49ers

York steers 49ers into new era

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York steers 49ers into new era

Programming Note: Jed York will be in studio for Chronicle Live today, along with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett, tennis legend John McEnroe and former U.S. Open champ Andy Roddick. Join us at 5 p.m.

Jed York will be on Chronicle Live today, which makes one wonder what other wonderful developments are in store for the show. Gold coins stacked on the sets coffee table? The sound of harps augmenting Kozs voice? A foot massage for producer Adam Littlefield?

Because good things seem to happen when York is around. Young Jed is on a pretty amazing 13 month run, beginning with his hire of Jim Harbaugh in January of 2011 (a generous soul could stretch out his run of good fortune to 14 months, starting with the firing of Mike Singletary but were not going to give him credit for facing the inevitable, and -- besides -- hes the one who hired Singletary in the first place).

Starting a little more than a year ago, York stuck with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. He paid Harbaugh what it took. He concentrated on the task of getting a new stadium and let the football guys deal with the football team.

As his uncle Eddie says, Jed was smart enough to mind his own business.

He stepped back and watched the guys he entrusted to do their job actually do their job. Thats harder than it sounds for owners -- especially for young newbie owners. And York was rewarded for his lack of meddling: his team went to the NFC Championship game.

And now more good stuff is happening. Because winning creates stability. Winning creates happiness. People want to help winners.

In the past two weeks, York has shored up his success. He gave Baalke a three-year extension, a deserved contract based on this years success. That means Harbaugh and Baalke can work together through at least 2014. He named Gideon Yu a co-owner -- Yu is believed to own once percent of the team.

But most importantly, York got 200 million from the NFL, approved a few days before the Super Bowl. And with that money secured, Santa Clara officials said they plan to break ground this summer and have the stadium ready for the 2014 season.

Thats real. Thats soon. That means the stadium is past the stage of wishes and dreams and in the ordering a concrete pour stage.

There still will be glitches in the process. The stadium opponents are unhappy about what they see as altered financing from the original deal and want to take legal action. Many of the 49ers long-time fans are miserable, priced out a lousy reward for sticking with the team for the past decade. Franklin Mieulis heirs are suing the Yorks over the worth of the team.

But, right now, it looks, like York is going to get done what his father and his uncle could never achieve -- get the 49ers a brand new stadium.

Which is nothing short of stunning.

On a conference call during the playoffs, York took the right tone. For a guy who has plenty to boast about, he took a humble, thankful approach. He didnt inherit the tin ear that plagues other family members.

And hes done some other noteworthy less-flashy stuff, like righting past wrongs. Rather than running from the teams past success York has embraced it, bringing in former greats, including his uncle. Their regular contact has mended one of the uglier rifts in sports ownership.

Its been a hell of a run, and quite a transformation for an organization that was widely viewed as inept just two years to one now firmly back among the contenders.

The one thing York couldnt seem to accomplish was getting his uncle into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Give him time. The guy needs to have something left on his to-do list.

Freelance writer Ann Killion is a regular contributor to CSNBayArea.com and Chronicle Live.

49ers add former first-round draft pick

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49ers add former first-round draft pick

Former first-round draft pick Datone Jones has signed with the 49ers, he announced on social media late Monday night.

“I’m very thankful & honored to be joining the 49ers,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Thankful to be back home in California.”

Jones, 27, a Compton native whom the Green Bay Packers selected with the No. 26 overall pick in 2013, started just seven of the 59 games in which he appeared for the Packers over four seasons.

Jones (6 foot 5, 288 pounds) recorded 73 tackles and just nine sacks while seeing action at defensive end and outside linebacker.

The Packers declined to pick up the fifth-year option for Jones, making him a free agent this year. He signed a one-year contract with Minnesota in March and remained with the Vikings until he was released off injured reserve in September after sustaining a shoulder injury.

He signed with the Detroit Lions on Oct. 10, but was released just eight days later after not appearing in any games.

Jones started the final 28 games of his college career at UCLA and moved up draft boards with a 12.5-sack season as a senior in 2012.

Mailbag: Are 49ers trying to win or develop players?

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AP

Mailbag: Are 49ers trying to win or develop players?

After five consecutive close losses and some reason for optimism, it all came crashing down for the 49ers on Sunday.

Rookie Trent Taylor fumbled a punt just one minute into the game. Ninety seconds later, the Dallas Cowboys scored.

And it was over.

The Cowboys steamrolled the 49ers, 40-10, providing a slap across the face to anyone who believed this rebuild of the franchise was trending consistently upward without any complications.

The team appeared to be moving along harmoniously. But on Sunday, there was an incident in which Jaquiski Tartt, Ahkello Witherspoon and Ray-Ray Armstrong were seen jawing at each other. Things got heated. The optics in a home blowout loss were not good.

There are plenty of questions, and here are some of the questions from The Day After that were submitted on our Facebook page:

What is the philosophy? Are we trying to win or develop players? Cause it seems you can't do both? (Frank Vega)
The 49ers are definitely trying to develop players. They are also trying to evaluate players. They are looking to the future, and they are not deploying a win-at-all-cost approach this season. They do not want to win an extra game or two this season at the expense of possibly making the team worse for the future.

That is why the 49ers, almost invariably, went with younger players at any position in which there was competition . . . Eli Harold over Ahmad Brooks; Trent Taylor over Jeremy Kerley; Raheem Mostert over Tim Hightower; etc.

It’s why the 49ers made the decision two weeks ago to part ways with NaVorro Bowman, who had expressed dissatisfaction over his reduced role. Bowman was still the 49ers’ best linebacker at the time. But he would not have been on the team next year, so the decision was made to release Bowman now and go with the other less-accomplished players. (The Raiders, by the way, say 'Thank you.')

Rookie C.J. Beathard is now the starting quarterback. Cole Hikutini has moved into the No. 2 role at tight end behind fellow rookie George Kittle. Ahkello Witherspoon is being weaved into the action at cornerback, splitting time with Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson.

The 49ers did not want to create a mirage. They did not want to win any games this season that would be the result of a veteran rent-a-player approach. In that respect, the 49ers have succeeded. The 49ers will be picking near the top of every round in the 2018 draft.

The risk, of course, is that the young players get beaten down so badly that they lose their confidence and their edge.

What do you make of Eric Reid’s move to LB? Is his time with Niners nearing the end? (Peter Chan)
The 49ers no longer use a “nickel” defense. They go straight from their base defense to six defensive backs whenever the opposition puts more than two wide receivers on the field. It’s not a true linebacker position Reid is playing. It’s considered more of a “big nickel," designed to give the 49ers more speed on third downs to cover and run to the ball.

Reid is no longer a starter. What it shows is that the 49ers are sold on Jaquiski Tartt being a long-term answer for the 49ers secondary. The 49ers view Tartt and Jimmie Ward as the starters for 2018. All things being equal, Reid will have a chance to go somewhere else next season and be a starter.

The 49ers are not committed to re-signing him on a deal that extends beyond this season.

Is it a coincidence that the two worst teams in the NFL have the most cap space? (Gary Staebler)
That is no coincidence at all. It is the very reason the Cleveland Browns and 49ers are the only two winless teams in the NFL.

The Browns have $61.6 million in cap space. The 49ers are currently $61 million under the cap. Next year, with carryovers of unused space, the 49ers and Browns are projected to both have more than $117 million in cap room, according to Overthecap.com.

Bad teams do not draft well.

Teams that do not draft well, do not sign their draft picks to lucrative second contracts.

Therefore, teams that do not draft well cannot spend a large portion of their cap space to retain their own players because they have no good players worth retaining.