Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said Tuesday that he thinks the 49ers should pursue Peyton Manning if the Colts release the superstar QB.
The 49ers legend made the comments to the Contra Costa Times and San Francisco Chronicle while promoting April's TPC Stonebrae Championship golf tournament.
"I think you go for it," Rice said. "A guy of that talent, you've got everything in place. You've got a defense that smacks you in the mouth. You just need a little more out of the offense. That's not knocking what Alex (Smith) did. (Manning) can take you to a whole different level."
NFL free agency begins March 13. Manning missed the 2011 season after undergoing neck surgery. He has four years left on his contract and reports out of Indianapolis is that the Colts and their longtime signalcaller will part ways at a Wednesday news conference.
Rice was careful not to dismiss Alex Smith, who led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a berth in the NFC Championship.
"If they're going to invest that much money in Alex and they feel he can get the job done, then do it," Rice added. "I know he made significant improvement this year and did what was asked of him. If he can get more weapons around him and knowing he has a coach that has confidence in him, that he doesn't have to look over his shoulder, it might bring the best out of him."
Rice also shared his opinion on 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who has yet to meet the high standards that accompany his status as a first-round draft pick.
I just did not see separation (from defensive backs), Rice told the newspapers. I dont know exactly what he weighs. Maybe he needs to lose 10 or 15 pounds and be more explosive.
The 49ers on Wednesday were assigned outside linebacker Cassius Marsh off waivers from the New England Patriots.
The Patriots waived Marsh on Tuesday after acquiring him in September from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for fifth- and seventh-round draft picks.
Marsh (6 foot 4, 245 pounds) appeared in 46 games in his four NFL seasons. Three of his four career sacks came in 2016 while with the Seahawks. He was Seattle's fourth-round pick in 2014.
Marsh is the second defensive player the 49ers have claimed off waivers this week. The club acquired former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Sheldon Day on Monday. The 49ers released defensive linemen Tony McDaniel and Datone Jones within the past week.
The 49ers are at their roster maximum of 53 players. The club will have to clear a roster spot if Tank Carradine, as expected, is activated off injured reserve in order to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.
SANTA CLARA – Quarterback C.J. Beathard is expected to make his fifth consecutive start for the 49ers on Sunday, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll said his team will be prepared to face Jimmy Garoppolo, too.
“It really isn’t a factor,” Carroll said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday. “We’re just preparing for the 49ers. They got a style of offense. They got really good players who do what they do. And whoever’s triggering it from the quarterback spot, we’re going to go play football.
“We’ve seen Jimmy play. We’ve seen how he’s mobile and the kind of athlete and competitor he is. But other than that, we just go play football. We can’t do anything about that.”
Beathard remained on the sideline when the clubs met Sept. 17 in Seattle. The Seahawks have defeated the 49ers seven consecutive times, including a 12-9 victory in Week 2 this season. Quarterback Brian Hoyer started the 49ers’ first six games of the season and rushed for just 7 yards during that time. Beathard has 115 yards rushing on 20 attempts in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
“He’s been mobile. He’s got a rushing average, you know,” Carroll said of Beathard. “He’s averaging 5-yards a carry and stuff. They’re incorporating him in the run game some that we have to be concerned about. That’s different than other quarterbacks at times. I’d think Jimmy can do the same stuff.
“He (Beathard) is getting more settled. You can see the offense growing. You can see Kyle able to expand and do more stuff. He’s an incredible offensive coordinator and play-caller that we’ve respected for a long time. I think they’re just grown and they’re getting more proficient at what they’re doing."