49ers

Alex Smith: 'It sucks, I don't know what else to say'

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Alex Smith: 'It sucks, I don't know what else to say'

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith spoke Thursday to the media for the first time since he received word from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh that Colin Kaepernick is the team's starting quarterback.

"I mean, it sucks," Smith said. "I don't know what else to say."

Did Jim tell the two of you together?
"Yes."

Were you prepared for it?
"Yeah. I mean, for sure. I knew based off of the last couple weeks, the way things had gone, didn't know what was going to happen but I knew it was a possibility."

Is there anything you can say as far as stating your case?
"Well, I mean, I don't think talk is the place to do it. You state your case with your play, and I felt I did that. I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion."

Do you think this scenario would've played out two years ago, just given the attention concussions have gotten?
"I don't know. Ultimately, the doctors and me had to make that decision. I think it's a good thing that more and more is coming out about it (concussions). I don't think that's a bad thing."

You don't regret telling them you had the symptoms?
"No, I'm not looking back on that -- no, no."

Do you think this will have a stifling effect on other players coming forward?
"I don't know. It's a good question. I'm not sure. I mean, that's kind of the deal with all injuries. The thing with the concussions and the brain, I think we're going to be finding out a lot more in the years to come."

You've been through so many ups and downs in your career, how does this compare to some of the other bad moments?
"Yeah, those are all in the past. For this one, you're in it right now. This is such a great team, such a great group of guys in this locker room. There's something special going on. Yeah, it's a tough pill to swallow, for sure."

Is there any resentment to coach for making that decision?
"No resentment. No, I don't get make those decisions. That's what he gets paid to do. He's the head coach. I play football. That's what I'm going to continue to do. Continue to get ready and make the most of my next opportunity."

Are you believer in the adage that you don't lose your starting job through an injury?
"That's not something I really think about. This game is about opportunities and making the most of them, for each and every one of us and as a team, as a whole. No."

Do you think you'll be given another opportunity this year?
"I have no ideal. All I can do is just prepare and be ready."

Does it make it easier or more difficult to think that the last full game you played, you were NFC Offensive Player of the Week?
"Yeah, it's tough. That's why I said you kind of state your case with your play, and I felt like I'd done that. So in that sense, it is tough."

In the past, there have been other coaches who've said, 'There's a better quarterback for the job.' The fact that's Harbaugh, and you respect his quarterback evaluation so much, does it sting even more because he's saying, 'There's another quarterback we think is better'?
"I don't know about that. It stings the most because I really feel like there's something special going on here. You sacrifice and you invest so much time. Like I said, I really feel like I hadn't done anything but get a concussion to really to facilitate this. I feel like I was playing good football."

Some people want to see you angry on the sideline. Obviously, the cameras are on your the whole time?
"Like I said, you're in the middle of it right now. Just found out a couple of days ago. So, I mean, it sucks, to be honest."

Did you get an explanation about this?
"Oh, yeah. We sat down in there and talked. It wasn't just a one-sentence thing. For sure. He explained where he was coming from and felt like it was a difficult situation but he wanted to go in this direction."

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

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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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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.