49ers defense clamps down on Cardinals


49ers defense clamps down on Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A year ago, Dashon Goldson scuffled with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Early Doucet and got ejected.On Monday, Goldson used legal methods to take out some punishment on the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver. Goldson flattened Doucet with a textbook hit to break up a fourth-quarter pass."Vince Lombardi would be proud," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of Goldson's hit.Said Goldson, "That's a compliment. It was a hard, clean hit, and that's something to be proud of. I'm proud of it. And I'm happy for that guy that he's OK and he got back in the game."Doucet had the wind knocked out of him. He remained on the turf for a few moments before leaving under his own power. Last year, Goldson was fined 25,000 for his role in a fight with Doucet, while Doucet received a 10,000 citation.The 49ers dished out a lot of hits Monday, as they held their fourth opponent this season without a touchdown."We are for real," 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "Our thing is just to continue to get better and continue to play week-in and week-out."The 49ers were dominant against the run. The Cardinals gained just 7 yards rushing on nine attempts. It tied the best performance by a 49ers run defense in franchise history. In 1972, the 49ers held the New Orleans Saints to 7 yards, too."It's good," 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith said. "That's part of what makes us good on defense is stopping the run and making them one-dimensional. We started to get back to that tonight."
Cardinals quarterback John Skelton completed 32 of 59 passes for 290 yards. Skelton's passer rating was just 68.6, as Chris Culliver intercepted a pass at the end of the first half. The 49ers also sacked Skelton four times.Outside linebacker Aldon Smith recorded two sacks, which he punctuated with a swing for the fence to pay tribute to the San Francisco Giants' World Series title."We have a great defensive line and they did a great job of putting presure on him and getting him off his spot," 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. "We were able to get some sacks on him and make some big plays on their wideouts."The 49ers held Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to five catches for 52 yards. Skelton targeted Fitzgerald with 11 passes."It was not the way we wanted to perform," Fitzgerald said. "On Monday Night Football, you want to perform better. It really was rough."

Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts


Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts

The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.

Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.

Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.

Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.

Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.

The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.

Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.

An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations


An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations

If the 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are unable to reach a multi-year contract extension by March 6, the 49ers have no other choice but to designate him as their franchise player.

The estimated one-year salary for the franchise tag would be $23.307 million, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry, whose work now appears at CBS Sports. (That is assuming a 2018 league-wide salary cap of $178.1 million per team.)

There is a lot to consider for both sides as they look to enter into a long-term contract. Corry said if a deal is struck, he would expect it to be in the neighborhood of Derek Carr’s five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason.

“And then there’s the other dynamic, which I would not undersell or I think may not be appreciated as much as it should be,” Corry said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “(Garoppolo’s agent) Don Yee has a reputation – no fault of his own – of doing team-friendly deals.”

Yee also represents New England quarterback Tom Brady, whose average of $20.5 million annual pay ranks 15th among NFL quarterbacks. Brady is underpaid by design, Corry said, because one of the great quarterbacks of all-time realizes it helps the Patriots to maintain a strong supporting cast.

“That’s because Tom Brady dictates, ‘I want to do something good for the team, take less money so we can improve the roster to win Super Bowls.’ That’s not Don Yee who wants to do that,” Corry said.

“The agent works for the player, so he’s executing Tom Brady’s wishes. But he gets that held against him in recruiting. So this is his opportunity to erase that perception if Garoppolo allows him to do his job and gives him latitude to strike the deal that he feels is appropriate.”

For more on the potential negotiating strategies of both sides, listen here to the 49ers Insider Podcast.