49ers

A look at NFL free-agent receiver class

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A look at NFL free-agent receiver class

Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson and Wes Welker were tagged as franchise players. And the Buffalo Bills came up with a contract extension for Stevie Johnson.The 49ers have two of their receivers scheduled for free agency: Joshua Morgan and Ted Ginn. The 49ers are keeping those communication lines open. Morgan and Ginn remain solid options to return in 2012.
But with the opening of free agency looming on March 13, here is a look at the free-agent market for receiver-needy teams, such as the 49ers:
UNRESTRICTEDVincent Jackson, San Diego
6-5, 230, Age 29
16 games, 60 receptions, 1,106 yards, 18.4 avg, 9 TDs
(He expects to command 10-12 million annually, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. But the market will determine his price.)

Marques Colston, New Orleans
6-4, 225, Age 29 in June
14 games, 80 receptions, 1,143 yards, 14.3 avg, 8 TDs
(Took advantage of prolific passing offense with Drew Brees as triggerman and has a lot of wear on the tires.)

Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis
6-0, 210, Age 26 in August
16 games, 70 receptions, 947 yards, 13.5 avg, 6 TDs
(Despite horrible play at QB position, still managed decent numbers. Colts will try pair him with Andrew Luck.)

Robert Meachem, New Orleans
6-2, 210, Age 28 in September
16 games, 40 receptions, 620 yards, 15.5 avg, 6 TDs
(This next group of Meachem, Manningham and Doucet could rate as complements to No. 1 wideout Michael Crabtree.)
Mario Manningham, New York Giants
6-0, 185, Age 26 in May
12 games, 39 receptions, 523 yards, 13.4 avg, 4 TDs

Early Doucet, Arizona
6-0, 212, Age 26
16 games, 54 receptions, 689 yards, 12.8 avg, 5 TDs

Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis
6-0, 188, Age 31 in July
15 games, 70 receptions, 966 yards, 13.8 avg, 5 TDs
(There was no interest when he was available in a trade during last season.)

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis
6-0, 198, Age 33
16 games, 75 receptions, 960 yards, 12.8 avg, 4 TDs
(A much better fit for whichever team makes a run at Peyton Manning.)

Eddie Royal, Denver
5-10, 185, Age 26 in May
12 games, 19 receptions, 155 yards, 8.2 avg, 1 TDs.
(Receiver's worst nightmare: Trusting Tim Tebow to help him pad receiving numbers for salary drive; also, a good return man.)

Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Jets
6-5, 232, Age 35 in August
16 games, 45 receptions, 612 yards, 13.6 avg, 8 TDs
(The 49ers made a run at him last year and settled for Braylon Edwards, instead.)

Laurent Robinson, Dallas
6-2, 194, Auge 27 in May
14 games, 54 receptions, 858 yards, 15.9 avg, 11 TDs
(Fifth-year journeyman thrived with Tony Romo as his quarterback.)

Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
6-2, 190, Age 26 in February
16 games, 50 receptions, 725 yards, 14.5 avg, 4 TDs
(Off-field concerns might not have teams doing flips over his services.)
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Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh
6-0, 199, Age 26 in August
16 games, 72 receptions, 1,193 yards, 16.6 avg, 8 TDs
(San Francisco set up well to make run with a first-round pick as compensation because of draft position at No. 30 overall.)FRANCHISED
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City
6-2, 221, Age 28 in September
16 games, 81 receptions, 1,159 yards, 14.3 avg, 5 TDsDeSean Jackson, Philadelphia
5-10, 176, Age 25
15 games, 58 receptions, 961 yards, 16.6 avg, 4 TDs.Wes Welker, New England
5-9, 185, Age 31 in May
16 games, 122 receptions, 1,569 yards, 12.9 avg, 9 TDs

Montana, Clark scheduled to address crowd at Levi's Stadium

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AP

Montana, Clark scheduled to address crowd at Levi's Stadium

SANTA CLARA -- Dwight Clark and Joe Montana are scheduled to address the crowd Sunday at Levi’s Stadium at halftime of the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

It should be an emotional day, as 36 members from the team that defeated Dallas in the NFC Championship Game and went on to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title are expected to attend.

Montana is scheduled to be surrounded by his former teammates and speak from the field at halftime. Clark is likely to be situated in a suite, where he is expected to make some remarks. Clark, 60, announced in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross, appearing on the 49ers Insider Podcast, said he is looking forward to seeing so many of his teammates from the squad that served as a springboard for five Super Bowl titles under the ownership of Hall of Famer Eddie DeBartolo.

“I can’t wait to see (Clark),” Cross said. “I can’t wait to see Eddie. I can’t wait to see Joe. There is a core group of guys I’ve gotten to see a few times a year since we all went our separate ways. There are guys I’ll get a chance to see, in some cases, (for the first time) since almost around the time we parted ways in the early-‘80s.”

The NFC Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982, is best-remembered for “The Catch” – Clark’s leaping, finger-tip grab of a Montana pass for a 6-yard touchdown with 51 seconds remaining.

The 49ers defeated the Cowboys 28-27 at Candlestick Park. Coach Bill Walsh’s team went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, in Super Bowl XVI.

“For those of us who played on the Niners charity basketball team with both Joe and Dwight, and knowing their hoop skills and the way they could jump, we weren’t terribly surprised at: A, how high he threw it; and, B, how high Dwight got,” said Cross, who was blocking from his right guard position near the sideline and had an unobstructed view of the play.

“If Dwight got his fingers on it, it was going to be a catch. That was the thing about D.C., you won’t find too many instances in which he had a ball on him or near him that he dropped. There wasn’t much doubt.”

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.”