks throughout free agency. However, they mostly have been big-bodied players capable of playing press coverage. At 5-9, 186 pounds, Mathieu is considered a nickel cornerback, someone with the quickness to cover the opponent's slot receiver. That's been a two-year problem for the 49ers (See: Cruz, Victor) and one that could get worse now that Percy Harvin is in the division.

March 28, 2013
"It was crazy": Crabtree says QB decision initially divided 49ers locker room


Michael Crabtree today described a divided locker room after Colin Kaepernick supplanted Alex Smith at quarterback as well as the bizarre sight of seeing Smith, the longtime starter for the 49ers, suddenly relegated to backup duty at practice.

"I hate to talk about it. But you have the starting quarterback and a couple of weeks later, he's the starting scout-team quarterback," the 49ers receiver said on the Rich Eisen podcast (which is well worth a listen). "And he's taking all the snaps with the scout team. It was kind of crazy to see."

Smith and Crabtree have had an uneasy relationship. In 2010 Crabtree intimated that he preferred Troy Smith's go-for-broke approach to Alex Smith's more conservative one. He also seemed to resent the fact that he broke his foot before the 2011 season while taking part in an lockout practice organized by Alex Smith. Earlier this week, Crabtree said on NFL Network that Kaepernick "trusted me more" than Smith, which is why his statistics were better later in the season.

March 28, 2013
49ers offseason schedule released

As was the case last year, the 49ers will have three separate OTA sessions this offseason and will end their spring sessions with a mandatory minicamp June 11-13. Per the collective bargaining agreement, each club has a voluntary, nine-week offseason program (starting April 15 for most teams) that is divided into three phases.

* Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

* Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a "separate" basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

* Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or "OTAs". No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permissible.

Each team also can hold a rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft.

49ers schedule
First day of offseason schedule: April 15
OTAs: May 21-23, May 28-30, June 3-6
Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

- Matt Barrows

March 28, 2013
QB Pat White visiting the 49ers today


The phone call that former West Virginia quarterback Pat White placed to Jim Harbaugh earlier this month hit the mark.

White flew into the Bay Area last night and was on the field throwing the ball with the 49ers coach this afternoon, a source confirmed. White is the only quarterback known to have visited the 49ers, who likely will add two to their offseason roster. The hope, at least from White's camp, is that the he signs with the 49ers before he departs.

White threw for 6,049 yards and had 56 touchdowns for the Mountaineers while rushing for 4,480 yards and 47 touchdowns, and in that way has at least some of the characteristics of the 49ers' starter, Colin Kaepernick.

White placed a call to Harbaugh after West Virginia's pro day earlier this month. White performed for scouts both at the West Virginia and Virginia Tech pro days.

"I pay attention to how his players react to Coach Harbaugh," White told USA Today over the weekend. "They all want to win for him. And he seems to treat them how they want to be treated. I'm excited to get to know him on that level -- if I do get that opportunity. I'm very optimistic about making it back to the NFL."

White, 27, was the 44th overall pick by the Dolphins in 2009 and has been out of football since the Dolphins released him at the end of training camp in 2010. The 6-0, 190-pound White attempted five passes his rookie season ion 2009. None of them were complete, he was sacked once and and he fumbled once. He also rushed 21 times for 81 yards.

White has been working with San Diego-based quarterback coach George Whitfield in an effort to spark an NFL comeback.

The 49ers, meanwhile, have just two quarterbacks on the roster at the moment - Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien. Josh Johnson, who spent the 2012 offseason in Santa Clara, signed with the Bengals last week.

-- Matt Barrows

March 28, 2013
Safety in numbers: Who will be Dashon Goldson's heir in the secondary?

Which safety could the 49ers tap next month as the heir to Dashon Goldson? Take your pick. It's a good to very good year for big-bodied, hard-hitting safeties, which likely is why the 49ers felt they didn't need to get into a bidding war over Goldson, who signed a huge deal with Tampa Bay.

The 49ers' plan at the position seems to be one in which Donte Whitner and newly signed Craig Dahl - two of the smartest players on the team - mentor a young player until he is ready to step in. The 49ers also promise to have plenty of competition at the position with C.J. Spillman, Darcel McBath, Trenton Robinson and Michael Thomas thrown into the mix.

Here are the top players at the position. All are expected to be taken in the first or second rounds of the draft.

1. Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International, 6-1, 209.
Pro Football Talk reported Wednesday that the 49ers are on a long list of teams Cyprien will visit over the next few weeks. That's typical for a smaller-school player. Scouts will have made far fewer stops at Florida International than they did, say, Florida State, and the file on Cyprien is likely much thinner. Cyprien is well-built and aggressive like Goldson, and he can cover a lot of ground in pass coverage. He also looked good when matched against some of the best receivers and tight ends in the nation at the Senior Bowl.

March 27, 2013
Beep, beep! 49ers set up visit with speedy wideout Tavon Austin

Perhaps the most electric and exciting prospect in this year's draft will visit the 49ers.

West Virginia wideout Tavon Austin, who scored 12 receiving touchdowns last year and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds, is scheduled to meet with the 49ers next month, according to a league source. Austin also has visits lined up with the Patriots, Bengals and Dolphins among others.

At 174 pounds, Austin is one of the smallest players in the draft, and any team that takes him must decide whether he can be an every-down type of player. The ultra-confident Austin, however, noted at last month's scouting combine that he never missed any games with the Mountaineers and that he played running back extensively as well. He ran the ball 72 times for 643 yards last year in West Virginia's wide-open offense, and he scored three touchdowns on the ground. In that way, he'd be yet another formidable weapon for Colin Kaepernick in the 49ers' variable offensive system.

March 27, 2013
Phantom phone call: 49ers QB pursuit remains a mystery


Yes, Jim Harbaugh and Pat White spoke on the phone earlier this month. But the 49ers' interest in the former West Virginia quarterback may not be quite as strong as previously supposed.

According to a source with knowledge of the conversation, it was White who, at the prompting of his agent, placed the call to Harbaugh, not the other way around. White hasn't thrown an NFL pass since he was released by the Dolphins at the close of the 2010 preseason. He's taken part in recent pro days at West Virginia and Virginia Tech in an effort to spark new interest.

White told USA Today that he hoped to work out in front of Harbaugh and the 49ers coaches.

The Dolphins drafted White in the second round in 2009 when Bill Parcells ran Miami's personnel department. Parcells has since said he regretted the pick. "He just wasn't a prototypical quarterback pick," Parcells told the Miami Herald in 2011. "He was a great college player, and we let that color our judgment."

Parcells, meanwhile, gave 49ers GM Trent Baalke his first NFL scouting job with the Jets, and Parcells has remained a mentor for Baalke.

The 49ers likely will add two more to the roster for training camp. So far, however, there's been little buzz as far as free-agent quarterbacks and none are known to have made visits to Santa Clara. The 49ers reportedly were one of the teams initially interested in Matt Hasselbeck when he was released by Tennessee last week. Hasselbeck, of course, quickly was snapped up by the Colts to be Andrew Luck's backup. Another veteran quarterback, Carson Palmer, may become available if the Raiders part ways with Palmer due to his hefty salary.

The team never showed any interest in Josh Johnson, who spent the 2012 offseason with the 49ers. Johnson last week signed with the Bengals.

-- Matt Barrows

March 26, 2013
The Belated: 2012 draft class eager to make its mark in 2013


Another reason why the 49ers only have gently dipped their big toe into the free-agency pool this offseason? In addition to their 14-pick haul in the upcoming draft, there are five players from last year's class who either were very lightly utilized or not utilized at all during their rookie campaigns.

Outside linebacker Darius Fleming, for example, tore his ACL just a few minutes into the team's first minicamp last May. "I just cut wrong," Fleming said Tuesday. "My foot went one way and my leg went the other way."

Fleming, a fifth-round selection from Notre Dame, sat out the 2012 season as a result. The experience, he said, made him hungrier to make his mark this year. "Me and Cam (Johnson) talk about it all the time," he said. "We began looking forward to this coming preseason and this (training) camp since the middle of last season. We're looking forward to being able to play together."

Not every player who suffers a season-ending injury in the spring decides to stay at the team facility all season. Fleming did just that, working out daily with strength coach Mark Uyeyama and fellow outside linebacker Parys Haralson, who tore his triceps in August. A silver lining to his injury, Fleming said, is that he was able to spend a lot of time next to Haralson - both in rehab and on the sideline during games - and that he picked up plenty of tips from the veteran linebacker.

March 25, 2013
Report: Harbaugh, 49ers interested in QB Pat White


A quarterback who can gobble up yards on the ground as well as through the air? Before Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick made headlines, Pat White was well-known for his versatility at West Virginia.

Now it appears as if White, who threw for 6,049 yards and had 56 touchdowns for the Mountaineers while rushing for 4,480 yards and 47 touchdowns, will at least get a tryout to be one of Kaepernick's backups. White told USA Today on Sunday that he's spoken to Jim Harbaugh by phone and that the 49ers coach is interested in flying him out to Santa Clara for a workout. No date has been set.

"I pay attention to how his players react to Coach Harbaugh," White told the newspaper. "They all want to win for him. And he seems to treat them how they want to be treated. I'm excited to get to know him on that level -- if I do get that opportunity. I'm very optimistic about making it back to the NFL.

White, 27, was the 44th overall pick by the Dolphins in 2009 and has been out of football since the Dolphins released him at the end of training camp in 2010. The 6-0, 190-pound White attempted five passes his rookie season ion 2009. None of them were complete, he was sacked once and and he fumbled once. He also rushed 21 times for 81 yards.

White has been working with San Diego-based quarterback coach George Whitfield in an effort to spark an NFL comeback.

The 49ers, meanwhile, have just two quarterbacks on the roster at the moment - Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien. Josh Johnson, who spent the 2012 offseason in Santa Clara, signed with the Bengals last week. Asked about possible additions to the quarterback depth chart earlier this month, Harbaugh declined to talk about specific names.

-- Matt Barrows

March 24, 2013
49ers looking at big-bodied cornerbacks in the draft, too

If you're wondering which positions the 49ers will target with their arsenal of draft picks, a good guide is the positions they've pursued in free agency. San Francisco has shown interest in at least two cornerbacks, Sean Smith and Nnamdi Asomugha, known for their big bodies and ability to play press coverage. Smith signed with the Chiefs while Asomugha remains unsigned and still could end up with the 49ers.

If he doesn't, the 49ers may find a similar type of player in the draft. Last week, the team met with North Carolina State's 6-3 David Amerson prior to the Wolfpack's pro day. Amerson had an astounding 13 interceptions in 2011. To put that in perspective, only two other cornerbacks sure to be taken in the draft - Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks (16) and Oregon State's Jordan Poyer (13) - had 13 interceptions over their college careers.

