49ers

49ers Mailbag: Brown gets off to rocky start

49ers Mailbag: Brown gets off to rocky start

After four practices, including two days of padded, contact work, the 49ers have their first day off of training camp on Tuesday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan will begin working on more situations when the team returns to the practice field on Wednesday, he said.

“We wanted to go two days of our base offense without pads, two days of our base offense and defense with pads, not really doing specific situations,” Shanahan said. “We’ve been walking through two-minute stuff in our walk-throughs in the afternoon. We’ll get in a lot more situational stuff in our fifth practice when we come back.”

The break in the action allows us a chance to take a step back. Here is the latest edition of the 49ers Mailbag with questions submitted through our Facebook page:

Which player is not looking so good out there on the field? (Frank Sanborn)
The starting-caliber player who has struggled the most in the two padded practices was right tackle Trent Brown. On Sunday, he surrendered upward of five sacks during 11-on-11 periods.

Brown gave credit to the 49ers’ defensive linemen and the variety of different styles he has gone up against – Arik Armstead, Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch, among them.

“It’s only going to make me better,” Brown said.

Shanahan said he was not concerned with Brown’s performance because he wants his players to use camp to experiment and refine their skills in order to peak at the start of the regular season.

“I like guys to come out, try techniques, try to improve and not really worry about perception, judging them day to day,” Shanahan said. “It’s a long process. You’re right, he didn’t have a great day (Sunday), but I think he did a lot better (Monday).

“It’s a long camp. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I hope he’s at his best Week 1.”

The 49ers instructed Brown to report to camp at no more than 358 pounds. He said he lost some additional weight to give himself a better chance to succeed this season.

“I took the first step of coming in at a good weight,” said Brown, who stands 6 foot 8. “I’m healthy. I’m light. I definitely feel better out there with the movements that are required of me at the position and doing things in this scheme.”

If Jimmie Ward misses time, do you see Eric Reid sliding back into the free safety role and Tartt sliding into the box as strong safety? (Max Carlson )
Jaquiski Tartt joined Ward and Reid on the injured list on Monday. Injuries to the 49ers’ top three safeties meant that Vinnie Sunseri and Lorenzo Jerome lined up with the first team.

Ward (hamstring) is expected to be activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list in mid-August. Reid (ankle) is day to day. It is unclear how long Tartt could be out with an injury to his ribs area. He sustained the injury to his left side while breaking up a Brian Hoyer pass for tight end Cole Hikutini.

The 49ers fully expect Ward and Reid to be back long before the opening of the regular season. Ward is the free safety. Reid is the strong safety. Both players seem entrenched at those spots.

When Tartt returns, he will remain as the No. 3 safety – capable of playing the position at which he is needed. With Ward is out, Tartt is the free safety. If a replacement for Reid is required, Tartt will play strong safety.

Is Carlos Hyde being challenged or does he look like the clear starter? (Josh Gale)
It was a good first week of practices for Hyde. He looks – right now – to be in good position as the team’s starting running back. Veteran Tim Hightower is also looking very good. He appears to be the team’s second-best running back.

Hyde looks to be adapting better and better to the 49ers’ run scheme. And he has also placed a lot of emphasis on catching the ball out of the backfield.

Rookie Joe Williams, a fourth-round draft pick who was seen as a serious challenger to Hyde, has gotten off to a slow start and he is still gaining familarity with the system. He also must do a better job of securing the football.

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

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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

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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.