49ers

49ers cornerback Greg Mabin reflects on tough ending in loss to Packers

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AP

49ers cornerback Greg Mabin reflects on tough ending in loss to Packers

SANTA CLARA — In the 49ers' heart-breaking loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, Aaron Rodgers did what he is known for -- putting together an 81-yard, game-winning drive with 1:07 left on the clock and no timeouts left.

At that point in the game, 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward had been playing well, but he was out of the action with a hamstring injury. Greg Mabin took his place, and Rodgers exploited the young defensive back instead of trying to target Richard Sherman’s side of the field.

In the end, the 49ers racked up their fifth loss of the season.

Mabin was in coverage against Davante Adams, who made a leaping 16-yard touchdown catch to tie the score. Then, Mabin surrendered three consecutive pass plays on the Packers’ game-winning drive. Each time, the man Mabin was covering got out of bounds to stop the clock.

“It was a tough position for Mabin,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday. “He’s done a lot of good things for us. I know he was disappointed in that last drive, obviously, but I’ve seen Aaron and Davante do that to a number of people, too.”

Sitting in 30-degree weather for the entire game except for special-team snaps could have been an excuse, but Mabin took 100 percent responsibility.

“I guess it could, but at the end of the day, if I’m out there I have a job that I have to do, and I wasn’t able to get the job done,” Mabin said. “You just have to go out there and do what you’ve been practicing all week. There’s not much thought to it.” 

Mabin, a second-year undrafted free agent, is taking the loss and his play very hard, and he even explained that one play didn't stand out more than another. 

“All of them,” he said. “... They all hurt pretty bad. I wish I could go back in time and change some things, but obviously I can’t. I have to live with how I played. We have to live with how we played and from now on just move forward and focus on L.A. this week.” 

Shanahan said the 49ers knew throughout the week that Mabin would be Ward’s backup and Ahkello Witherspoon would take a back seat. Mabin said he approached practice just like every other week, knowing his role. He watched film and felt like he had a good week of practice but added, “Ultimately things just didn’t go my way.” 

When Shanahan was asked if the issue of letting Packers players stop the clock by getting out of bounds was situational football or a lack of awareness on Mabin’s part, the coach responded: “I think it’s a little of both. He gets put in a tough situation.”

Sherman, who has been an advocate and on-the-field coach for the young 49ers secondary, did have a conversation with Mabin about moving forward especially when the focus of the public eye is on you. 

“He talked with me a little bit, and it definitely helped my mindset at the time, and right now, it still hurts,” Mabin said. “But I’m just happy that I have a chance to go out there and practice today, and have a chance to improve.”

What Myles Garrett's reported new contract means for Nick Bosa, 49ers

What Myles Garrett's reported new contract means for Nick Bosa, 49ers

Nick Bosa got off to a tremendous start to his NFL career, and it came as no surprise when he was named the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Though the award can be viewed as the culmination of one hell of a rookie season, it also points to an extremely bright future for the former No. 2 overall draft pick.

A quick glance at the list of NFL Defensive Rookies of the Year from the past decade suggests that Bosa is just scratching the surface of his dominance. From Von Miller to Luke Kuechly (retired) to Aaron Donald, his older brother Joey and tackling machine Darius Leonard, it's a who's who of the most impactful defensive players in today's game. One phenomenal defensive player not included on that list is Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who likely would have won the award in 2017 had he not missed the first four weeks of the season.

Ever since, Garrett has established himself as possibly the most feared defensive player in the league. He has accumulated 23.5 sacks in 26 games over the last two seasons combined, and figures to terrorize the AFC North for many years to come. That became far more certain Monday when NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that Garrett and the Browns were nearing a historic contract extension, worth $125 million over five years.

Once signed, Garrett would become the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL, and would leapfrog Chicago Bears pass-rusher extraordinaire Khalil Mack to become the highest-paid defensive player in annual average salary in NFL history.

It's definitely a deserved number, though chances are he won't maintain that status as the top AAV salary among defensive players for long. Each year, new deals are struck, eclipsing those of the season before. Jimmy Garoppolo's contract, for instance, once viewed as an albatross no longer ranks among the top 10 salaries at his position.

If there's any one defensive player who should be most excited by Garrett's pending agreement, it's Bosa. He already is among the very best defensive players in the league, and it won't be long until the 49ers lock him up with his own record-setting extension.

Garrett entered the offseason with two years remaining on his rookie contract (counting the fifth-year option), so that can give you an idea of when a Bosa extension might come. Luckily for San Francisco, that's still a couple of offseasons away. His fifth-year option most certainly will be picked up, so based on the timing of Garrett's extension, we can assume Bosa might get his following the 2021 season.

Why is that lucky for San Francisco? Given the certainty of a massive drop in league revenue for the upcoming 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the salary cap is expected to -- at the very best -- remain flat, with a significant drop far more likely. The recent moves by the Chiefs, signing quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a mind-blowing contract extension and reportedly signing defensive tackle Chris Jones to another huge number -- both of which are considerably backloaded -- suggest that Kansas City expects the salary cap to substantially increase in the near future.

[RELATED: Could 49ers' Kinlaw follow Bosa's footsteps, win DROY?]

Assuming he remains healthy, Bosa will get more than Garrett did. Whatever that number is, it would be tremendously tough for the 49ers to fit that into the current salary cap. But a couple years from now, San Francisco very well could have the resources to pay Bosa, as well as a few other key players due for extensions.

The 49ers just missed out on the opportunity to select Garrett in the 2017 NFL Draft. Two years later, they nabbed Bosa, who just might be better and eventually will be paid like it.

NFL rumors: 49ers interested in signing Jarius Wright in free agency

NFL rumors: 49ers interested in signing Jarius Wright in free agency

Help could be on the way for the 49ers. Receivers Deebo Samuel and Richie James went down to injuries this offseason, and San Francisco reportedly is eyeing a veteran. 

The Athletic's Ben Standig reported Tuesday receiver Jarius Wright is on the 49ers' short list of free agents to sign right now. 

Wright played for the Carolina Panthers last season, finishing with just 28 receptions for 296 receiving yards and no touchdowns. He is an eight-year veteran, though, with plenty of experience under his belt. 

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Samuel (fractured foot) and James (fractured wrist) both are expected to be back before the regular season begins. But that's being optimistic, which doesn't always come to fruition with injuries.

In their absence, players like rookie Brandon Aiyuk and Jalen Hurd will have to step up for the 49ers. The door could even open for seventh-round pick Jauan Jennings

[RELATED: Madden 21 leak reveals top-10 rated 49ers players this year]

The 49ers also should receive a big boost with the healthy return of slot receiver Trent Taylor, who has looked explosive in offseason workouts. Dante Pettis shouldn't be written off quite yet, either.

But coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch very well could want to add a veteran for training camp. Perhaps that's where Wright fits. 

The 49ers believe in their talented, unproven group of young receivers. Still, it never hurts to add experience to the fold.