Amerson, however, lapsed in 2012, and the question teams must answer is which season was the aberration.

The 49ers also were on hand at the pro days for Florida State's Xavier Rhodes, who at 6-1, 217 pounds is another big, physical press cornerback. They also had representatives to watch Banks, William and Mary's B.W. Webb and Houston's D.J. Hayden, all of whom are expected to be taken early in the draft.

The 49ers also have shown an interest in defensive linemen - especially 3-4 defensive ends - in free agency as well as safeties. Look for those positions to be targeted in the draft as well.

-- Matt Barrows

March 22, 2013
Source: 49ers looking at Bears free-agent Idonije


The 49ers are not finished shopping for a defensive lineman.

A league source confirmed the team is battling the Chicago Bears for free agent defensive lineman Israel Idonije. The 32-year-old lineman started 11 games last season as a defensive end in Chicago's 4-3 defense, finishing with 48 tackles and a solid 7 ½ sacks. NFL.com was first to report the 49ers' interest. Idonije had a half sack in a 32-7 loss to San Francisco this past season.

San Francisco presumably is looking at the 6-6, 275-pounder to play defensive end in its 3-4 scheme. It's a position the 49ers have been examining during the offseason having already looked at Cullen Jenkins and Desmond Bryant, who ended up signing with the Giants and Browns respectively.

The team's interest in linemen could signal more platooning along the defensive front than occurred in 2011 and 2012 when the starters - when healthy - played virtually every snap. The 49ers' pass rush waned late in the season and into the playoffs.

Through Week 14, the 49ers had 35 sacks, an average of 2.5 per game. After that, they averaged 1.4 sacks per game. Week 14, of course, is when defensive end Justin Smith tore his triceps tendon. He didn't have any sacks in the playoffs and neither did linemate Aldon Smith, who apparently was dealing with a labrum injury at the time.

-- Matt Barrows

March 22, 2013
Where things stand: A look at the 49ers' current depth chart

When the 49ers hold their first minicamp in May, the depth chart could look something like this. With more free-agent departures than signings - Ted Ginn was the latest to go, to Carolina - the 49ers definitely have some holes to fill.

That is by design. Unlike last year's class, the 49ers want their 2013 draft picks to have a big impact. To do that there must be an opportunity for them to play. There are immediate openings and roles at half a dozen spots. It's also worth noting that some players from the 2012 class - Joe Looney, Darius Fleming, Trenton Robinson, Cam Johnson, even A.J. Jenkins - are de facto rookies because they played so little last year.

* denotes player who will be injured during the spring.

WR Anquan Boldin, A.J. Jenkins, Ricardo Lockette, Joe Hastings, Chad Hall
TE Vernon Davis, Garrett Celek, draft pick 4, Demarcus Dobbs
QB: Colin Kaepernick, Scott Tolzien, draft pick 3
LT: Joe Staley, Alex Boone, Al Netter
LG: Mike Iupati, Joe Looney, Wayne Tribue
C: Jonathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney
RG: Alex Boone, Joe Looney, Al Netter
RT: Anthony Davis, Alex Boone, Kenny Wiggins,
RB: Frank Gore, LaMichael James, *Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon, Jewel Hampton
FB: Bruce Miller, Anthony Dixon, Will Tukuafu
WR: Michael Crabtree, *Mario Manningham, *Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore draft pick 6

March 21, 2013
Walker replacement? 49ers on hand to watch Stanford tight ends


Tight ends were the main attraction at Stanford's pro day today.

So why was a 49ers quarterbacks coach, Geep Chryst, who unlike most of the 49ers staff has no ties to Stanford, on hand? Chryst has a long background as a tight ends coach having served in that capacity for five years in Carolina before joining Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers in 2011. ***Chryst's son, Keller, also is considering playing quarterback at Stanford, which is probably the more likely reason for his visit.***

He was the only 49ers coach seen at the event, although three members of the scouting staff made the short drive up Highway 101.

The Stanford tight end getting the most attention was Zach Ertz, who is dueling with Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert to be the first player at that position taken in the draft (and whose schools are dueling for the title of Tight End U.) Ertz, who has been groomed since high school by former 49ers tight end Brent Jones, said he wanted to improve on three events from last month's combine: the vertical jump, the broad jump and the 40-yard dash.

He did just that. His vertical leap of 35 ½ inches was considerably better than the 30 ½ inches he jumped in Indianapolis, and his 9-foot, six-inch broad jump was two inches better than last month's effort. He ran the 40 between 4.57 and 4.63 seconds, which is good for a tight end.

Perhaps no Stanford player helped himself more than Levine Toilolo, who showed good power for a tall, 6-8 guy with long arms by knocking out 20 repetitions on the bench press. Toilolo also caught the ball well and ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.7-second range.

The Stanford contingent also included running back Stepfan Taylor, who is expected to be a mid-round selection, and a couple of linebackers, Chase Thomas and Alex Debniak, a 6-3, 233-pounder who could be a special teams standout early on.

March 20, 2013
Chemistry 101: Boldin can't wait to throw with new QB Kaepernick


* Fly back from Africa
* Take physical with 49ers
* Sign contract
* Catch passes with Colin Kaepernick

Everything is progressing as planned for receiver Anquan Boldin, who officially became a 49er today and took a tour of the facility he'll call home this season. Still, there's one more pressing issue on his to-do list: Track down the man who will be throwing him passes in 2013.

Boldin said he got in touch with Colin Kaepernick, who is training in Atlanta, by phone as soon as Boldin returned from a charity mission in Senegal. Getting on the practice field together, he said, is the next step if they want to have the proper chemistry for the 2013 season.

"That's something that doesn't just happen overnight," Boldin said. "Any time you see a quarterback and a receiver on the same page, that means they've spent time together. So that's something I want to do."

Boldin said the time frame for establishing that rapport has differed with every quarterback he's had. It happened quickly with Jeff Blake and Josh McCown in Arizona, for example. And while he seemed to have excellent chemistry in Baltimore with Joe Flacco -- especially in the playoffs -- Boldin said that process took a lot longer.

March 20, 2013
Woodson feels "shunned" in free agency

For the second time in his career, Charles Woodson isn't feeling the free-agency love. In fact, the Packers free-agent safety today said he felt "shunned."

"I thought there would be a little more interest," Woodson, 36, said on the NFL Network. "I think that, looking back, this is my second time in free agency and I've kind a been shunned both times. I guess this time around I'm a little more patient with it, and just waiting around to see what happens."

Woodson's only reported free-agent visit took place on Thursday with the 49ers. The visitation circuit in general has been quiet in recent days since nearly every head coach and general manager has been in Phoenix for the annual owners meeting. That meeting ended today.

The 49ers are still keeping their options open as far as Woodson, but he is not a pressing need for them after the team signed safety Craig Dahl to a three-year deal. Dahl said he expected to compete for Dashon Goldson's former spot at free safety. Woodson has said he wants to play for a playoff contender.

There's one thing, however, that has Woodson elated. The infamous 'Tuck Rule' was eliminated today. "Hallelujah," he said.

***UPDATE*** Another veteran safety, Ed Reed, has agreed to a deal with the Texans, CBS Sports was the first to report.

-- Matt Barrows

March 20, 2013
49ers add a Lombardi to their coaching staff

The 49ers made an addition to their coaching staff - Mick Lombardi, the son of Browns general manager Michael Lombardi. The younger Lombardi will serve as an assistant to Jim Harbaugh. The Lombardis are not related to former Packers great, Vince Lombardi.

Michael Lombardi was a finalist along with Trent Baalke when Jed York was looking for a general manager two years ago. Lombardi became friends with Harbaugh when both worked for the Raiders 10 years ago. Lombardi remained in Oakland until 2007 at which point he began working as an analyst for NFL Network. The Browns hired him at general manager and VP of Player Personnel earlier this year.

Lombardi also worked as a scout for the 49ers in the 1980s and has spoken at length on NFL Network about what he learned from Bill Walsh. The younger Lombardi presumably wants to emulate that experience with Harbaugh. Last year Mick Lombardi worked as a scouting assistant to the Patriots.

This is the only known change to the 49ers' coaching staff this offseason. The team lost director of player personnel Tom Gamble to the Eagles.

-- Matt Barrows

March 19, 2013
New kicker Dawson eager for a rainy day at Candlestick


Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night ...

General manager Trent Baalke today cited Phil Dawson's bad-weather prowess as one of the reasons why the 49ers thought so highly of the 14-year kicker and why the team signed him to a one-year deal. Indeed, Dawson spent his career kicking on the shores of Lake Erie and in other nearby cities - Pittsburgh, for instance - where the weather turns nasty starting in the late fall.

He hasn't, however, had a lot of practice inside Candlestick Park. Dawson, in fact, is 1-2 in two appearances in San Francisco in 2011 and 2003. One of the questions he asked team officials during his recent visit was weather the stadium was accessible in the offseason. The answer is yes, and Dawson said he'd monitor the weather reports as soon as he brings his family to the Bay Area.

"And when it's supposed to be bad days, you can find me in there," he said. "Because I want to get in there and I want to start hitting balls and I want to see what's going on and get a game plan. That's part of my job. I don't necessarily have an opponent across the line of scrimmage I have to study and be prepared for but I do need to know the conditions I'm going to face."

March 19, 2013
49ers sign Sacramento native Marlon Moore


The 49ers today signed Sacramento native Marlon Moore as they continue to rebuild a special teams that lapsed last season. Moore, who was a Dolphins free agent, signed a one-year deal.

The speedy Moore, 25, plays wide receiver, but he said he expected his initial impact would come on San Francisco's coverage units. He mostly served as a gunner on special teams in Miami, and he could pair with standout C.J. Spillman in that role.

Moore also started two games at receiver last season for the Dolphins, finishing the year with six catches - he averaged an impressive 19.3 yards a reception - and a touchdown. He also ran back two kickoffs for 51 yards.

The 6-foot, 190-pound wideout went from Natomas High to Fresno State where he handled 19 punts. He returned one of them 63 yards for a touchdown in 2008. He finished his career as a Bulldog with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The 49ers are not expected to retain return man Ted Ginn, who has made free-agent visits to Cincinnati and Carolina. Moore said he's mostly been used on coverage units with the Dolphins but that he has experience as a returner and would jump at the possibility to do that with the 49ers.

"I'm coming in here with an open mind, and I'm ready to work for whatever need they want me to fill," he said on a conference call.

March 19, 2013
49ers find their kicker: Phil Dawson


The 49ers today agreed to a deal with veteran kicker Phil Dawson, who tied for second in field-goal accuracy this past season and was named to his first Pro Bowl. Dawson, 38, broke the news himself on his Twitter account: "I am humbled & thrilled to have the opportunity to continue my career with my new team, the SF 49ers!" He had spent his first 14 seasons with the Browns.

