Day 1 recap: Alex Smith free-agent talk muted


Day 1 recap: Alex Smith free-agent talk muted

For the first time since he was selected with the first overall pick of the 2005 draft, quarterback Alex Smith spent a day not committed to the 49ers.Smith remained unsigned Tuesday, the first day of free agency. And that rates as an upset, considering both sides seem to agree that they want a deal to get done. And over the weekend while taking part in a Kurt Warner charity event, Smith promised, "It will get done."An offer from the 49ers has been on the table for a while. On Monday, 49ers CEO Jed York said, "The ball's in his court."Clearly, the sides disagree on Smith's value in dollars, years or structure of the proposal. Otherwise, this deal would've been hammered out long ago.

RELATED: Jed York addresses Alex Smith contract status
Free agency began at 1 p.m. Tuesday, and Smith spent his first day in NFL limbo since the time seven years ago when he was uncertain if the 49ers would indeed make him the first pick in the 2005 draft.Sure, Smith remained unsigned for several months last spring and summer during the lockout, but he was always committed to the 49ers. Coach Jim Harbaugh gave him the playbook, and Harbaugh gave Smith's wife flowers after the couple experienced the birth of their first child.This offseason, it was Smith's turn to provide the clues that he's loyal to the 49ers. First, Smith went on stage in Indianapolis the night before the Super Bowl to make an acceptance speech on behalf of Harbaugh, who was named NFL Coach of the Year. Then, Smith caddied for Harbaugh during the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.Everyone still expects the deal to get done, but it's more than a little curious why Smith has reached the free-agent market, forcing 49ers.com, the team's website, to remove his name from the team's official roster. Blake Costanzo was the 49ers' coaches choice as the team's special-teams candidate for the Pro Bowl last season. Costanzo came to the 49ers on the recommendation of special-teams coordinator Brad Seely a year ago, and he did not disappoint.
Costanzo, who is New Jersey through and through, showed up one day in early August to sign with the 49ers wearing a San Francisco Giants ballcap. From that point on, he was all-49ers.RELATED: Blake Costanzo headed to Bears
That's why it was surprising that general manager Trent Baalke decided against bringing him back. The 49ers want their special-teams players to be able to play defense, too, and the personnel department did not consider Costanzo as an option at inside linebacker, if he were needed behind Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman.Top backup Larry Grant is a restricted free agent, and he could leave if another team decides they want him to start. The 49ers re-signed Tavares Gooden to a one-year, minimum-level deal. Gooden started 12 games for Baltimore in 2009.RELATED: 49ers re-sign Gooden to one-year deal
And it wouldn't have taken a whole lot to retain Costanzo, either. He ended up agreeing to a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears worth a little under 2 million, including a 400,000 signing bonus, a league source said.
After signing cornerback Perrish Cox to a minimum-level deal early in the day and flirting extensively with free-agent cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Eric Wright, it appeared as if the 49ers had turned the page on Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers.RELATED: Cox promises 'from here on out, I'll show it'
But the attention the 49ers paid to others on the cornerback market ended up helping them get a four-year deal done with Rogers. The exact structure and terms are not known, but it was reported as being worth 29.3 million.The Dallas Cowboys are considered the prohibitive favorites to sign Carr, while Wright reached contract terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning. The 49ers begin Day 2 of free agency with an estimated 15 million in cap space -- taking a guess that Rogers' deal counts around 3 million in 2012.As CSNBayArea.com reported on Tuesday, receiver Randy Moss signed a one-year deal that counts only 1.75 million against this year's cap. He received no guaranteed money, and another 750,000 is tied to game-by-game roster bonuses. Moss will earn 46,875 for every regular-season game he suits up for the 49ers.In essence, the 49ers get Moss for a six-month tryout. If the 49ers decide at the end of training camp that he does not fit with the team, the 49ers can cut him and they would not have paid Moss a penny.The 49ers aren't done looking at wide receivers, either. After Joshua Morgan left to sign with the Washington Redskins, the 49ers on Tuesday brought in Chaz Schilens (Raiders) and Brandon Lloyd (St. Louis) for visits. The first day of free agency was a quiet one for 49ers notable free agents Alex Smith, Adam Snyder and Ted Ginn.And, now, on to Day 2.

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


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


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.