SANTA CLARA -- Left tackle Joe Staley, removed from Sunday's game due to a concussion, has yet to receive medical clearance to play in the 49ers' game Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks.Staley said he is symptom-free and he hopes to play in the 49ers' first game this season against an NFC West opponent."It's really out of my hands," Staley said Tuesday. "It's up to the doctors. Of course, if it was up to me, I'd play. I would've played yesterday."Staley sustained the concussion in the third quarter when New York Giants safety Stevie Brown leveled him with a block as Staley pursued safety Antrel Rolle after an interception.When asked if the block was clean, Staley answered, "Yeah, I just didn't see it. It was one of those deals where I was tracking the ballcarrier, and the guy got a good shot on me. It came out of the blue."Staley sustained a concussion last December against the Arizona Cardinals. He received clearance seven days later, the day before the 49ers played the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night game."This wasn't really as serious as last one," Staley said.Staley was examined by an independent neurologist on Monday. He must pass a battery of tests, as part of the NFL's protocol on concussions, before he'll be allowed to play in Thursday's game. "We're going through the process," Staley said. "We're going through a few different stages and I met with the neurologist yesterday. Everything went well there. And today, I have a workout, go on the field and see how everything goes with that."The short turnaround means it's more questionable that Staley will be available to play, but he said it is a good thing coming off the 26-3 loss to the Giants."For this team, it couldn't come soon enough," Staley said. "We got a bad taste in our mouth after last game on Sunday. So we're really excited to play, and we're not thinking about how quick of a turnaround it is. We just want to get on the field again."If Staley is unable to play, Alex Boone will move from right guard to left tackle. Veteran Leonard Davis would start at right guard. The 49ers are expected to list Staley as "questionable" on the injury report. A notification of his official status will not be announced until 90 minutes before game time.
The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.
Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.
Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.
Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.
Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.
Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.
Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.
The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.
Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.
If the 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are unable to reach a multi-year contract extension by March 6, the 49ers have no other choice but to designate him as their franchise player.
The estimated one-year salary for the franchise tag would be $23.307 million, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry, whose work now appears at CBS Sports. (That is assuming a 2018 league-wide salary cap of $178.1 million per team.)
There is a lot to consider for both sides as they look to enter into a long-term contract. Corry said if a deal is struck, he would expect it to be in the neighborhood of Derek Carr’s five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason.
“And then there’s the other dynamic, which I would not undersell or I think may not be appreciated as much as it should be,” Corry said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “(Garoppolo’s agent) Don Yee has a reputation – no fault of his own – of doing team-friendly deals.”
Yee also represents New England quarterback Tom Brady, whose average of $20.5 million annual pay ranks 15th among NFL quarterbacks. Brady is underpaid by design, Corry said, because one of the great quarterbacks of all-time realizes it helps the Patriots to maintain a strong supporting cast.
“That’s because Tom Brady dictates, ‘I want to do something good for the team, take less money so we can improve the roster to win Super Bowls.’ That’s not Don Yee who wants to do that,” Corry said.
“The agent works for the player, so he’s executing Tom Brady’s wishes. But he gets that held against him in recruiting. So this is his opportunity to erase that perception if Garoppolo allows him to do his job and gives him latitude to strike the deal that he feels is appropriate.”