Earlier this month, the 49ers parted ways with David Akers, 38, after Akers went through the roughest season of his career. He made only 69 percent of his field goals and blew potential game winners in two overtime games against the Rams. Akers, who struggled with a sports hernia during the second half of the season, was particularly bad from beyond 40 yards, hitting only 9-19 from that distance.

Dawson, meanwhile, was 13-13 from 40 yards and beyond (including 7-7 beyond 50 yards). Overall, he was good on 93.5 percent of his attempts for the Browns, which tied for second place among full-time NFL kickers. Dawson missed just two field goals last year -- a 28-yard attempt against the Raiders that was blocked and a 39-yard try that went wide right in Week 17 in Pittsburgh where it was 18 degrees wind chill with 12 mph winds.

Dawson is familiar to special teams coach Brad Seely, who coached him for two seasons (2009-10) in Cleveland. Dawson is right footed while Akers is a lefty. That will require holder Andy Lee to switch sides, something the athletic Lee has not had a problem doing over his career.

The length of the Dawson's deal is not yet known.

-- Matt Barrows

March 19, 2013
Dahl says Rams regretted knocking Alex Smith from game


Knocking the starting quarterback from the game is generally the opposing team's objective. But former Rams safety - and recently hired 49er - Craig Dahl admitted today that his old team immediately regretted that scenario when Alex Smith left the teams' Nov. 11 meeting.

At the time, the Rams were leading 14-7. Colin Kaepernick, however, entered and led second-half drives that first gave the 49ers the lead, and after the Rams took it back, sent the game to overtime. Both teams missed field goals and the contest ended in a 24-24 tie.

To be fair to Smith, he threw a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree after suffering his concussion. It was his last throw of the game. He was 7-8 for 72 yards and had a 143.8 rating at the time. It also needs to be pointed out that the Rams defensive back beaten on the Crabtree touchdown was ... wait for it, wait for it ... Dahl. You can watch the score here.

"It was like, 'Who is this guy? Where'd he come from? How'd he get so fast?,'" Dahl said of Kaepernick on 95.7 The Game this morning. "It was tough from a secondary standpoint, we weren't able to get pressure on him like we were Alex ... It was kind of like, 'Man, I wish we could have kept Alex in the game.'"

It also should be pointed out that a Kaepernick mistake in the rematch -- a botched pitch to Ted Ginn - -helped erase a 49ers lead. That game also went to overtime, and the Rams won it with a field goal.

The 49ers obviously like Dahl for his smarts. He has an engineering degree from North Dakota State and he's a former high school quarterback. He said having played quarterback translates nicely to safety from a leadership, communication and vision standpoint. Both positions, he said, require "big perif" -- being able to see the whole field all the time.

The signing also got a thumbs up from former Colts personnel guru Bill Polian, who also appeared on 95.7 The Game and who added to the notion that the 49ers will draft a safety next month. "I think they did a good job by adding Dahl," Polian said. "Remember, the quarterback of that defense was not (Dashon) Goldson. It was the Ohio State guy (Donte Whitner). So that's No. 1. The guy who makes those calls and make everybody line up back there is the most important guy as good a player as Goldson. ... The draft is filled with safeties, they'll get a good player there, and he'll spend a year or a little more learning the system and then be ready to step in and go."

-- Matt Barrows

March 18, 2013
49ers restructure OLB Parys Haralson's contract


The 49ers carved out more salary-cap space today when they restructured the final year of Parys Haralson's contract, a league source said. The outside linebacker was due to count $2.87 million against the cap - too much for a non-starter. The new deal gives Haralson a $1.3 million salary with a chance to earn $1.7 million. News of the restructuring first was reported by NFL.com. The 49ers are believed to be a little more than $6 million under the salary cap.

Haralson was a starter from 2007-2011, but he was set to take on a backup role behind up-and-coming Aldon Smith before the 2012 season. It never got that far. Haralson suffered a torn triceps in the third preseason game and was lost for the season. However, he rehabilitated every day at the 49ers facility, went on road trips and remained a part of the 49ers' locker room, which is partly why the team wanted him back this year.

The team's OLB starters are Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Haralson and a pair of 2012 draft picks, Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson, will compete for backup roles with any other pass rushers the 49ers acquire in the offseason.

Newly acquired receiver Anquan Boldin is expected to make his first appearance in the Bay Area Wednesday when he takes his physical. There's a possibility that Boldin, who is due to make $6 million in 2013, will extend his contract, which also could create more salary-cap space for San Francisco.

-- Matt Barrows

March 18, 2013
Rich get richer: 49ers awarded three extra draft picks


The 49ers today were awarded three extra draft picks, including a fourth-round selection, as compensation for the free agents -- such as Joshua Morgan and Blake Costanzo - they lost during the 2012 free-agency period. Those compensatory picks leave San Francisco with 14 total selections heading into next month's draft. That's the most any team has had since 1997 when Miami also had 14 picks. The other two compensatories are in the seventh round. (See details below).

No one expects the 49ers to end the draft with 14 picks. The team likely will pool them together and go after a few players they feel can help them right away (though the three compensatory picks cannot be traded). Where are the current holes on the roster?

* Safety. The 49ers have several players in the mix at free safety, and new acquisition Craig Dahl certainly could start there when the new season begins. Still, it makes sense that the 49ers use one of their top picks on a safety - it's a good year for big-bodied hitters - who could learn the position behind Dahl. (LSU's Eric Reid pictured above)

March 18, 2013
QB Watch: Josh Johnson waiting for a call; what about Thigpen?


****UPDATE**** The Titans today announced the release of veteran Matt Hasselbeck. The 49ers tried to sign the 14-year veteran in 2011. ESPN reported that the 49ers are one of several teams that have shown initial interest in Hasselbeck, 37. The others are: Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New Orleans, the Giants and Tampa.

****UPDATE II***** Hasselbeck is reportedly close to a deal with the Colts.

Who will join Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien on the 49ers' quarterback depth chart in 2013? So far, the answer is unknown. The quarterback market has been mostly quiet during free agency, and it's likely to remain so early in the week while owners, coaches and general managers are at the annual league meeting in Phoenix. (One free-agent QBs, Ryan Fitzpatrick, also is in Phoenix; he's reportedly met with the Titans and Bengals).

A year ago, the 49ers signed former Jim Harbaugh protege Josh Johnson, and he spent the offseason in Santa Clara. I spoke to Johnson today, who said he hadn't personally heard from the 49ers. He's visited the Bengals and said "a couple more teams" had expressed interest though he had no visits scheduled as of now. Last year he visited the 49ers and the Redskins. He was picked up by the Browns in late December.

Johnson, who also played for the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions last year, said he wouldn't rule out the 49ers despite the fact they chose Tolzien over him at the end of the exhibition season. "It just depends on the situation," he said. "I'm just trying to find the best fit."

Another name that has been linked to the 49ers is Tyler Thigpen. The Coastal Carolina quarterback has been working out alongside Kaepernick and a few other 49ers - including wideout A.J. Jenkins - at CES Performance in Atlanta since mid February. Thigpen has two criteria that Harbaugh holds most dear in a quarterback - he's ultra competitive and he has good athleticism.

March 17, 2013
What the heck is Trent Baalke doing?!?! Exactly what he did two years ago, that's what


-- Bye Nnamdi! Sorry you couldn't play for food stamps! Our origination is so cheap it's unbelievable!!

-- He's not signing here,49ers too cheap..Craig Dahl terrible sign if a starter, white guys don't do well as DB's this isn't 1950

-- I am assuming both Baalke & Pope Harbaugh are aware that free agency period started already! Craig Dahl???

Jeeze-Louise, Trent Baalke sure has been taking it on the chin the last few days, as the preceding comments -- just a smattering from that destroyer of the English language, Twitter -- indicate. In fact, the last time this many 49ers fans thought their general manager was an idiot was 2011. You remember, right?

It was quite similar to the current free-agency period. A few days in, the 49ers had lost several of their own players, including center David Baas. While other teams were reeling in prized free agents left and right, showing them off at press conferences and getting all sorts of kudos on ESPN, the 49ers' only signing was a kicker, David Akers.

Most infuriating to fans, the 49ers had shown some interest in the biggest, most seductive catch of all, can't-miss cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, but backed off the hunt. The Eagles ended up signing him to a massive, five-year deal.

"What are the 49ers doing?!" the fans railed while pulling out their hair, shaking their fists at the heavens, threatening to jump from bridges. "Every other team is getting better! Our team is getting worse!" (Except it was punctuated poorly and every other word was misspelled).

March 16, 2013
Saint elsewhere: New Orleans, Rob Ryan to host Nnamdi Asomugha


Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, whose first free-agent visit was with the 49ers, also will drop by the New Orleans Saints. Asomugha is on his way to New Orleans tonight and will meet with team officials Sunday, according to a league source. Asomugha was at his best when he was with the Raiders under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Ryan is now the defensive coordinator for the Saints.

Asomugha, 31, met with the 49ers Thursday and had a physical that night. The next day, one of his former teammates with the Raiders (and one of his best friends), Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, tweeted that the cornerback and the team were in "serious discussions." Gbaja-Biamila, who now works for the NFL Network, hinted at a Bay Area reunion for both Asomugha and former Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson, whom the 49ers have been considering to play safety.

On Sunday, Gbaja-Biamila tweeted that the 49ers' negoations with Woodson and Asomugha were in a "holding pattern." "Despite the crazy week," he wrotes, "not EVERY deal is done in 1 day."

The 49ers Saturday signed another safety, Craig Dahl. His three-year, $5 million deal (with an $800,000 signing bonus) does not preclude the 49ers from signing Woodson, but it also means the 49ers are not desperate to add him.

Asomugha, meanwhile, has other suitors. The Cardinals, Texans and Broncos also have shown interest. Asomugha's New Orleans visit first was reported by CSN Bay Area.

-- Matt Barrows

March 16, 2013
49ers sign safety Craig Dahl to a three-year deal


One day after his visit to Santa Clara, Rams free-agent safety Craig Dahl inked a three-year, $5 million deal with the 49ers.

"It's not the enemy anymore," said Dahl, whose familiarity with the division was attractive to the 49ers. "... I was privileged to play in the NFC West, and I'm really familiar with what's going on here in San Francisco, and the direction they're heading. I couldn't be happier with the opportunity I've been given."

Dahl said he hoped to "mesh well in the secondary and fill the void" created when Dashon Goldson signed a five-year deal with the Buccaneers earlier this week. Dahl also plays the same punt-coverage position that Goldson handled for the 49ers the last two seasons.

