The 49ers’ top offseason needs:
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.