Receiver Braylon Edwards might not be the only 49ers offensive starter out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.Fullback Moran Norris was seen in the locker room Wednesday on crutches wearing an orthopedic boot on his left foot. Norris said he was fine, but it appears questionable whether he will practice this week due to the undisclosed injury.Norris played just four snaps in the second half of the 49ers' 27-24 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.Rookie Bruce Miller is the second fullback on the roster. The 49ers could also use more two- and three-tight end formations if Norris is unavailable.On Tuesday, the 49ers worked out free-agent tight end Richard Quinn, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Quinn was the Denver Broncos' final pick in the second round in the 2009 draft. Quinn sustained a knee injury in training camp and was waived.While Edwards will not be in the lineup this week, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects Michael Crabtree to return to action after missing last week's game with a left foot injury."It's day-by-day," Crabtree said. "I take it one day at a time. It's improving every day."Harbaugh did not disclose how long Edward would be out of action, but he is likely on a similar time frame as safety Reggie Smith, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 8 to repair a torn meniscus cartilage. Smith missed the exhibition season but was not limited for the week of practices leading up to the first regular-season game on Sept. 11.Thats the game of football, you have to deal with injuries, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said. I feel good about that group (of receivers). We got a lot of depth. They know all the positions and it showed last Sunday.
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.
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.”