After meeting with Charles Woodson and flirting with Ed Reed -- both of them likely hall of famers -- the team went with a far more anonymous safety. Dahl, 27, started all 16 games last season in St. Louis, finishing with 78 tackles, two pass break ups and an interception. He's started 40 games in the last four years in St. Louis.

March 15, 2013
Aldon Smith injury highlights rough year for 49ers OLBs


Two days after the Super Bowl, Aldon Smith insisted his shoulder "wasn't a problem at all," a refrain he gave during the second half of the season despite the fact the 49ers linebacker appeared on the team's injury report with a shoulder injury from Week 12 through the postseason.

On Friday, the NFL Network reported that Smith was hurt more than he was letting on and that he had surgery "a few weeks ago" to repair a torn labrum. A team spokesman said the team would not comment on the report but a source with knowledge of the procedure confirmed it and said it was done to address an in-season injury.

Smith, of course, set a franchise record with 19 ½ sacks in 2012, but none of them came after a two-sack game in Week 14 against Miami. He had perhaps the best outing of the year - a 5 ½-sack game - in Week 11 against Chicago while seemingly dealing with the shoulder injury, which appeared to have begun bothering him the week before against the Rams.

Smith's sack-less streak also coincided with linemate Justin Smith's torn triceps injury, which was operated on in February. Aldon Smith downplayed the injury throughout the second half of the season and didn't have surgery immediately after the Super Bowl. In fact, he took part in a mixed martial arts sparring session with UFC fighter Daniel Cormier on Feb. 15.

March 15, 2013
Report: Rams free-agent safety Dahl to visit 49ers


One safety exits, another enters.

The 49ers will host Rams free-agent safety Craig Dahl, according to Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange. Dahl, 27, started all 16 games last season in St. Louis, finishing with 78 tackles, two pass break ups and an interception. The 6-1, 212 pounder played at North Dakota State, which is where 49ers general manager Trent Baalke used to be an assistant coach. Dahl was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Giants ain 2007.

That news comes on the heels of Louis Delmas signing a two-year deal to return to the Lions. Delmas visited the Rams and the 49ers before returning to Detroit. The 49ers still are considering veteran safety Charles Woodson, who visited the team facility on Wednesday. They also are still in play for Ravens free-agent safety Ed Reed, who ended his visit with the Texans Friday without a deal.

As has been the case in recent years, the 49ers do not make free-agent decisions quickly and they usually let the market soften before signing a player. There are still many safeties available, and the 49ers will use that to their advantage.

-- Matt Barrows

March 15, 2013
49ers can check Delmas off list of safety candidates

The 49ers can check Louis Delmas off their list of candidates to replace Dashon Goldson at safety.

Delmas, 25, has reportedly re-signed with the Detroit Lions, who gave their 2009 second-round draft pick a new two year contract.

The 49ers visited with former Green Bay Packers safety Charles Woodson on Wednesday in Santa Clara. Woodson has expressed interest in returning to the Bay Area - he played his first eight seasons in Oakland - to play with a Super Bowl contender.

Baltimore Ravens free agent safety Ed Reed is also available. Reed visited with the Houston Texans for two days, but left the team's headquarters today without a contract.

Return for more on this story.

March 15, 2013
New 49er Skuta is a three-way player


One of the reasons Dan Skuta signed a two-year deal with the 49ers can be found on Weather.com.

The forecast in his hometown of Flint, MI: a high of 38 degrees and an 85 percent chance of snow

The forecast in his soon-to-be new home of Santa Clara: a high of 72 degrees and 0 percent chance of precipitation.

"The scenery on the way in was definitely a good selling point," said Skuta, who spent the last four seasons in Cincinnati (mostly cloudy, high of 55 degrees).

"Being from Michigan, it's covered in snow right now," he continued on this morning's conference call. "Being out here, it's just amazing - coming over the mountains and everything. That was definitely a good selling point."

Skuta's primary role will be to help shore up the 49ers' special teams coverage units, which finished second-to-last in 2012 in kickoff returns. That showing was punctuated by a 108-yard touchdown return by the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

Skuta, listed as a 6-2, 250-pound linebacker, said he's also eager to learn from Pro Bowl inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. There's a good chance he could see some offensive snaps as well. The 49ers love to use defensive players at fullback - linemen Isaac Sopoaga, Justin Smith and Will Tukuafu have played there in recent years - and Skuta has some background as a short-yardage back.

He rushed for 1,092 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior in high school, played a few snaps at running back at Grand Valley State and was the Bengals' short-yardage running back in 2010. Asked if the 49ers have discussed playing him at fullback, Skuta paused four second before replying. (You could picture Trent Baalke frantically giving the 'cut-the-line' signal in the background.)

"That's a conversation that they've had. I'm not really sure," he finally said. "I'm just, once again, going to come in, and if that's something that they have me do, I'll be excited to do it."

- Matt Barrows

March 15, 2013
Former teammate hints of Bay Area reunion for Woodson, Asomugha

A former Raiders teammate of Nnamdi Asomugha and Charles Woodson is hinting strongly of a Bay Area reunion.

Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, who played alongside Asomugha and Woodson in Oakland from 2003-04 and who now works for the NFL Network, tweeted early Friday that the 49ers are in "serious discussion" with both players. Woodson met with Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers on Wednesday; Asomugha arrived Thursday afternoon.

San Francisco is looking at Woodson, 36, as a 2013 replacement for free safety Dashon Goldson, who signed a five-year deal with Tampa Bay earlier this week. Harbaugh on Thursday said the two sides had a good meeting - Harbaugh and Woodson, both University of Michigan products, have hosted a charity golf outing together - and that the team was "still evaluating" the veteran defensive back.

March 14, 2013
The new Costanzo? 49ers ink deal with special teamer Skuta


A 49ers team that finished second to last in the NFL in kickoff coverage last season signed a new, would-be special teams ace, Dan Skuta, today to a two-year deal. Skuta, a 250-pound inside linebacker, led the Bengals in special teams tackles in two of the last three seasons.

The 49ers had one of the best coverage units in the league in 2011, one that was led by energetic and charismatic Blake Costanzo. The 49ers, however, allowed Costanzo to sign with the Bears in free agency a year ago, and their 2012 special teams units weren't the same.

They surrendered an average of 26.9 yards per kickoff - only the Raiders were worse - in the regular season. That number doesn't include the postseason, which was marked by a Super Bowl record 108-yard touchdown return by Ravens returner Jacoby Jones to open the second half.

Some of the team's struggles can be attributed to kicker David Akers' relative flat kickoffs, which gave returners extra time to build up speed. Akers dealt with a sports hernia during the second half of the season and had a procedure last month. Two special teams players, inside linebackers Larry Grant and Tavares Gooden, also are free agents.

Skuta was one of three free agents the 49ers hosted Thursday. The group included ex Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who left the team facility without a deal but who could sign one Friday. The former Cal star hit the open market this week after being cut by the Eagles. Asomugha was the biggest catch in the 2011 free-agent period, and Philadelphia landed him that year with a five-year, $60 million deal. That contract, however, became far too unwieldy, especially after Asomugha, 31, failed to play to expectations.

March 14, 2013
49ers notes: Jean Francois latest to cash in; Skuta to visit


Well, it seems as if the 49ers at least will be getting a lot of compensatory picks in 2014.

The latest free agent to sign a big-money deal - that's one of the criteria in the formula for compensatory selections - is Ricky Jean Francois. The defensive linemen signed a four-year deal with the Colts worth $22 million overall. Of that amount, $6.5 million is fully guaranteed.

Jean Francois visited the Eagles as well. But he felt comfortable playing under Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, who was his defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010 in San Francisco. The 49ers used their second of two seventh-round picks to draft Jean Francois in 2009. Not a bad payday for a late seventh rounder.

Sopoaga, tight end Delanie Walker and safety Dashon Goldson all have signed multi-year deals in free agency so far.

Jim Harbaugh today confirmed that the 49ers are meeting with free agents Louis Delmas, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dan Skuta. The latter is a Bengals free-agent linebacker, who has been Cincinnati's special teams ace in recent years.

March 14, 2013
Harbaugh talks Alex Smith, Charles Woodson and Glenn Dorsey


I bumped into Jim Harbaugh at the end of a San Jose State football practice and - I don't know if it was the spring-like weather or what - but he was quite cheerful and liberal (for him) with 49ers information. Harbaugh talked to the team after practice for about 15 minutes and had individual chats with tight end Ryan Otten and offensive lineman David Quessenberry, who are draft-worthy this year. He also talked to quarterback David Fales, who promises to be a big name in next year's draft.

On Alex Smith ending up with the Chiefs.
JH: Alex is a one-of-kind guy, and I think it's a fantastic opportunity for him. We had a real nice visit the day before he left. And the amount of respect, appreciation that we have for Alex is 10 out of 10 on the scale. I wish him great success.

What do you think about his fit with Andy Reid in Kansas City?
JH: Yeah, I think it's a great thing for the Kansas City Chiefs. Because Alex is a top performer. He's a top quarterback, and ... it was a tough decision. It was a tough decision to trade Alex, but I think his desire to start and play, and the competitor he is, we knew that he deserved that.

It seemed like there was a good amount of interest in him on the trade market. Can you give me a number as far as how many teams were involved?
JH: Yes, there was. More than a few.

Meaning .. between three and five?
JH: Yeah ... about that.

What position will Glenn Dorsey play? Is nose tackle where you think he'll end up?
JH: Yeah, I think the way Vic (Fangio) and Jimmy Tomsula do it, he's the nose with Ian Williams. Then if Ian comes along, he's going to get quite a few of those reps (at NT) and Glenn can be an end as well and take some of those snaps as well. So we have high hopes and expectations for his contribution.

March 14, 2013
49ers to host CB Nnamdi Asomugha


Looking for a tall cornerback to help with the big-bodied receivers who gave them fits in the playoffs, the 49ers will host ex-Raider and Eagle Nnamdi Asomugha today, a league source said. The long-limbed, 6-2 Asomugha was perhaps the league's best cornerback when he played press coverage for the Raiders, but he struggled in the Eagles' more diverse scheme and was released earlier this week.

The 49ers showed interest in Asomugha, 31, when he was a free agent two years ago. However, he never visited 49ers headquarters like he will do today. This is believed to be his first visit, which always is an indication of strong mutual interest between team and free agent.

San Francisco also promises to be a better fit for Asomugha. The 49ers play sides when it comes to their cornerbacks -- one either plays on the left or right side and doesn't switch during the game. They also like to play press coverage, although there is plenty of the zone schemes that seemed to vex Asomugha in Philadelphia as well.

The Saints, Texans, Broncos and Cardinals also are eyeing Asomugha, who played at Cal, CBS Sports reported Wednesday.

The 49ers also had shown interest in 6-3 Miami free-agent cornerback Sean Smith, but that has cooled since the start of free agency on Tuesday.

