In the past two weeks, the 49ers have signed Cassius Marsh, Jimmy Garoppolo and Daniel Kilgore to multi-year contract extensions.
We open this edition of 49ers Mailbag with a question about where the 49ers will go from here. The 49ers own sole negotiating rights with their own free agents until March 12, when the early negotiating period begins.
The list of 49ers scheduled for unrestricted free agents includes:
S Eric Reid
RB Carlos Hyde
DL Tank Carradine
DL Aaron Lynch
CB Dontae Johnson
LB Brock Coyle
OG Brandon Fusco
TE Logan Paulsen
DL Leger Douzable
OL Garry Gilliam
Here are some of the questions from readers on Facebook:
Who is the next FA to get re-signed? (Max Moorman)
The most-likely candidates for new contracts before the start of free agency could be inside linebacker Brock Coyle and defensive lineman Tank Carradine.
Coyle underwent shoulder surgery right after the season and faced a five-to-six month rehabilitation. In light of the uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster, the only thing that would likely prevent the 49ers from pursuing a new contract with Coyle is if their medical staff is not optimistic about a full recovery.
Carradine proved to be a good fit for the 49ers’ 4-3 scheme on run downs. He believes he has more to offer as an inside pass rusher, but the 49ers did not have him on the field for any third-down play all season.
Other notable pending free agents, such as running back Carlos Hyde and safety Eric Reid, are expected to be available to other teams for the early negotiating period from March 12-14.
Under the right circumstances, the 49ers would like to bring back Hyde and Reid. But it seems unlikely the 49ers will blow them away with contract offers to prevent them from hitting the open market. The chances of them returning to the 49ers appears to be in direct correlation to how other teams value them as free agents.
There are a lot of fans so excited that they are talking about the Super Bowl next year. What are the expectations internally for next year? (Philip Malan)
The expectations internally are for the 49ers to continue to build their roster, strengthening positions of need, and put themselves in a position to compete for a spot in the playoffs.
But there are so many variables – namely, injuries – that it’s difficult to have a black-and-white goal and at the end of the season declare a season a success or a failure.
Coach Kyle Shanahan did his best last week to tamp down any expectations for the 2018 season.
“Obviously, we're more excited going into this year because we know our team and we've added guys and we've kind of built this the way that we've wanted to,” Shanahan said. “But by no means are we done or even close to done. We have to continue to get better every single day, and it'll start with free agency. That comes first, and then it'll be the draft and then it'll be working in phase one, two and three, all the way into OTAs, and then it'll start with training camp. There is no quick answer to anybody.
“This league is so balanced, so competitive, it is so hard to win in this league that you never go into a year saying, ‘All right, we're good, we're (going to be in the) playoffs.’ You have to earn everything you get, and if you think anything differently, you will be humbled and embarrassed very quickly in this league. That's why I'm ready to go to work.”
Is there is some sort of timeline for the Niners to decide on what to do with Reuben Foster? (Jeremy Denton)
In the past, when the 49ers have released a player due to off-field issues, they have done it immediately. The optics are that the 49ers did not find enough to convince them to immediately cut ties with Reuben Foster. He was arrested Sunday in Los Gatos on charges of domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.
The 49ers have only two decisions: Release Foster or keep him.
The collective bargaining agreement prevents the 49ers – or any other team – from doling out any punishment for actions that fall under the NFL’s policies on personal conduct or substances of abuse.
The normal course of events will have Fosber back in court for an arraignment on April 12, if the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office decides there is enough evidence to pursue charges. The 49ers’ offseason program is set to begin April 16.
In all likelihood, everyone should know a lot more about Foster's situation -- and his status with the 49ers -- at that time.