Mailbag: Is WR still a top priority for 49ers?


Mailbag: Is WR still a top priority for 49ers?

The 49ers’ top offseason needs:

Offensive line
Wide receiver

OK, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the other questions submitted via Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag. . .

Do you think Jimmy's play and the ascension of Goodwin, Taylor, and Kittle would reduce the Niners’ aggressiveness for a top free agent WR? (Ronnie Dominguez)
Coach Kyle Shanahan was not altogether satisfied with the team’s wide receivers due to the high number of dropped passes and the inability to consistently beat man coverage.

But the 49ers’ No. 1 receiver, Pierre Garçon, will be back during the offseason program to join Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne.

Garçon’s ability to find ways to get open against zone and man should be a very good match for Jimmy Garoppolo’s anticipation and accuracy.

Among the top wide receivers scheduled to be unrestricted free agents are Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee.

Lee is good, but not necessarily a game-changer; Watkins was the third-leading wide receiver on the L.A. Rams; Landry is one of the better possession receivers; and Robinson is very good but missed the season with a torn ACL.

Any of those players would be a nice piece at the right price. My thought is the 49ers would be more inclined to find another player such as Goodwin – someone they believe has a lot more to show.

It would probably be wise to add a player like that while also keeping the door open to selecting a young talent on the second day of the draft.

What QB contract do you think the 49ers front office will use as their comparison for Jimmy G’s deal? Or is franchise tag on the table this year? (Shawn Green)
How the 49ers view Garoppolo’s contract is one thing. How Garoppolo and his agent, Don Yee, view it is just as important to working out a long-term extension.

Yee and Garoppolo rejected New England’s multi-year offer of $17 million to $18 million a year, according to Seth Wickersham's ESPN report. Garoppolo, it seems, has yearned for an opportunity to play. And that was not going to happen with the Patriots as long as Tom Brady was still breathing.

So, now, Garoppolo has his chance to play. It did not take long to establish himself as the central figure of the 49ers’ organization. Obviously, the floor for negotiations is the 2018 franchise tag for quarterbacks – projected as $23.5 million.

My guess is the Derek Carr contract will be used as a road map. (A little more or a little less.) They were in the same draft. They were second-round draft picks. And the Carr contract takes into account the cost of living in the Bay Area.

Where does Malcom Smith play? (Daniel Lucero)
The 49ers were devastated when Smith was lost for the season during training camp due to a torn pectoral. If Smith had remained healthy and playing well, the parting with NaVorro Bowman probably would have occurred much earlier. Smith is expected to start at weakside linebacker in 2018, with Reuben Foster moving to middle linebacker. The 49ers can be expected to re-sign Brock Coyle to serve as a special-teams ace and backup inside linebacker.

Is Joe Williams a potential explosive type back they’re looking for? (Brad Peltier)
Yes. The Joe Williams the 49ers coaches saw on film from his final season at Utah was exactly what the team wants from its featured halfback.

But Williams was tentative and did not show a whole lot in the offseason and training camp. The 49ers, in essence, gave Williams a redshirt year when he sustained a foot injury late in the exhibition season.

The 49ers like Williams’ approach to his rehab as he spent the season on injured reserve. The club hopes the light will go on and Williams can show in the NFL the same playmaking skills that attracted them to him in the first place.

The 49ers really like Carlos Hyde, but I don’t see them making an aggressive push to keep him from hitting the open market. That’s because Williams’ upside with his ability to make defenders miss greater and there are always a bunch of good running backs available after Day 1 of the draft.

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

AMSTERDAM — Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job.

Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings.

"Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex," Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality.

"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony.

Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.

In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.

Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.

Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season. Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.

Kaepernick paid tribute to his friend for his own role in the protest movement.

"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."

Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others."

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick "an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination."

Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.

"In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force," Kaepernick said.

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

The 49ers have their starting and backup quarterbacks on the roster for at least the next three seasons. That luxury opens up their draft options to concentrate on other areas.

Quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen could be selected within the first eight picks of the draft. If those four quarterbacks are chosen, it means the 49ers will get – at worst – the fifth-ranked player on their draft board.

And if there is still one of those quarterbacks available when the 49ers go on the clock at No. 9 overall, it invites the possibility of a trade-back option.

The 49ers could trade back and still get one of the five players – Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport – highlighted as first-round draft options.

But if the 49ers move further back or acquire an additional pick in the first round, here are some of their options...

OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
The 49ers must start thinking about a time when two new offensive tackles are going to be required. McGlinchey (6-8, 312) began his career at right tackle before shifting to the left side. That versatility could come in handy for the 49ers, as right tackle Trent Brown enters the final year of his contract and might not be back in 2019. Moreover, six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley is 34 years old, and it is uncertain how much longer he can play at a high level. McGlinchey has the athleticism that Shanahan covets. He began high school as a tight end and also played on the basketball team.

OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Miller is an exceptional athlete who should get better and better. He ran the third-fastest time among offensive linemen at the combine and placed near the top of all the other agility drills. Miller started off his college career on the right side before shifting over to protect the blind side of quarterback Josh Rosen. With any offensive lineman the 49ers select, the club could consider having him begin his career at guard before moving him to tackle whenever the need arises.

CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Jackson was among the 49ers’ final pre-draft visits to Santa Clara. The team needs another cornerback to join presumptive starters Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. At 6-0 3/8, Jackson is not as tall as initially advertised, but his style of play and long arms would fit well within the 49ers’ scheme. He has great instincts, as shown by his nation-leading eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The consensus best wide receiver in the draft could provide Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan with another option in the passing game to join starters Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin. Garçon is the possession receiver and Goodwin is the deep threat. Ridley is versatile and polished, which makes him a nice chess piece to utilize early in his career for specific matchups.

WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
It should be noted that the 49ers like their receiver corps, a group that also includes Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne. But Sutton (6-3, 219) would give the 49ers more size to exploit matchups. He gets high marks off the field. There is no rush to get him out there before he is ready. The 49ers can take their time to develop him, as they would have him under their control contractually for five seasons. He has spent time learning from Anquan Boldin.