The 49ers are looking at another former Raider, safety Charles Woodson. He visited the team facility Wednesday, but no deal has been struck. Another safety, Louis Delmas, is due to visit the team facility today, ESPN Adam Schefter first reported Wednesday.

-- Matt Barrows

March 13, 2013
49ers free agency update: safety edition

The safeties are coming.

On the same day the 49ers' former free safety, Dashon Goldson, inked a big, five-year deal with Tampa Bay, the 49ers were linked with no fewer than four safeties who could take his place. They are:

Charles Woodson. The 15-year veteran met with the team today, but as of Wednesday night no deal had been reached.

LaRon Landry. The 28-year-old ex-Redskin and Jet was scheduled to meet with the 49ers on Thursday but the Colts were close to inking him to a deal Wednesday evening. ****UPDATE**** The Colts signed Landry to a four-year deal that averages $6 million a year.

Ed Reed. The vetern Ravens safety will make his first stop in Houston. CBS Sports reported that Reed also could visit the 49ers and Colts if there's no deal with the Texans. Obviously, if Landry ends up in Indianapolis, they will not be interested in Reed.

Louis Delmas. ESPN reported that he is on his way to San Francisco after a visit with St. Louis. At age 25, Delmas is the youngest of the group. The 33rd overall draft pick to the Lions in 2009, Delmas was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2010 and 2011. The downside: Delmas has not started 16 games in any of his four seasons, is more of an in-the-box safety and has only three career interceptions.

-- Matt Barrows

March 13, 2013
First impression: Glenn Dorsey loves the energy level in Santa Clara


The 49ers didn't roll out the red carpet for Glenn Dorsey. They sent defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to pick him up at the airport.

And that was plenty.

"He's got a lot of energy, man," said Dorsey, a free-agent defensive lineman who signed a two-year deal with the 49ers Wednesday that's worth as much as $7 million. "He picked me up from the airport last night and he was talking 100 miles per hour. And I was ready, man. He took me to the facility last night and we talked about a lot of stuff. And he knows a lot. I'm excited to get the opportunity to work with him."

Dorsey, 27, is expected to step in at nose tackle after the 49ers lost their starter from the last two seasons, Isaac Sopoaga, to the Eagles on Tuesday. Another 49ers free-agent lineman, Ricky Jean Francois, wrapped up his own visit with the Eagles Wednesday and will meet with the Colts today, his agent said.

Dorsey (6-1, 297) was the fifth overall draft pick in 2008, and his five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs did not produce many accolades. He has only four sacks over that span, and he missed most of the 2012 season with a calf injury. Still, he didn't see himself as a disappointment, and he sounded eager to join a winning club like the 49ers.

March 13, 2013
Alex Smith: Everything pointed to Kansas City


After the 2012 season ended, the 49ers made it clear to Alex Smith that they were not going to release him. Smith, in turn, made it clear to the team that he didn't want to be a backup quarterback. The only option left was a trade, and Smith today said he had no doubt where he wanted to go.

"It wasn't close," Smith said at his introductory press conference in Kansas City. "Everything pointed here for me, and I was excited about that, and I'm so thankful it worked out, thankful it got done."

New Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he followed Smith since the quarterback was at Utah under Reid's good friend Kyle Whittingham, who was then the team's defensive coordinator.

"When I was at Philadelphia, for whatever reason we seemed to play (the 49ers) every year, and I got to see him first hand," Reid said. "He was somebody if I had the chance, I would want on my team. So I did inquire about him periodically with the 49ers."

Smith will wear No. 11 for the Chiefs, and he'll run a West Coast offense like he did the last two years in San Francisco. Smith said he only arrived last night and has not had time to look at the playbook or to talk to new teammates, such as receiver Dwayne Bowe. He acknowledged that it was awkward to have known about the deal for two weeks and not been able to communicate with his new team. But he said quarterback buddies around the league all assured him he would love working with Reid.

"From all the quarterbacks I've ever known and have gotten to play for him, they only had good things to say," Smith said. "His pedigree, I think, speaks for itself."

Reid, meanwhile, made clear that Smith's intangibles were just as important as his on-field ability when it came to making the decision to trade with the 49ers.

"You'll find out in time what you've got here," Reid said. "From a coaching standpoint, what a tremendous addition to a locker room. He's a fine football player, but even a better person. That's welcome here - his leadership."

Reid even took it a step further.

While acknowledging former Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson at the press conference, he said he wanted to give the Chiefs another hall-of-fame passer. "We're going to work on getting Alex into the Hall of Fame," Reid said. "I'm privileged to be in a room with two great ones."

-- Matt Barrows

March 13, 2013
Nnamdi to Niners? Consider what happened two years ago


The 49ers appear to be playing another round of Last Cornerback Standing.

Two years ago, you might recall, was a big period for free-agent cornerbacks, and the 49ers were mentioned in conjunction with the top names - Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Joseph and Antonio Cromartie. But they didn't make a move on any of them, waiting instead for the market to cool off and signing the best remaining cornerback, Carlos Rogers, to a modest, one-year deal.

They seem to be taking a similar approach this year. They were one of the top teams eyeing 6-3 Miami cornerback Sean Smith in the run-up to free agency but have backed off for now. They also are one of the teams showing interest in 6-2 Asomugha, a league source said this afternoon. Pro Football Talk reported that the Texans, Broncos, Saints and Cardinals also are interested in the former Cal star.

Asomugha, of course, signed a big, five-year, $60 million deal with Philadelphia in 2011. The Eagles released him this week. Obviously, Asomugha, 32, will be a lot cheaper this time around. How much cheaper? The answer to that will determine whether he ends up with the 49ers.

- Matt Barrows

March 13, 2013
49ers land Glenn Dorsey; Goldson strikes gold with Tampa Bay


After watching several of their free-agents sign big-money deals elsewhere, the 49ers on Wednesday reeled in one themselves - former Chiefs defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey, 27, is expected to mostly play nose tackle for the 49ers after the team lost last year's starter, Isaac Sopoaga, to the Eagles in free agency. Another 49ers lineman, Ricky Jean Francois, also has drawn interest from the Eagles and will visit the Colts on Thursday.

Dorsey has played defensive end in the Chiefs' 3-4 scheme but he said he'd have no problem moving to nose tackle with the 49ers. "I'm ok with everything," he said in a conference call. "Whatever coaches want me to do, honestly. I knew coming here that I can play anywhere. Wherever they see fit. I'll try my best at that position."

Dorsey signed a two-year deal with the 49ers. "We are very pleased to add Glenn to our team," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "Glenn brings great versatility to our defensive front, and we look forward to his contributions on the field and in the community."

Dorsey flew into the Bay Area last night and met with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and others today. Like both Jean Francois and Sopoaga, Dorsey can play multiple position in a 3-4 front. He was a defensive end last season for the Chiefs before a calf injury knocked him out for the season.

Meanwhile, the 49ers lost free-agent safety Dashon Goldson to the Buccaneers. Goldson long had been seeking a deal similar to the $8 million-a-year contract the Chargers gave Eric Weddle two years ago. He surpassed that mark with Tampa Bay, getting a five-year deal worth as much as $41.25 million (avg. of $8.25 million), including $22 million guaranteed. The 49ers will play the Buccaneers in the upcoming season.

A possible replacement for Goldson is ex-Raider and ex-Packer Charles Woodson, who is currently visiting the team. Another free-agent safety, LaRon Landry, will visit on Thursday if he can't reach a deal with the team he is currently visiting, Indianapolis. Landry has other suitors while Woodson is looking at five other teams, all of them would-be playoff contenders, his agent said Tuesday.

-- Matt Barrows

March 13, 2013
49ers FA update: Dorsey in the building; Landry next?


Safety LaRon Landry will visit the 49ers on Thursday if the team he's visiting today, the Colts, doesn't sign him to a deal, a league source said. Landry, 28, is a younger alternative than the safety with whom the 49ers are meeting today, Charles Woodson, 36, but he'd likely be more expensive, too.

Landry also has other suitors, which are believed to be the Cardinals and the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay's first choice at safety is 49ers' free agent Dashon Goldson, and the two sides reportedly are negotiating a deal. ****UPDATE**** The Buccaneers and Goldson have agreed to terms on a five-year deal.

Meanwhile, Chiefs free-agent defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey is currently meeting with 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and others in Santa Clara. The 49ers lost starting nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga to the Eagles and are in danger of seeing another nose tackle, Ricky Jean Francois, go as well. Dorsey was miscast as a defensive end in a 3-4 system with the Chiefs. It's unknown how he feels about playing nose tackle in the 49ers' defense.

And as far as Miami free-agent cornerback Sean Smith ... The 49ers showed interest in the big (6-3, 218-pound) cornerback in the run-up to free agency, but they are not believed to be one of the teams hotly pursuing Smith now. Astute 49ers followers might recall that this is how the team approached the cornerback market in 2011: They expressed interest in several top names, waited until the market had cooled and then snagged Carlos Rogers.

-- Matt Barrows

March 13, 2013
Miller, Culliver, Boone rewarded with performance-based bonuses


The NFL's performance-based pay program is meant to be a bit of a counter-balance for those players who were late-round picks - or who weren't drafted at all - but who end up playing a lot of snaps for their team. Which is why someone like fullback Bruce Miller, who also features heavily on special teams, will get the biggest performance-based paycheck of any 49er this week, $273,400.

Miller was a seventh-round pick in 2011 who played 700 snaps last season for the 49ers. Conversely, first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, who played 35 snaps, had one of the lowest figures, $5,300. Running back Brandon Jacobs, who was hurt - and then suspended and then released - was at the bottom at $1,500. Some other figures at random:

FB Bruce Miller: $273,400
CB Chris Culliver: $229,200
G Alex Boone: $223,100
DE Demarcus Dobbs: $126,700
QB Colin Kaepernick: $85,500
TE Delanie Walker: $69,800
QB Alex Smith: $11,500

Here's the official explanation for how performance-based pay is calculated: Performance-based pay is computed by using a "player index." To produce the index, a player's regular-season playing time (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player's index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his pay.

-- Matt Barrows

March 12, 2013
Report: Charles Woodson wants to become a 49er


Likely to lose starting safety Dashon Goldson, the 49ers are bringing in possible replacements, including longtime Raiders and Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, who will visit Wednesday, his agent said. The 15-year veteran will turn 37 in October, and he missed half the 2012 season with a broken collarbone.

However, he played well in the games in which he appeared. He had five tackles, 1 ½ sacks and a forced fumble in a Week 1 loss to the 49ers. Overall in his career -- he mostly played cornerback -- Woodson has 55 interceptions, 11 of which he returned for touchdowns. He was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.

