49ers special teams: Unlikely Ginn will muff return chores


49ers special teams: Unlikely Ginn will muff return chores

The competition on special teams this summer will not involve those players kicking the football. Rather, the main focus will be on those assigned to catch it.In the final installment of this nine-part series looking at the 49ers' offseason, we examine the team's specialists.Special teams
Andy Lee, coming off a season in which he set the NFL single-season net-punting record at 44.0 yards, signed a six-year, 20.4 million contract this offseason to make him the third-highest paid punter in the league.Kicker David Akers is also coming off a record-setting season. He established an NFL record with 44 field goals even if he did rank in the middle of the NFL (14th) in field-goal percentage among kickers with 20 or more attempts.Undrafted free agent Giorgio Tavecchio (Cal) did not receive a signing bonus to join the 49ers. His presence will enable the 37-year-old Akers to remain fresh throughout camp.Of course, two 49ers turnovers on special teams will long be remembered as critical plays in their exit from the playoffs. Veteran Ted Ginn, who did not fumble last season while handling 56 punts and 29 kickoffs, was out with a knee injury. And Kyle Williams took his place.Ginn tested the free-agent market but could not find a team that envisioned him as a major contributor on offense. He returned to the 49ers on a one-year contract. Ginn did not participate in any 49ers practices during the offseason as he nursed a right knee injury. Toward the end of the offseason program, Ginn looked to be nearing 100-percent speed during his workouts.Williams is in line to be back as Ginn's backup in the return game. Williams was at the front of the line in handling kickoffs and punts during the offseason program.Another player to watch is cornerback Perrish Cox, who is attempting to return to the NFL after going through last season unemployed while facing sexual assault charges in Colorado. The 49ers signed Cox shortly after he was acquitted in March.Cox lined up deep on kickoffs in the offseason and also looked reasonably steady fielding punts. As a rookie, Cox returned three punts for the Denver Broncos. After a muffed punt in an early season game proved costly in a Broncos loss, Cox was replaced on returns.Rookie LaMichael James will likely get a chance to return punts and kickoffs in training camp. Because of Oregon's late graduation, James was not eligible to participate in the 49ers' offseason program until after the team's mandatory minicamp.Rookie receivers A.J. Jenkins and Nate Palmer, neither of whom returned punts in college, struggled on the final day of minicamp as they tried to catch punts from Lee on a windy day on the Santa Clara practice field.Kendall Hunter and Chris Culliver are in the mix on kickoff returns.Special-teams coordinator Brad Seely will also set aside a few roster spots for players to help on the coverage units. Veteran Rock Cartwright and second-year player Colin Jones are two players whose hopes for roster spots are tied directly to their contributions on special teams.Two-time Pro Bowler Brian Jennings returns as the long-snapper. The 49ers will also have first-year player Kyle Nelson in camp. The 49ers have one open roster spot after veteran long-snapper Ryan Pontbriand struggled mightily during minicamp and was released. If you missed them, here are the other 49ers offseason reports:Quarterbacks: Alex Smith leaves no doubt after a strong offseason.Running backs: Finally, some help for Frank Gore.Wide receivers: Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree set the pace (and, folks, let's stop hyperventilating and give A.J. Jenkins some time to develop -- like a year or two).Tight ends: Does Delanie Walker see a reduction in play time?Offensive line: Alex Boone takes a strong handle on right guard.Defensive line: With starters set, 49ers are looking for more from backups.Linebackers: Aldon Smith becomes an every-down player.Defensive backs: Top passing teams will test the secondary early and often in regular season.

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.