49ers

49ers Mailbag: When will Beathard get his chance?

beathard.jpg
USATSI

49ers Mailbag: When will Beathard get his chance?

The 49ers have a chance to break into the win column on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, whose only victory this season came against the winless Cleveland Browns.

The 49ers have proven to be competitive in their past three games, losing to Seattle, the L.A. Rams and Arizona by a combined eight points.

Of course, there are plenty of questions about the direction of the team for the remainder of the season and into 2018. Here are some of the questions that were left on our Facebook page:

If Hoyer continues to struggle, what are the chances of them going to Beathard or getting another QB? (Rick Orozco)
The last thing Kyle Shanahan wants to do at this stage in the season is make a change at quarterback. But if Brian Hoyer can’t get things together, Shanahan might not have any other option.

Still, unless Hoyer completely implodes, it is difficult to imagine that a change will be made in the near future.

It’s highly doubtful the 49ers would sign another quarterback unless there is an injury. If the 49ers need to bring in someone from the outside, that quarterback would likely be Matt Barkley. C.J. Beathard beat out Barkley for a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster. Barkley has traveled around the league for some tryouts, but he remains unsigned.

Hoyer was the first to get a chance to prove that he can be the 49ers’ starter beyond this season. At this point, it seems obvious he is not the long-term answer. So why keep him as the starter?

The 49ers know their roster is not built to win right now. This season is all about setting up the organization for the future. It was paramount that the 49ers brought in a quarterback this season that fits the offensive system.

Hoyer knows the system. And he is the style of quarterback that Shanahan envisions for the 49ers into the future. Shanahan made the determination shortly after becoming head coach that Colin Kaepernick’s skillset was not a match for his offense.

All things being equal, yes, I think it’s obvious Kaepernick is a better player than Hoyer. But if the 49ers retained Kaepernick this season, Shanahan would have been forced to make major tweaks to his offense to take full advantage of Kaepernick’s style.

Hoyer underperformed in the 49ers’ first four games. While he does not appear to fit into the team’s long-term plans, he serves a valuable purpose of being a placeholder at the quarterback position while helping prepare the rest of the offense for the future.

After all, every player on offense is learning and training in a way that will help them in 2018 and beyond. If the 49ers had a quarterback who does not fit the system, then this would be a wasted year for every player on offense.

Do you think Hyde, Reid, Tank, & Lynch get extensions? (Brenton Beirne)
I don’t think all of those players will get extensions. And two players I’d like to throw in there are right tackle Trent Brown and center Daniel Kilgore.

Although the 49ers spent a fourth-round draft pick on running back Joe Williams, I think Hyde has made a convincing argument that he should be part of the 49ers’ future. He is a very good fit for the offense. He would be even more effective if the 49ers had a more dangerous passing game. If it were up to me, I’d put Hyde at the top of the list for a three-year contract extension.

Jaquiski Tartt could make Eric Reid expendable. If I were a betting man – at this stage in the season – I would wager that Tartt gets signed to a contract extension after the season. I could see the 49ers trying to lock up Tartt and Jimmie Ward to long-term contracts to play those critical roles in the team’s defense. I'm not sure Reid figures into the team's future.

I don’t know that Carradine or Lynch would be big priorities to re-sign. Carradine is a role player, a rotational player. There does not figure to be a spot for him in the starting lineup as long as Solomon Thomas remains healthy and continues to develop.

Signing Lynch to any kind of extension is a risk. I doubt the team would make any kind of large financial commitment to him.

Brown is an interesting case. He is eligible for a contract extension at the end of the season. The rumblings are that it will be difficult to sign him to a new deal because he has leverage of being attractive to multiple teams at left tackle. If he waits another year, he could break the bank in free agency.

The only way the 49ers can sign him to an extension is if they offer him left-tackle money. Also, as well as he is playing, there are questions about whether he can sustain his motivation and consistency. The challenge for Brown will be to continue to work at a high level once he signs a lucrative second contract.

The 49ers like Kilgore a lot. While he might not be considered a top-10 center, the feeling within the organization is that the team can win a lot of games with him in the middle of the line.

After four games, what do you think is the biggest 49ers position need? (Oscar Palacios-Flores)
I’m not going to give you just one position because this is a team that is in need of a lot of help to become a playoff contender.

Here's my rundown. . . 

Quarterback – The QB of the future is not on the team. The 49ers will look at the veteran market to land a player, such as Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo. If they do not acquire a veteran, they can use a high pick in the draft on the position.

Guard – Laken Tomlinson might be serviceable for the future, but the jury is still out. The 49ers will almost assuredly look to replace Brandon Fusco. The new regime does not seem sold on Joshua Garnett, who is ineligible to play this season after going on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery.

Wide receiver – This receiving corps would look a whole lot better with a true No. 1 guy. Pierre Garçon is very good. He’s a starter, for sure. But the 49ers would be a lot better with Garçon as the No. 2 guy. Marquise Goodwin is better-suited to a third option.

Pass rusher – The 49ers have a solid defensive line, but they lack a dynamic edge rusher.

Inside linebacker – Help is on the way. Reuben Foster will be back either next week at Washington or the following game against Dallas. The key loss was Malcolm Smith, whose season ended with a pec injury. He is expected to make a full recovery for next season.

Cornerback – Perhaps, Ahkello Witherspoon can develop into a front-line starter. Perhaps, Rashard Robinson can do the same. Perhaps, perhaps. In any case, the 49ers need to increase the skill level at this position. The only thing they seem to know for sure is that K'Waun Williams, who signed a contract extension last week, is reliable as the nickel back.

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

dan-jimmy-us.jpg
USATSI

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

jimmy-g-family.jpg
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.”