49ers Mailbag: James' exact role remains a mystery


49ers Mailbag: James' exact role remains a mystery

Let's go straight to the 49ers' Mailbag . . . Q: How has LaMichael James progressed in camp? Haven't heard a lot of news about him. (@DemilleHunt)
LaMichael James is quick. LaMichael James is fast. But can LaMichael James elude the quicker, faster defensive players he'll face in the NFL?I suspect he can -- certainly not to the level at which he made defenders miss while at Oregon -- but it's difficult to get much of a read on James during practices when there's no tackling allowed.The only thing I've learned about James during training camp is that he appears to be a lot more comfortable fielding punts than I anticipated when the 49ers selected him in the second round of the draft.James is probably the most intriguing of the 49ers' offensive players because of the number of options he gives offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He can line up in the backfield, in the slot or split out wide.I suspect we won't see a whole lot of variety from James during the four exhibition games. After all, the 49ers want to keep the Green Bay Packers guessing about how James will be utilized on Sept. 9 in the season opener at Lambeau Field.
Frankly, I'm of the opinion that Kendall Hunter is still the 49ers' second-best running back. I'm not exactly sure how James fits into the picture this season. But it's almost imperative the 49ers find a way to get the ball into James' hands at least a handful of times. After all, they spent a second-round pick on him for a reason.
Q: Randy Moss, a Pro Bowler this year? (@EmirMetovic)
That would surprise me. No, actually, that would shock me.While Randy Moss has done everything the 49ers have asked of him, beginning when he reported for the 49ers' offseason program, let's not forget he's 35 years old and sat out last season after being unproductive for three different teams in 2010.The way Mario Manningham has played this week at training camp, it's reasonable to think Moss could be the 49ers' third-best wide receiver this season. I certainly do not expect Moss to have a great volume of receptions this season on a team that also features Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Manningham.The 49ers' offensive approach is not going to change this season. Roman and coach Jim Harbaugh want to run the ball. But each game is a different entity. If the 49ers are playing from in front, they're going to run the ball more. If they're playing catch-up, they'll throw.They are not going to morph in to a spread offense and throw the ball around the field on a week-to-week basis because that's not the way they're built. So I expect pass-catchers on other teams will put up better stats and get Pro Bowl recognition.

49ers linebacker Foster named to NFL All-Rookie team


49ers linebacker Foster named to NFL All-Rookie team

Linebacker Reuben Foster was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America.

Foster started all 10 games in which he appeared for the 49ers after being selected with the No. 31 overall pick out of Alabama. Foster finished second on the 49ers with 72 tackles. He had seven tackles for loss, ranking No. 2 on the team behind rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

Foster was one of three linebackers selected as an all-rookie performer. Thomas, the No. 3 overall draft pick, was not among the four defensive linemen honored.

[MAIOCCO: Ex-agent says Reuben Foster's arrest could void salary guarantees]

Foster was selected as the winner of the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. He missed five games early in the season with a high ankle sprain and another game with a ribs injury.

The NFL’s top defensive rookie was New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who recorded five interceptions and scored a touchdown while making 13 starts.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
CO-OFFENSIVE ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs and RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: CB Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

QB – Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
RB – Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs; Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
WR – Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams; Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
TE – Evan Engram, New York Giants
C – Pat Elflein, Minnesota Vikings
G – Dan Feeney, Los Angeles Chargers; Jermaine Eluemunor, Baltimore Ravens, and Ethan Pocic, Seattle Seahawks (tie)
T – Garett Bolles, Denver Broncos; Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints

DL – Derek Barnett, Philadelphia Eagles; Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns; Carl Lawson, Cincinnati Bengals; Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants
LB – Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions; Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
CB – Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints; Tre'Davious White, Buffalo Bills
S – Jamal Adams, New York Jets; Marcus Williams, New Orleans Saints

Special Teams
PK – Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs
P – Rigoberto Sanchez, Indianapolis Colts
KR – Ryan Switzer, Dallas Cowboys
PR – Jamal Agnew, Detroit Lions
ST – Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals

Ex-agent says Reuben Foster's arrest could void salary guarantees


Ex-agent says Reuben Foster's arrest could void salary guarantees

Reuben Foster’s arrest Friday night on marijuana charges in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is likely to void $2.5 million in salary guarantees, according to a former NFL agent.

Joel Corry, appearing on the 49ers Insider Podcast, said there is language in Foster’s contract that voids the salary guarantees if he is fined under the NFL’s Policy on Substances of Abuse.

“Typically with veteran contracts, you must be suspended . . . in order to have contract guarantees void,” said Corry, whose work appears on CBS Sports. “What we’ve seen in rookie deals is they’ve extended that to getting fined, as well.”

According to a league source familiar with the 49ers’ structure on rookie contracts, the team’s standard practice is to void guarantees with fines. The 49ers were not harder on Foster because of a failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a diluted sample.

Foster was released on $2,500 bond on Friday evening after being booked on second-degree marijuana possession, according to the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office.

Under the NFL’s Policy on Substances of Abuse, the first offense for a violation of Stage Two, if marijuana, includes a fine equivalent to the pay of two game checks.

In Foster’s original contract, his entire scheduled salaries of $875,708 in 2018 and $1.286 million in 2019 were fully guaranteed. In addition, $339,000 of his scheduled $1.697 salary in 2020 was guaranteed.

“What that means is,” Corry said, “he doesn’t get the money, no matter what, any more. But he can still make the same money that’s in the contract on a non-guaranteed basis, but you don’t have the same security as you did before.

“So if his rookie year turns out to be an anomaly or off-the-field issues end up being problematic, it gives the 49ers more latitude to either ask him a pay cut or to release him.”

Foster started all 10 games in which he appeared for the 49ers as a rookie. The first-round draft pick from Alabama recorded 72 tackles.