49ers

49ers Mailbag: What's next for Reuben Foster after arrest?

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AP

49ers Mailbag: What's next for Reuben Foster after arrest?

What is going to happen to Reuben Foster? (John Riley)
It’s much too early to tell, but . . .

As an isolated incident, probably nothing of consequence would happen to Foster as a result of his arrest Friday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on a charge of second degree possession of marijuana.

However, there is a cumulative effect as it relates to the NFL’s Policy on Substances of Abuse.

He was presumably already in the NFL’s confidential program, based on his admission that he provided a diluted urine sample at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last year. The NFL views a diluted sample as a positive test.

Foster said he was sick before the combine – possibly from food poisoning. He had a difficult time keeping food down, he said, so in order to keep up his weight he drank a lot of water and Gatorade.

According to the NFL’s policy, the first discipline for Stage Two, if for marijuana, is a fine equivalent of two game checks. A second violation would require a minimum suspension of four regular and/or postseason games.

How do you view the relationship between Saleh and Norton Jr. (Ivan Paz Alonso)
Among the first calls Ken Norton Jr. received upon his firing as Raiders defensive coordinator came from 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, he said. The men worked together with the Seattle Seahawks. Norton was the linebackers coach, and Saleh was his assistant.

Norton said a big part of his focus will be working with and mentoring Foster. Norton had a positive influence on Bruce Irvin when they worked together with Seattle and Oakland. Part of Norton's job will be to provide Foster with another positive influences in his life.

Frank Gore. Retiring a Niner. They owe him. How do they make it work? (Lars Grelck)
You will not find anyone with the 49ers who has anything but glowing things to say about Frank Gore. However, it’s highly unlikely the 49ers would have interest in him as a player.

Coach Kyle Shanahan is looking for running backs who have more home-run-hitting potential. Gore is as steady as they come. But he turns 35 in May and he is not a good fit for what the 49ers are trying to build on offense.

But it seems obvious Gore is a strong candidate to retire with the 49ers – a sporting tradition that started with Roger Craig and the 49ers more than 20 years ago. A lot of the 49ers coaches and executives who were around when Gore played for the team are now gone.

But Gore has maintained a strong relationship with CEO Jed York. After the Indianapolis Colts played the 49ers last season, Gore sought out York and the men spoke outside the 49ers locker room.

Expect Gore to sign a ceremonial contract with the 49ers after he has played his final NFL game.

Do you think they will franchise tag Jimmy G or sign him to a long-term deal. If it’s a long-term deal, do you think they will make him the highest paid QB in the NFL? (Morgon Holden)
If the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo do not reach a multi-year contract by March 6, the team will tag him as their franchise player. I believe there is confidence on both sides that a deal will be reached. With only seven starts in four seasons, I would not expect him to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league. But he will never had to worry about money for the remainder of his life.

The Niners have a lot of decisions to make at safety, who will they keep? (Johnny O'Dea)
The 49ers have intimated that they have no problem bringing back Jimmie Ward on his $8.5 million deal on the fifth-year option. We know Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert will definitely be back, with Tartt being a strong candidate for a contract extension this offseason. I think Eric Reid will hit the open market. If Reid does not attract a lot of attention in free agency, the 49ers would entertain the thought of bringing him back on a one-year deal. Competition in the offseason program will determine who starts in what spots, but they all can be expected to play significant roles.

What players put on IR early in the year could have big impact next season? (Stépheñ Bůrkę)
--Linebacker Malcolm Smith, who sustained a torn pectoral during training camp, is the big one. He is expected to start at weakside linebacker with Foster moving to middle linebacker. The 49ers’ coaching staff was devastated when it was discovered Smith was lost for the season before the season even began.

--Running back Joe Williams (ankle) has a chance in his second year. He is exactly what the 49ers’ coaching staff wants from a skill standpoint. He needs to put in the work in the offseason and hold onto the ball in order to take advantage of his "redshirt year."

--Guard Joshua Garnett did not impress the coaching staff in the offseason and training camp before he went on injured reserve with a knee injury to open the season. The 49ers asked him to put in the time and effort to reshape his body. He looks a lot better. Now, the question is whether he can fit Shanahan’s system. The 49ers are hopeful that Garnett will make a huge leap, but they are not counting on it.

--Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (broken hand) enters his fourth season. The 49ers must make the call on whether to pick up the fifth-year option (for the 2019 season). There is little financial risk for such a decision, but it remains uncertain if Armstead is a fit for Saleh’s scheme.

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

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USATSI

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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USATSI

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.