The 49ers also have shown interest in Jets free agent LaRon Landry, who is similar in size and aggressiveness to Goldson. The Buccaneers reportedly sent a private plane to California to pick up Goldson. It would be a surprise at this point if he returns to the 49ers, who have been reluctant to give him a long-term deal for the past three offseasons.

Woodson has a couple of significant connections on the 49ers. A University of Michigan product, he's hosted an annual golf tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. with Jim Harbaugh. he's also close to 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers. A source close to Woodson on Tuesday said the defensive back is eyeing several would-be playoff teams and hopes the 49ers "step up" as far as a contract offer. He said Woodson wants to play with a contender in 2013.

Woodson played the first eight years of his career with the Raiders, who hold their training camp in Napa. He has a winery, 24 Wines, that's 2 1/2 miles south of Calistoga.

-- Matt Barrows

March 12, 2013
Tight end fade: Delanie Walker bolts for Tennessee


Add tight end to the 49ers' offseason to-do list.

Their No. 2 player at the position, Delanie Walker, has agreed to a four-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, his agent, Vincent Taylor, said today. Appearing on 95.7 The Game Tuesday, Walker said the Cardinals, Eagles and Bills also showed interest and that the 49ers also wanted to re-sign him. But he said he knew he'd never be anything more than a No. 2 tight end as long as his buddy, Vernon Davis, is on the roster

"I felt like it was my time to be a starter," he said. Walker has been one of the best blocking tight ends -- especially down field -- in the NFL in recent years, and he gained an increasing role in the 49ers' passing attack once Colin Kaepernick took over at quarterback from Alex Smith.

How the 49ers compensate for Walker's loss remains to be seen. He lined up in an array of positions, sometimes in the backfield, sometimes as a wide receiver in the slot. New acquisition Anquan Boldin can perform some of those functions. He is an excellent blocker and is unafraid to catch passes over the middle of a defense.

The 49ers currently have one other tight end, Garrett Celek, on the roster. They also have the No. 31 and No. 34 picks in the draft, which is usually when the first tight ends are taken. The top two this year are Stanford's Zach Ertz, who was recruited by Jim Harbaugh, and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert.

The 49ers will visit Tennessee in 2013, something Walker definitely has noted. "That was the first game I saw," he said with a laugh. "Every other game was blurred."

-- Matt Barrows

March 12, 2013
Alex Smith is now a Chief ... pending a physical

alex watched.jpg

It's official ... sort of. The 49ers today announced two trades. One occurred yesterday when the team agreed to send the second of its two sixth-round picks to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for receiver Anquan Boldin.

The second occurred last month, and it ends a roller coaster, eight-year run in San Francisco for Alex Smith, the player the 49ers chose No. 1 overall in 2005. The 49ers announced they received from Kansas City an "undisclosed" draft pick (it's the Chiefs' second-round selection, No. 34 overall) as well as a conditional pick in next year's draft. The trade won't be executed until Smith passes a physical.

"We would like to thank Alex for his contributions to the 49ers organization over the past eight years," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "He is a true professional who represented the 49ers with class on and off the field."

Also: Smith shows that nice guys don't always finish last.

-- Matt Barrows

March 12, 2013
49ers free agency tracker


* WR Anquan Boldin. The 49ers officially announced that they have agreed to a trade for Boldin, the former ravens receiver. In exchange, the 49ers will send to Baltimore the second of their two sixth-round picks. The trade is pending a physical.

* DL Glenn Dorsey. The Chiefs free agent will visit the 49ers on Wednesday. San Francisco is looking at him as a possible replacement for nose tackles Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois, who are free agents on their own visits. (See: below)

* S Charles Woodson. The former Packers and Raiders defensive back will pay a visit to the 49ers on Wednesday, ESPN reported.

Others on the radar:

* Miami CB Sean Smith
* Oakland DT Desmond Bryant **Update** Bryant will sign with the Browns
* Washington LB Lorenzo Alexander (special teams)
* Jets S LaRon Landry
* Falcons DE John Abraham (visited)


* QB Alex Smith. The 49ers officially announced the trade that in principle occurred last month. Smith goes to Kansas City in exchange for the Chiefs' second-round pick (34th overall) and a conditional pick next season. Smith must pass a physical in Kansas City for the trade to be executed.

* S Dashon Goldson: He has a visit scheduled with the Buccaneers, multiple outlets are reporting. Tampa Bay also is interested in Landry.

* TE Delanie Walker: **Update** Walker has agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Titans, his agent, Vincent Taylor, said this afternoon. ESPN's Adam Schefter reporters the Titans, who likely will lose Jared Cook, already are working on a deal for Walker. If they pay him like a no. 1 TE, there's little likelihood he'll be back with the 49ers.

* NT Isaac Sopoaga: **Update** Sopoaga agreed to a three-year deal with Philadelphia worth nearly $12 million overall and including about $5 million guaranteed. He'll make a visit to the Eagles, who would use him as the centerpiece in their 3-4 alignment.

* DL Ricky Jean Francois: He'll also visit the Eagles, where he can play multiple positions in their front. A trip to Indianapolis could come next for Jean Francois, who has five suitors.

-- Matt Barrows

March 12, 2013
Safety shuffle: 49ers in the mix for hard-hitting LaRon Landry


The 49ers, who are at risk of losing free-agent safety Dashon Goldson this week, are one of four teams looking at Jets free agent safety LaRon Landry, a league source confirmed today. The team's interest in Landry, 28, was first reported by NFL.com's Ian Rappaport, who wrote that the Cardinals and Buccaneers also are in the mix for Landry. Tampa Bay also is interested in Goldson.

Landry (6-0, 220) is similar to Goldson in that he is aggressive and has a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the league. The former first-round pick finished the 2012 season with 100 tackles and forced four fumbles. He had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Landry was voted to his first Pro Bowl this past season.

The 49ers also have been linked to Baltimore's Ed Reed, who is 34 and nearing the end of his career. There has been no interest to this point in former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson, who was released last week.

-- Matt Barrows

March 12, 2013
Dance card brimming: 49ers one of 10 teams looking at Raiders' Bryant


****Update**** In addition to Bryant, the 49ers also have shown interest in another FA defender, Washington LB Lorenzo Alexander.

The 49ers are one of the teams interested in Raiders defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, his agent confirmed today. Bryant (6-6, 311 pounds) played defensive tackle for the Raiders, but a better position for him may be defensive end in a 3-4 scheme like the 49ers run. The 49ers are one of 10 teams to have inquired about the 27-year-old lineman. (SF's advantage: He wouldn't have to move).

San Francisco obviously is interested in adding to its defensive front. The 49ers met with free agent Cullen Jenkins last week - he has since signed with the Giants - and also are one of several teams eying ex-Falcon John Abraham. The 49ers did not do much rotating among their front four defenders in 2011 and 2012, something that seemed to work against them late in the most recent season.

In addition, top backup Ricky Jean Francois appears to be on his way out. He has drawn interest from the Eagles, Colts, Titans and Saints among others and will make visits this week. Another lineman, Isaac Sopoaga, is a free agent as well and also could find a new home on a squad that uses a nose tackle more than the 49ers.

Bryant, meanwhile, started eight games for the Raiders last year and finished with four sacks, 26 tackles and a forced fumble. The Harvard product got into trouble last month in South Florida where he was arrested on charges of criminal mischief. Bryant allegedly was inebriated and went into a neighbor's house.

Teams can begin scheduling visits with free agents like Bryant when the league year begins at 1 p.m.

- Matt Barrows

March 12, 2013
49ers notes: Anquan Boldin had 'no clue' he was heading to San Francisco


When Anquan Boldin got on a plane to Senegal, he was a member of the Super Bowl champion Ravens. When he landed, he was a member - pending a physical - of the Super Bowl runner-up 49ers.

"There was a bunch of text messages coming through, saying, you know, 'Congratulations on getting traded to San Francisco,'" Boldin said in an interview with an ESPN producer accompanying him in Africa. "Things like that, so I found out I guess through text messages."

The receiver is traveling with the anti-poverty group, Oxfam America.

Asked about playing for the 49ers, Boldin admitted to an initial "shock."

"You know, for me it was an initial shock because I had no clue that I was going to be traded," he said. "So for me, it was shocking at first, but I mean it, for me it is also a good thing. You know, when I look at the organization and what they're about, and as a football team, the talent that they have, I think it's a good, good place for me to be.

March 11, 2013
Hands twins: Thoughts on Boldin, Crabtree and the 49ers 2013 offense


This wasn't the first time the 49ers tried to trade for Anquan Boldin.

Back in 2009, they dialed the Cardinals, who had the expensive problem of having both Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald on the roster, to see what Arizona was seeking for Boldin. The Cardinals, however, weren't willing to trade the big, bruising wideout in the division.

Soon after, the 49ers drafted Michael Crabtree, whom then-general manager Scot McCloughan said was the "closest thing I've seen to Anquan Boldin in college."

Said McCloughan on draft day of Crabtree: "He's got excellent hands, and he's got the physical attributes to play on the NFL level and to make plays. He's a highly competitive guy who's not afraid, whatsoever. There are faster guys in the draft, no doubt about it. There will be faster guys in the NFL. But he brings a unique quality to play physical and make plays on the NFL level."

Which raises a question: Can the 49ers prosper with two, similar starting wideouts, neither of whom is known for stretching defensive secondaries? Last year, Crabtree had a career-best season with fleet-footed Randy Moss - at the end of the season, anyway - opposite him. In Baltimore, Boldin was complemented by burners Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones.

The situation certainly is not unprecedented. Fitzgerald isn't a track star, either, and he and Boldin were the NFL's top receiving tandem when they were in Arizona. The 49ers also have one of the fastest tight ends in the league, Vernon Davis, and surely will work in a third receiver - whether it's A.J. Jenkins or Kyle Williams or, eventually, Mario Manningham - who does have speed.

Boldin's role also is interesting to consider. Unlike Moss, he's an excellent blocker and has been one of the most physical wideouts in the NFL for the last decade. He's also made a career out of catching passes over and across the middle of the defense. (See: 2012 playoffs; opening-drive score in Super Bowl).

In that way, he acts a lot like a tight end. No, he's not as good a blocker as the 49ers' Delanie Walker, who is poised to test free agency. And Walker does not have Boldin's pass-catching prowess, as his multiple drops in 2012 illustrated. But you have to wonder whether Boldin could take over some of Walker's roles in the 49ers' offense should Walker land elsewhere.

-- Matt Barrows

March 11, 2013
Harbaugh to Harbaugh: 49ers trade for WR Anquan Boldin


If you can't beat him, trade for him.

That's what the 49ers did today with receiver Anquan Boldin, agreeing to send a sixth-round pick to Baltimore for the veteran wideout, who gave the 49ers fits in the Super Bowl. The Ravens were pressed against the salary cap and would have had trouble accounting for Boldin's $6 million salary.

