Kaepernick: 49ers look to build for next year

Kaepernick: 49ers look to build for next year

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will make his sixth start of the season on Sunday when the 49ers face the Miami Dolphins.

The 49ers have six games remaining in the season, and the playoffs have not been in the conversation for a while. So what keeps him motivated?

“We still have an opportunity to win games,” Kaepernick said on Tuesday. “That’s what we have to stay focused on and take it one week at a time. There is that feeling out there that we’re not going to be in the playoffs. But we still have an opportunity to do some good things and build on for next year.”

Of course, Kaepernick can opt out of the final year of his contract after this season after both sides agreed to a restructured deal last month. And the 49ers can simply release Kaepernick before April 1 to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay for 2017.

There are a lot of moving parts -- including who will be making the decisions in the 49ers organization -- that will determine where Kaepernick ends up in the offseason.

“I’m under a two-year deal right now,” Kaepernick said. “So my plan right now is I’m focused on this team.

“Right now, my focus is on the Miami Dolphins and helping this team win.”

The 49ers will look to avoid a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak on Sunday. The Dolphins head into the game on a five-game win streak. Kaepernick said the 49ers continue to be close-knit and working hard toward ending the skid.

“Everybody’s working hard to make sure we’re correcting everything we can to go out and get wins,” Kaepernick. “Every position, every player is trying to nit-pick what they’re doing to make sure we’re getting better each week to give an opportunity to win.”

From Eli to Jimmy G, 49ers' new center ready to protect Garoppolo


From Eli to Jimmy G, 49ers' new center ready to protect Garoppolo

New 49ers center Weston Richburg will be joining what he has heard is a good group of offensive linemen, led by six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, the longest-tenured 49ers player.

Richburg, 26, said he is also looking forward to working closely with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, 26. The 49ers expect the players to be on the field a lot together over the coming seasons. Garoppolo and Richburg both signed five-year contracts through the 2022 season this offseason.

When asked on The 49ers Insider Podcast if the organization’s long-term commitment to Garoppolo had any influence on his decision to come to the Bay Area after four seasons with the New York Giants, Richburg answered, “Doesn’t hurt.”

“You look at of the teams that have a lot of success -- the team he just came from, what I just came from -- there are two quarterbacks on those teams that have been there who have had success who work extremely hard at their craft,” Richburg said. “So I think see that in Jimmy. I’m excited to be a little part of what he does.”

Richburg played out of position at left guard in his rookie season. Over the next two years, he started 31 of 32 games at center, in front of two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning. Garoppolo came to the 49ers in an October trade from New England after spending most of his 3 1/2 NFL seasons behind Tom Brady.

Richburg said he expects to develop a good rapport with his quarterback – a must for an offense to function at a high level.

“If it’s bad, I think it can hurt you,” Richburg said of the center-quarterback dynamic. “But if it’s good, it can help.

“I think we’re going to have a good relationship. We’re around the same age. I think we’ll be able to pick each other’s brains, feed off each other, work together. That’s part of the position of center that I like the most is kind of the cerebral part of it and working with a quarterback, getting everything situated, getting everything running.”

Richburg started just four games last season and finished the season on injured reserve with a concussion. He said it was the first concussion he has experienced and is feeling good.

“It was new territory,” Richburg said, “but I’m feeling very good right now. I’m excited. I think I got a little more itch to go play football right now since it’s been a little longer for me.”

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.