49ers key matchup No. 1: Crabtree vs. Cromartie


49ers key matchup No. 1: Crabtree vs. Cromartie

This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Jets matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (FOX-TV), at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Matchup No. 3: Ricky Jean Francois vs. Nick Mangold
Matchup No. 2: Carlos Rogers vs. Santonio Holmes
49ers WR Michael Crabtree vs. Jets CB Antonio CromartieTale of the tape
Crabtree (15): 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, fourth season, Texas Tech
Cromartie (31): 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, seventh season, Florida StateThe New York Jets were hit hard with a season-ending knee injury to Darrelle Revis, who was regarded as not only the team's best player but as the top cornerback in the NFL.If you ask Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie -- and the New York Daily News did -- who is now the best cornerback in the league, the answer is another Jets player."I have said that I'm the second-best corner in the NFL," Cromartie said this week. "I'm not backing off what I said. I don't care what anyone else believes. . . It's my confidence in myself. I know what I'm capable of when I'm at the top of my game."This is Revis' team. He's been a consistent corner every single year. I haven't been."Cromartie was a first-team All-Pro while with the San Diego Chargers in 2007. He has been up-and-down since the Jets acquired him in 2010. He must show a greater level of consistency, now that a lot more is expected from him.If he is assigned to shadow the 49ers' top receiver, he will be matched primarily against Michael Crabtree, who has 19 catches for 183 yards in three games.Crabtree has been at his best in working with quarterback Alex Smith on third downs. With six receptions for third-down conversions, Crabtree ranks behind only Danny Amendola (St. Louis), Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City) and Victor Cruz (New York Giants), each of whom has seven, for best in the NFL.With Revis out for the season, Cromartie becomes the Jets' No. 1 cornerback, while third-year player Kyle Wilson moves into the starting lineup."My job is not to be like Revis," Cromartie said. "My job is to be Antonio Cromartie. I'm supposed to be me. And I'm going to continue to be me. Here's a list of which 49ers Smith targeted in the first three games (receptions-yards-touchdowns):WR Michael Crabtree 24 (19-183-0)
TE Vernon Davis 20 (13-169-4)
WR Mario Manningham 13 (12-113-0)
WR Randy Moss 11 (8-88-1)
RB Frank Gore 7 (4-26-0)
TE Delanie Walker 6 (2-8-0)
WR Kyle Williams 5 (2-16-0)
RB Kendall Hunter 4 (3-23-0)
FB Bruce Miller 2 (1-15-0)

Ken Norton Jr. leaving 49ers after just one week for DC job


Ken Norton Jr. leaving 49ers after just one week for DC job

Ken Norton Jr.'s stay with the 49ers lasted about one week.

Last Monday, the 49ers hired Norton as the assistant head coach -  defense/inside linebackers. But now, he's going to exercise an opt-out in his contract in order to return to the Seahawks to become the defensive coordinator.

Originally reported by the NFL Network and KING 5 News in Seattle, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area the news that Norton was given permission to leave.

"Last week, Ken was presented with an opportunity to once again coordinate a defense. Because of how we feel about Ken as a coach, we understand and respect his desire to pursue the position," Shanahan said.

Serving as Jack Del Rio's defensive coordinator in Oakland, Norton was fired by the Raiders on Nov. 21. Norton coached the Seattle linebackers from 2010 through 2014.

This past week, Norton sat down with NBC Sports Bay Area to discuss his relationship with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and shared his thoughts on Reuben Foster.

Why Garoppolo's bank account should be rooting for the Patriots


Why Garoppolo's bank account should be rooting for the Patriots

Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer his backup, but the 49ers quarterback should still be cheering for Tom Brady to win another Super Bowl. 

Well, at least his wallet should. 

Garoppolo earns a big payday if the Patriots win two more games. If the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl, Garoppolo can add $56,000 and another $56,000 if New England wins it all. 

The Patriots play the winner of Jaguars vs Steelers in their seventh straight AFC Championship Game. 

The 26-year-old finished up the last year of his rookie deal this season. He signed a four-year, $3,483,898 contract when the Patriots drafted him in 2014. Garoppolo made a base salary of $434,158 in 2017. 

After leading the 49ers to five straight wins as the team's starting quarterback, the team is expected to try to sign Garoppolo to a long-term contract or give him the franchise tag is negotiations hit a snag.