49ers Mailbag: Offense nears NFL record


49ers Mailbag: Offense nears NFL record

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers' defense is one game away from setting an NFL record for fewest rushing touchdowns allowed in a season.But the San Francisco offense is also on the verge of carving out a spot in the NFL record book, too.The 49ers have not committed a turnover in the past 18 quarters. They have committed only 10 turnovers this season. If they make it through Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams without giving the ball away, the 49ers will tie the NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season.The New England Patriots set the mark last year with 10. The 1982 Kansas City Chiefs committed 12 turnovers.And that leads us into our first question from the 49ers Mailbag . . .

Do you think the offense will open up during the playoffs? (Mike Brown Sr.)
If that occurs, something will have gone terribly wrong for the 49ers, and their playoff stay will be a short one.After 15 games, it's very apparent what works for the 49ers. And a wide-open, spread-'em-out, throw-the-ball-around-the-field approach is not the formula.Quarterback Alex Smith is not going to be throwing for 350 yards a game in the playoffs. But what he can do is to continue to do what he has done this season. He's been one of the best in league history at avoiding turnovers.Smith has thrown five interceptions and lost just two fumbles on the season. The 49ers lead the NFL with a plus-26 turnover margin.Do you ever envision the defense switching to a 4-3 to utilize the strengths of Aldon Smith and get him on the field more? (Shawn Joseph)
No, because I think the 49ers believe that Aldon Smith is eventually going to be better-suited to standing up as an outside linebacker. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has a long history in the 3-4 defense, so he's not going to change overnight.And where the 49ers really succeeded this season was allowing Smith to ease into the transition. The coaches had him concentrate as a rookie on rushing the passer as a defensive end. During practices and some game situations, he worked on his techniques as an outside linebacker, too. He played 10 snaps of outside linebacker last week against Seattle when Ahmad Brooks was out with an elbow injury.Look for Smith to start next season as outside linebacker. Brooks is a free agent, so his return is not guaranteed. But if Brooks is back, there's a strong chance Smith would take over for Parys Haralson as the every-down guy.Any word on Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson deals for next season? (David Caracas)
Nothing is going to happen until after the season. Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson are likely to hit the open market. Both are going to be looking for the kind of free-agent love that they did not get a year ago.Hey, let's face it, Rogers and Goldson were very disappointed with what occurred in free agency. Rogers signed a one-year contract after looking for a lucrative multi-year deal. Goldson was said to be looking for "Eric Weddle money." Their stock is high right now.Both Rogers and Goldson want to remain with the 49ers. But the 49ers are trying to follow the mold of the New England Patriots -- a franchise that does not regularly compete with the over-spenders in the league. Rogers and Goldson might have to make sacrifices to return to the 49ers.I think there's a better chance Goldson re-signs. If Rogers leaves, the 49ers feel pretty good about Tarell Brown and Chris Cullliver as the starters with Tramaine Brock as the No. 3. Then, they can add a Carlos Rogers-esque veteran who slips through the cracks while also investing a draft pick in a corner, too.

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.