The trade is pending a physical, which won't be completed until Boldin, 32, returns from a trip to Africa. By then, the 49ers ostensibly will have completed a deal to send Alex Smith to the Chiefs, giving them plenty of salary-cap space to accommodate the trade and Boldin's $6 million cap figure.

News of the deal was first reported by The Baltimore Sun. The 49ers do not comment on transactions until they are complete. However, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, appearing on NFL Live, said he welcomed another weapon to the offense. "We'll be happy to take him," Kaepernick said of Boldin.

March 11, 2013
Seahawks to land Harvin; 49ers eyeing big-bodied cornerback Smith

Their division rival Seahawks are poised to make a big move on offense by trading for wideout Percy Harvin. How will the 49ers react?

According to a league source, they are among the teams showing the most interest in Dolphins pending free agent cornerback Sean Smith, 25, who promises to be one of the most sought-after cornerbacks on the market. Smith, who is from Pasadena, was a second-round draft pick out of Utah in 2009.

At 6-3, 218 pounds, Smith won't be charged with covering the speedy Harvin. But he'd be a good matchup against Seattle's Sydney Rice, Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and the big-bodied receivers the 49ers had trouble covering in the playoffs and Super Bowl. Smith also has fared well against tight ends, such as New Orleans' Jimmy Graham.

The 49ers are expected to have a good salary-cap cushion heading into free agency. It's not known how they would accommodate Smith in a secondary that already has Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver. The Eagles, Buccaneers, Chiefs and Raiders also are expected to make a push for Smith, but the 49ers are considered one of the favorites - if not the favorite - to land him. The free-agency period begins Tuesday at 1 p.m.

-- Matt Barrows

March 11, 2013
49ers sign NT Ian Williams to two-year extension


Perhaps girding themselves for the loss of Isaac Sopoaga or Ricky Jean Francois or both, the 49ers today signed backup nose tackle Ian Williams to a two-year extension worth $3.5 million, according to Williams' agent, Drew Rosenhaus. The deal locks in Williams through the 2015 season.

"We are very pleased to extend the contract of a young, talented player like Ian," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "He will have the opportunity to continue to grow in our defense, and we look forward to his future development. Paraag (Marathe) and Drew deserve credit for working hard to put this deal together."

Williams (6-1, 305 lbs.) went undrafted out of Notre Dame in 2011, and he admitted that snub has fueled him the past two seasons. "I came in with a suitcase and some dreams," he said in a conference call today.

Williams played scant minutes (32 snaps) this season. But he played well in the preseason and in his brief appearances during the regular season. The 49ers had two players ahead of him, Sopoaga and Jean Francois, on their depth chart. Both, however, are pending free agents who could be in another city by the end of this week.

Jean Francois has received interest from five teams, including the Eagles, Titans and Browns. He's being eyed as both a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme and as a defensive end and/or nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment. Sopoaga's value, meanwhile, is as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme.

The 49ers don't value their nose tackle as much as other teams. The position leaves the field in passing situations, in which the 49ers found themselves quite often in 2012. Sopoaga, for instance, played only 31 percent of the team's defensive snaps.

The other nose tackle options currently signed for the future include 2012 practice squadder Lamar Divens and Tony Jerod-Eddie, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M last season. Williams has been among the 49ers who have continued to work out in Santa Clara since the season ended.

-- Matt Barrows

March 9, 2013
Report: 49ers looking at return man Cribbs


The 49ers, who need a punt returner and a wide receiver, are interested in a player who can do both, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports.

A league source told the paper that the 49ers are one of five teams that have inquired about Browns returner Josh Cribbs, who was second in the league with 457 yards on punt returns in 2012. One of the 49ers' punt returners from last season, Ted Ginn, is a free agent who is not expected back, while the other, Kyle Williams, is returning from an ACL tear.

Cribbs, 29, has good size at 6-1, 215 pounds and has proven durable over his career. He had a career-high 41 receptions in 2011 but had only seven for 63 yards last season as the Browns worked young wideouts into their offense. Presumably, he would welcome a bigger role on offense with the 49ers, who like multi-faceted players and who currently have question marks at the wide receiver spot opposite Michael Crabtree.

Cribbs also is familiar to 49ers special teams coach Brad Seely, who coached Cribbs for two seasons in Cleveland. (Seely might be a connection to another Browns free agent, kicker Phil Dawson).

Randy Moss, who finished the 2012 as the team's No. 2 wideout, Tweeted his farewell to the team last month. Another candidate, Mario Manningham, is coming off a late-season ACL tear. Last year's first-round pick, A.J. Jenkins, gained little experience as a rookie but is doing his part to establish a connection with quarterback Colin Kaepernick this offseason.

-- Matt Barrows

March 9, 2013
Jean Francois popular as free-agency window opens


Five teams have called to ask about Ricky Jean Francois, the 49ers' defensive lineman who is scheduled to become a free agent on Tuesday. Jean Francois' agent, Thomas Kleine, declined to say which teams have inquired, but he said they represent teams that run both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.

He said the 49ers still are interested in re-signing the 26-year-old lineman and that they called at 1:30 a.m. (EDT) to gauge the competition for Jean Francois. The NFL this year is a allowing a 72-hour window in which teams can contact the agents of pending unrestricted free agents like Jean Francois. That window opened at midnight eastern today.

Jean Francois (6-3, 295) can begin visiting teams on Tuesday. He mostly played nose tackle at the beginning of the 2012 season but started two games at right defensive end in San Francisco's 3-4 scheme after Justin Smith suffered a torn triceps Dec. 16. He can play any defensive line position in a 3-4 scheme and presumably is being eyed as a defensive tackle by some 4-3 teams.

March 8, 2013
Report: 49ers eyeing sack master John Abraham


Former Falcons defensive end John Abraham is scheduled to visit the 49ers after a meeting with the Seahawks today, writes Mike Garafolo of USA Today. Abraham (6-4, 263) has been a 4-3 defensive end throughout his career but projects to outside linebacker - who moves to defensive end in passing situations - in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.

The Falcons released Abraham, 34, last week in a cost-cutting move after a season in which he started 15 games and finished with 10 sacks. Abraham hasn't had any fewer than 9 ½ sacks in his last three seasons with Atlanta. Meanwhile, the 49ers are happy with their two starters at outside linebacker - Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks - but there is a sense that Smith, at least, wore down at the end of the season when he was dealing with a shoulder injury.

Smith finished with 19 ½ sacks and was named the team's MVP. Brooks finished with 6 ½ sacks and played well in the NFC Championship game - against Atlanta - and in the Super Bowl. He also intercepted a pass for a touchdown Nov. 25 against New Orleans.

The 49ers also have Parys Haralson, who is returning from a triceps tear, on the roster at outside linebacker, as well as 2012 rookies Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson. Veteran Clark Haggans is a pending free agent. He had surgery to repair a partially torn labrum after the season.

It's not known whether the Seahawks will push to sign Abraham before he leaves today. A four-time Pro Bowler, Abraham needs 6½ more sacks to become one of the NFL's Top 10 all-time sack leaders.

-- Matt Barrows

March 7, 2013
49ers tender restricted free agent Tramaine Brock


The 49ers today tendered a one-year contract to restricted free agent Tramaine Brock. The 49ers offered Brock, a cornerback, the lowest tender level, the so-called "original-level" tender worth $1.323 million. Because Brock went undrafted in 2010, the 49ers would not be compensated with a draft pick if another team signed him but they would get the opportunity to match any offers he receives.

Brock, 24, is the rare restricted free agent who could see some action on the market. He plays a coveted position and got some experience in 2011 - he had interceptions in each of the 49ers' first two games - before suffering a hand injury. He was the team's No. 5 cornerback this year behind Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox and played special teams. If he signed his tender, Brock would become an unrestricted free agent next year.

Interestingly, the team has not yet tendered their other restricted free agent, safety Darcel McBath. They have until March 12 to do that. The team is expected to allow last year's starter at free safety, Dashon Goldson, to reach free agency, and McBath was seen as one of the players who could compete at the spot if Goldson went elsewhere.

The 49ers also formally announced the signing of wide receiver Joe Hastings, who eventually made the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent out of Washburn in 2011. Hastings suffered a leg injury in the 2012 training camp and was released before the season.

-- Matt Barrows

March 6, 2013
49ers cut David Akers, create salary-cap space


David Akers, whose 2012 season began with a record-tying 63-yard field goal but ended in the worst slump of his career, was released today by the 49ers. That move, plus the pending trade of quarterback Alex Smith, will give the 49ers more than $12 million in salary-cap relief. Akers was due to earn a base salary of $3 million in the upcoming season.

A year after he set NFL records in field goals made (44) and attempted (52), Akers missed more attempts -- 13 -- than any other kicker in the league in 2012, including two potential game-winning kicks in separate overtime games against the Rams. He was particularly bad from 40 yards and beyond, making only nine of 19 long-range attempts.

His agent, Jerrold Colton, said Wednesday that Akers had a minor procedure last week after struggling with a sports hernia for the second half of the season. Akers had another procedure a year ago to address the sports hernia. He said he aggravated the injury during the season and flew to Philadelphia after the 49ers' Nov. 25 win in New Orleans to receive treatment.

Colton said Akers, 38, had no plans to retire. "He's very confident right now that he'll be as good as ever," Colton said.

Akers' slide grew so troubling that the 49ers took the unprecedented step of bringing in another veteran kicker, Billy Cundiff, for a competition just before the playoffs. Akers won that competition, but he still was shaky in the playoffs and the Super Bowl. He hit the left upright on his only attempt in the NFC Championship and would have missed a 39-yard try in the Super Bowl if the Ravens hadn't been flagged for running into the kicker.

March 6, 2013
All in: Ed Lee, Bay Area mayors pledge support for Super Bowl bid


The City of San Francisco may have felt jilted when the 49ers decided to build their new, $1.2 billion stadium 40 miles to the south in Santa Clara.

San Francisco is over that now.

That was the theme during a media event at the stadium today where San Francisco mayor Ed Lee, San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Santa Clara mayor Jamie Matthews spoke about the regional effort for - and regional benefits of - landing a Super Bowl at the new stadium. The game would be played in Santa Clara but San Francisco would be the focal point for the week's festivities.

The San Francisco Super Bowl Bid Committee will make its pitch for hosting Super Bowl 50 or 51 at the NFL owners meeting in Boston on May 21.

"I've already turned the page on the Niners building a stadium here," said Lee atop the stadium's northwest promenade. "... The strength of the bid will be in the collaboration of the region."

March 6, 2013
Revis-related: Exactly how bad was the 49ers secondary in 2012?


