49ers

Ginn, Morgan closing in on free agency

695986.jpg

Ginn, Morgan closing in on free agency

In exchange for Ted Ginn accepting a 1.2 million pay cut at the start of last season, the 49ers agreed to rip up the final year of his contract to enable him to become a free agent.So with free agency set to begin on Tuesday at 1 p.m. (PT), it would only make sense that Ginn would take advantage of the situation to see what's available to him on the open market.Things can happen quickly this time of year, but there appears to be a strong possibility Ginn and Joshua Morgan will test the free-agent market next week.Ginn caught just 19 passes for 220 yards in 14 games with three starts, but his most value to the 49ers comes as a return man. Morgan was playing well when his season came to an end. He caught 15 passes for 220 yards in five games.

RELATED: 2011 Game logs -- Ted Ginn Josh Morgan
Morgan might be more difficult to re-sign than originally believed. Jacksonville is expected to make a competitive play for Morgan once the free-agent signing period opens. Former 49ers assistant Jerry Sullivan, who thinks highly of Morgan, was hired as the Jaguars wide receivers coach in January.Morgan is making good progress as he continues to work out at the 49ers facility after undergoing season-ending surgery in October to repair a fracture just above his right ankle.The 49ers can be expected to add at the receiver position through free agency from an unrestricted pool that includes such players as Vincent Jackson, Robert Meachem, Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon, Mario Manningham and Early Doucet.RELATED: A look at NFL free-agent class
Mike Wallace is the top player on the restricted market, but any team that signs him to an offer sheet would have to part with a first-round draft pick. The 49ers pick No. 30 in each round.Currently, the 49ers have just three receivers under contract for 2012: Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Joe Hastings, a late-season call-up from the practice squad. Brett Swain is a scheduled restricted free agent. The 49ers are not expected to tender Swain, but he could return with a lower contract to compete for a roster spot.

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

armstread-hand.jpg
USATSI

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead will be out indefinitely with a broken hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

“He’s going to need surgery, so it’s going to be some time,” Shanahan said of Armstead, the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The 49ers will discuss placing Armstead of injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least eight weeks. The 49ers will also be without defensive end Aaron Lynch this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch is week-to-week with a calf strain.

“The more guys you lose, the less you like that depth,” Shanahan said. “Losing Arik, which could be some time. We’ll have to discuss IR. We have to do that over the next couple of days. We know we’re going to have Lynch out, too, for at least a week or most likely more. That takes away two guys who were helping.”

The 49ers might make a roster move to add a defensive lineman to their 53-man roster. The 49ers also expect outside linebacker/defensive end Dekoda Watson to return to action this week after missing two weeks with a groin strain.