49ers Mailbag: Big spenders in free agency?


49ers Mailbag: Big spenders in free agency?

The offseason has finally arrived for all 32 teams.

The top priority for the 49ers continues to be signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a long-term contract extension. The club will certainly look to improve during free agency with the right kinds of players.

Here is this edition of 49ers Mailbag with questions submitted from Facebook:

Do you think the 49ers will be big players in free agency this offseason? (Jason Moody)
They certainly have the cap space to be as aggressive as they want to be in free agency.

But they also want to make sure they do not take any unnecessary risks to wind up in a bad financial situation in the future. If the team wins and some of their young players emerge into stars, they will want to be able to keep those players around.

As the 49ers plan for the future, they want to draft well and retain their good players on their second contracts.

In order for the 49ers go spend big money on a free agent, they’re going to have to feel good about that player fitting the team in three areas:
1. Financially: The player must fit into the salary structure of the team;
2. On the field: The coaching staff must have a specific role in mind for how that player fits the scheme;
3. Off the field: The 49ers need to continue to collect players who are the kind of people who set the proper tone in the locker room and practice field.

What are the odds the Niners pursue Butler to address the need for a CB? (Ajay Ferrari)
Ah, yes, Malcolm Butler.

He did not have a good season. And, he found himself in Bill Belichick’s doghouse and was benched for the Super Bowl.

I have no idea what to make of that situation, but you can be assured the 49ers will tap their contacts with the New England Patriots before determining whether they want to investigate the possibility of negotiating with Butler as a free agent.

Have you heard any rumors on length and dollar amount of Garoppolo's future contract? (James Clevenger)
There are no rumors for dollar amounts for the Jimmy Garoppolo contract talks. I have not even heard any confirmation if the sides are even as close as what was reported nationally over the weekend.

But it’s safe to assume the deal will be somewhere in the range of $25 million per season and around five years. You can take what Garoppolo would receive if he played the next two seasons on the franchise tag, which amounts to $50 million, and divide by two for the annual average. His deal is likely to land somewhere very close to the five-year, $125 million deal Derek Carr signed with the Raiders last year.

Do you expect the 49ers to begin preparing for a future without Joe Staley soon? (Jake Shmelder)
Staley believes he has some good seasons left in him. But this is definitely an offseason in which the 49ers must look at lining things up for the future at offensive tackle.

After all, Trent Brown is set to enter his contract year. And it’s anything but a certainty that he will be back with the 49ers in 2019.

The 49ers could look to address offensive tackle in this draft. It would make sense if the 49ers drafted a lineman to plug in as a starting guard for one season before transitioning him to tackle.

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'


Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”