The clamor for Darrelle Revis is almost as intense as it was for Nnamdi Asomugha two years ago. Would a healthy Revis improve the 49ers secondary? Of course he would. With apologies to Richard Sherman, Revis is the best cornerback in the league. But his health is not guaranteed in 2013 after Revis tore his ACL last year. Not every player has the Wolverine-like healing ability of Adrian Peterson.

The bigger question is whether the 49ers secondary needs to be upgraded. San Francisco allowed 200 passing yards a game during the regular season, which tied for third-best in the NFL.

Of course, that number jumped to 306 yards per game in the playoffs, and that's what's fresh in the mind of fans. There was poor communication between cornerback and safety that led to a long touchdown for the Falcons. And cornerback Chris Culliver had a terrible outing against the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

March 5, 2013
Whither Walker? Depends on whether he's viewed as a starter


Who better to comment on the upcoming free-agent market than a long-time general manager? Former Colts personnel man Bill Polian - he drafted some guy named 'Manning' way back when - is now an analyst for ESPN. Polian held a conference call today, and I asked him how much attention a couple of pending 49ers free agents, safety Dashon Goldson and tight end Delanie Walker might get.

Goldson, a pro bowler and all-pro this past season, has received by far more attention than Walker, who is the No. 2 tight end to Vernon Davis. So I thought it was interesting that Polian spoke first and at length about Walker. Here's what he said:

"I think both will command a fair amount of attention. There's always a buzz, if you will, about the players who played well in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl, and both did.

"In Delanie Walker, you have a really, really interesting guy. Age is a bit of a concern with him - minor - but, you know, he's not 25 any longer. But he's very, very versatile. He can play fullback. He can play tight end. He can play in the slot. He's very productive and he's a tough guy. He's a really good blocker and a willing blocker. So I think he'll get some activity. The question is, how much and what's the fit? And that's always the question and that's the over-arching question in free agency.

"This is a good safety year in the draft and to some degree in free agency. But nonetheless, I think they're both good players and they will both command attention. To me, the question is, at what price? And only the market will tell us that going forward."

Walker is 28 and he turns 29 in August. He was an important part of the 49ers' offense this season for all the reasons Polian pointed out, and he played 57 percent of the team's offensive snaps this year. As long as Davis is on the squad, the 49ers won't want to pay Walker like a No. 1 tight end. (I've heard they want to pay him about $3.5 million a year; he made $1.05 million in base salary last year). The question is whether another team sees Walker as a No. 1 tight end.

March 4, 2013
Culliver spends the day with The Trevor Project


Cornerback Chris Culliver, who last month vowed to learn more about the gay and lesbian community after his well-publicized comments about gays in the locker room at the Super Bowl, began making good on that promise today.

Culliver spent the day at the Los Angeles office of The Trevor Project, which provides crisis and suicide intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths. Culliver's public relations representative, Theodore Palmer, said that Culliver, 24, met Sunday with the group's executive director. He also paid to have the organization's national education trainer fly in from New York for Monday's session.

"He wants to use his profile as a professional athlete to help," Palmer said. "He wants to become a volunteer for the organization and become more active. He really learned a lot today."

Culliver was being interviewed by comedian Arte Lange five days before the Super Bowl when Lange asked him about gay players in the locker room. "No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do," the cornerback responded. "Can't be with that sweet stuff."

The comments were widely circulated and criticized, and Culliver immediately issued an apology and promised to educate himself on the issues involving LGBTQ youth. A contingent from the 49ers, including vice president of football affairs Keena Turner and public relations director Bob Lange, also met with representatives from The Trevor Project today.

Trevor Project spokeswoman Laura McGinnis said that if Culliver follows through on becoming a volunteer, there are several things he could do, including becoming a crisis intervention volunteer or working with programs directed at young people, ages 13-24. McGinnis said there was no reason to suspect that Culliver wasn't sincere in his desire to understand and help at-risk youth.

"Chris is a young guy himself," she said. "He reached out to The Trevor Project. And that's a good thing."

Also: Culliver acquaintance filmed iconic gay-rights film

-- Matt Barrows

March 4, 2013
If Goldson departs, who steps in at free safety?


As expected, the 49ers did not use the franchise tag today, meaning that the top candidate for that designation - safety Dashon Goldson - is free to hit the open market beginning at 1 p.m. March 12.

Goldson was a free agent two years ago. He didn't find the riches he was seeking, however, and he returned to the 49ers on a modest, one-year deal that season. It's certainly possible he'll again find the market colder than expected. After all, the salary cap will rise by only a small percentage and the big pay days that free agents received in the past only have occurred for a few select players in recent years.

Then again, Goldson is in the prime of his career at age 28, has been healthy the last four seasons and is coming off two excellent campaigns. He has nine interceptions in the past two seasons and was voted to both the pro bowl and the All-Pro squad this past season. It's quite possible that Goldson, a fourth-round pick in 2007, has played his last snap for the 49ers.

If that's the case, who replaces him in the starting lineup? Here are the candidates:

C.J. Spillman. He is every bit as hard-hitting and aggressive as Goldson, and the 49ers have used him in goal-line and short-yardage situations the last two years. He got a lot of practice with the first-team defense in 2011 when Goldson was shopping himself in free agency and Reggie Smith was hurt. However, he lacks game-day experience and to this point has been more of a tackler/enforcer than a player who understands the nuances of coverage.

March 4, 2013
No tag expected for Goldson, but will there be a long-term deal?


A month ago, Dashon Goldson made it clear he didn't want the franchise tag for the second straight season. "I felt that they wanted me to prove myself, and I think I did just that," the safety said as he was cleaning out his locker. "So if I was in the position again with the franchise tag, I'd be very surprised."

Barring a last-second change of plans, Goldson will get his wish and escape the franchise tag - teams have until 1 p.m. today to assign it - but it remains to be seen which team will give him the long-term contract he is seeking. The 49ers currently have $1 million in salary-cap space. They will gain $9.75 million more when they trade Alex Smith later this month, and another $3 million in savings could be gained by releasing kicker David Akers, which is expected.

Still, the 49ers already have given long-term contracts to several defensive players - Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks - in recent years, and there has been little progress to this point in the negotiations with Goldson. Over the last two offseasons, Goldson has been seeking a deal similar to the one safety Eric Weddle signed with the Chargers in 2011 - five years for $40 million. The 49ers have refused to match that asking price, a stalemate that continues today.

General manager Trent Baalke would not get into specifics while talking with local reporters at the scouting combine last month. But Baalke did say this about his free-agent class: "It's all about value, making sure you get the right value on players. You can't pay everybody, and you certainly can't pay everybody if you're overpaying others."

The 49ers want to do a long-term deal with tight end Delanie Walker, and they'd like to re-sign one of their two nose tackles, Ricky Jean Francois and Isaac Sopoaga. Beyond that, they could add a defensive lineman (Cullen Jenkins is visiting Tuesday), a wide receiver or a cornerback when free agency begins next week.

They also have some pricey contracts to think about down the road. Colin Kaepernick is signed for two more years and can begin discussing an extension at the end of next season. Tarell Brown and Justin Smith only have one more year on their contracts; Michael Crabtree and Aldon Smith have two more seasons remaining.

Baalke said the 49ers also were examining contract extensions. "But it takes both sides to be able to come together on a number," he said. "And sometimes you're able to do that, and sometimes you're not. We're going to work hard at it, be diligent at it, but we're also going to make sure we make good decisions."

- Matt Barrows

March 2, 2013
Moss bids 49ers farewell via Twitter


Randy Moss appears to have run a fade route on Twitter.

The veteran wide receiver, who said he thought he should have been used more in the 49ers offense last season, bid his former team a fond farewell on the social media site. Moss will become a free agent on March 12, and to this point there has been no talk between Moss and the 49er about another year.

"Wished we could've finished the job!!," Moss wrote Saturday night. "thanks for the opportunity an good luck in the future 9ers."

Moss received constant kudos from head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2012 for his work ethic both on the field and in the classroom, and the young 49ers hung on Moss' every word as if he were an oracle. But Moss' playing time was divided among two other receivers -- Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams -- early in the season, and even when those two got hurt late in the year, Moss didn't see a lot of passes thrown his way. He caught 28 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns, and he had none of the deep-down-the-field receptions that made him famous and for what he primarily will be voted into the hall of fame

At the Super Bowl, Moss, 36, said he wanted to play in 2013. Would it be in San Francisco, he was asked? "I don't know about that," he said. "Next question.

Moss also used the "next question" tactic when asked, earlier in the year, if he was happy with his scant playing time. When pressed on the topic later in the session, he demurred, "Because it's really not up to me. Like I said, I come out here and practice every day and when called upon, I just go out there and try to make a play. It's not up to me."

At the NFL combine last month, general manager Trent Baalke sounded a lot like Harbaugh in celebrating the receiver's leadership skills and intelligence. Baalke, however, was noncommittal when asked about another season with Moss

"We're certainly happy that he was there," Baalke said. "Is he going to return this year? I don't know that yet."

Without Moss, the 49ers have few options for the wideout spot opposite Michael Crabtree. Manningham and Williams both are returning from late-season ACL tears, and the 49ers seem as unwilling to strike a new deal with Ted Ginn as they do with Moss. Meanwhile, 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, who didn't catch as pass last season, currently is working out in Atlanta with Colin Kaepernick. The team signed ex-49ers receiver Joe Hastings last week and they have two receivers from the 2012 practice squad, Ricardo Lockette and Chad Hall, signed for this season as well.

-- Matt Barrows

March 2, 2013
Report: Ex-Eagle Jenkins to visit 49ers Tuesday


Cullen Jenkins' busy free-agency tour will stop in Santa Clara. The former Packers and Eagles defensive linemen already has visited the Giants and will continue to Seattle (Monday) and Santa Clara (Tuesday) early next week, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

The 49ers are eying Jenkins, who turned 32 in January, for depth along a defensive line that saw Justin Smith go down with an injury last season and which could be without soon-to-be free agents Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois in 2013.

Jenkins, 6-2, 305, seems to fit the defensive end/defensive tackle role that Smith and Ray McDonald play for the 49ers. Jenkins had a career-high seven sacks for the Packers in 2010 before moving onto what was billed as Philadelphia's "dream team" the next season. He played in all 16 games and finished with 22 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble in 2012. He was released earlier this week, which allow him to shop himself before the league year and free agency officially begin March 12.

As for Jean Francois and Sopoaga, both appear poised to make it to free agency. Jean Francois, in particular, will be a hot commodity at age 26. The 49ers are hesitant to pay him more than starter McDonald, who signed a five-year, $20 million with $7 million guaranteed in 2011. If Jean Francois departs, the 49ers likely would sweeten their offer to Sopoaga ... if he's still on the market.

-- 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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