Lynch outpaces five years of Baalke's early 49ers free-agent signings

Lynch outpaces five years of Baalke's early 49ers free-agent signings

The 49ers’ new regime crammed five Trent Baalke years of free agency into the first two days of the new league year.

From 2012 to ’16, the 49ers signed just 11 players in the first week of the free-agent signing periods. Under new general manager John Lynch, the 49ers last week matched the number of those signings in the first 31 hours.

Baalke, in his final year as 49ers general manager, was especially tentative. The new league year began on March 9. The next day, the 49ers signed reserve quarterback Thad Lewis to a one-year contract.

The 49ers’ most-significant free-agent addition last year came 13 days after the opening of the signing period with the acquisition of offensive lineman Zane Beadles, whom the Jacksonville Jaguars released three weeks earlier.

Lynch advised 49ers fans to "stay awake" for the opening of free agency, and he made good on his promise. What might have been lacking in star power, the 49ers made up for it in sheer volume.

The 49ers signed 11 free agents to play for new coach Kyle Shanahan:

QB Brian Hoyer
QB Matt Barkley
FB Kyle Juszczyk
WR Pierre Garçon
WR Marquise Goodwin
WR Aldrick Robinson
TE Logan Paulsen
K Robbie Gould
LB Malcolm Smith
LB Brock Coyle
DB Don Jones

With the contracts of 65 players registered by the NFL Players Association (Robinson, Coyle and Jones have yet to be processed), the 49ers still have a league-high $81.08 million in salary cap room with 65 players under contract. Tennessee has the next-highest amount with $55.3 million in cap room.

“I think we were very strategic setting out with where we felt we needed to improve our team,” Lynch said after the first wave of signings.

“While there’s a lot of numbers, we didn’t reach for anything. We found guys that fit it, if not we’ll wait. So I think while the numbers are big and we’re really happy about that, we felt like we found guys that we were excited about being here.”

The 49ers can rollover all of their unused cap space to future seasons to invest in a big-money quarterback, such as Kirk Cousins, and re-sign any players they wish to retain to multi-year contracts.

Under Baalke, the 49ers rarely acted quickly on the free-agent market. Here’s a look at the team’s signings in the first week of March free agency after the league’s collective-bargaining agreement went into affect in the summer of 2011:

CB Perrish Cox
RB Rock Cartwright

DL Glenn Dorsey
LB Dan Skuta
DB Craig Dahl

S Antoine Bethea
CB Chris Cook

WR Torrey Smith
CB Shareece Wright
OL Erik Pears

QB Thad Lewis

Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions


Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

SANTA CLARA – While rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is taking a micro view of his promotion, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not shy about admitting he is looking at the big picture.

Shanahan said how Beathard performs after replacing Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback will have “a ton” of influence on how the 49ers proceed during the offseason.

After all, the 49ers know every position will come under tremendous scrutiny as the organization looks to add the pieces that will make the club competitive.

“That’s for every position. That’s for every player on our team. That’s for every coach on our team,” Shanahan said. “We’re 0-6, and that’s extremely tough. But I’m extremely excited about this place and excited about where we’re at and where we’re going. There’s not a moment that I don’t waste thinking about that stuff.”

Beathard will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.

Hoyer failed in his bid to earn consideration as the 49ers’ quarterback for the remainder of this season and beyond during his six starts. Hoyer completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 74.1.

Now, Beathard gets his chance. But he said he is not thinking about the big picture and what it might mean for the future.

“I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time,” Beathard said. “I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now, my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”

Beathard was pressed into action last week when Hoyer’s struggles continued at Washngton. Beathard stepped in and completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. For the first time, Beathard is getting the first-team practice snaps with a game plan that is designed specifically for him.

Said Beathard, “Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”