49ers

Kyle Shanahan shares his philosophy on drafting running backs

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AP

Kyle Shanahan shares his philosophy on drafting running backs

SANTA CLARA – Coach Kyle Shanahan – and his father before him – has experienced success with running backs who were not high draft picks.

A year ago, some thought the 49ers might use their top pick on Leonard Fournette. But Fournette was not among the Top 3 players on the team’s draft board. The 49ers selected defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with the No. 3 overall pick after trading back one spot with the Chicago Bears.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Fournette with the No. 4 selection. Fournette is likely to return to action Sunday against the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium after missing a game with a quadriceps injury.

“It’s been proven that you can get guys (running backs) later,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “But that by no means makes it that I’m going to say we’re never going to draft a running back high.”

Fournette leads the Jaguars (10-4) with 923 yards rushing and eight touchdowns as a rookie. He has also caught 29 passes for 213 years.

“When you find a special one (running back) and you think that makes sense for your team, you should never hesitate to do that,” Shanahan said.

“A big time running back, whether it’s Fournette; whether it’s Adrian Peterson, who was a top-10 pick; whether it was Terrell Davis in the sixth round; whether it’s David Johnson, I think was a third-rounder; Le’Veon Bell, I think was a second-rounder. All those guys are worth top-five picks, but they were all found in different places.”

Davis, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, was the key offensive weapon for the Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls in the late-1990s under Mike Shanahan.

“If Terrell came back out, I promise you he’s not going in the sixth round,” Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s probably going as a top-five pick. That’s one of the reasons they won Super Bowls. So you just got to find who you think that guy is, and there’s a lot of ways to do it.”

The 49ers could have a similar decision this year. Starting running back Carlos Hyde is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. The 49ers could be looking to add a back with more play-making ability. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is considered a possible Top 5 draft pick. The 49ers are currently in line to draft No. 4 overall.

The team this year drafted running back Joe Williams in the fourth round. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a foot injury, but the club is optimistic about his potential as a play-maker for next season.

An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations

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USATSI

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.

49ers linebacker Foster named to NFL All-Rookie team

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USATSI

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

2017 PFWA ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Offense
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

Defense
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