49ers envision Jimmy Garoppolo as 'QB of the future' even as free agency looms

49ers envision Jimmy Garoppolo as 'QB of the future' even as free agency looms

SANTA CLARA – Discussion about the possibility of a long-term contract was not a top priority for Jimmy Garoppolo on Tuesday upon his arrival at 49ers headquarters.

"I just got off the plane like an hour ago,” he said. “I haven’t even thought about that, to be honest.”

Garoppolo spent time with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan before the 2014 draft when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. Despite placing a high grade on Garoppolo and Derek Carr, the Browns ended up drafting Johnny Manziel before both of them.

Garoppolo on Tuesday met general manager John Lynch and CEO Jed York for the first time. Although it appears Garoppolo wants to be the 49ers’ franchise quarterback as much as the 49ers want that from him, there is no reason to rush it before he has even stepped on a practice field with his new team.

The 49ers can sign him to a contract extension before the start of free agency. Or, the 49ers could place the franchise tag on him to retain his rights for at least another season.

“We brought him here because we want him to be the quarterback of the future,” Shanahan said.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Garoppolo received a call from Patriots coach Bill Belichick to inform him of the deal that sent him to the 49ers for a second-round draft pick.

“When I first found out, I can’t even describe how excited I was,” said Garoppolo, who turns 26 on Thursday. “My time in New England was great. I thank them for everything, but coming to such a great organization, it really is a privilege. I’m excited about it. It’s going to be a good thing.”

Lynch and Shanahan spent plenty of time together last offseason discussing and formulating a plan of attack for the quarterback position. Lynch suggested a call was placed to New England last offseason to gauge whether Garoppolo available. The Patriots quickly expressed no interest in pursuing a trade of Garoppolo.

But with the trade deadline approaching on Tuesday, this time was different with Garoppolo's free agency looming after the season. The 49ers had to make a decision whether to send the Patriots a draft pick or wait until free agency and attempt to sign him without spending any draft capital.

“Second-round picks are very valuable in this league, especially where we are as an organization,” Lynch said. “And, so, this is the guy we wanted. And we were willing to give what we thought was a very valuable commodity in exchange for him.

“We thought about if for about 10 minutes and said, ‘This is too good of an opportunity to not take advantage of.’ So we jumped at it.”


49ers LB Reuben Foster says return from suspension is like celebrating holiday

49ers LB Reuben Foster says return from suspension is like celebrating holiday

SANTA CLARA – Second-year linebacker Reuben Foster was around his teammates during the first two weeks of the regular season, but Monday marked a new beginning for him.

After serving a two-game suspension for violations of the NFL’s policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct, Foster was able to participate in all team activities when he reported back to work on Monday.

“It’s like a holiday, just knowing I can come back and play the game I love,” Foster said on Thursday. “So I’m just happy to be playing the cards right and doing good off the field and on the field, and doing nothing off the field so I won’t be off the field again.”

Foster, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2017, admitted during training camp that he feared his career could be over when he faced an allegation of domestic violence. He was cleared of those charges, but served an NFL suspension that stemmed from marijuana and weapons charges.

During his suspension, Foster was able to attend all meetings but was not allowed to attend games, participate in practice, watch practice or take part in team lifting sessions.

Brock Coyle and Elijah Lee started the first two games at weak side linebacker in place of Foster. He is expected to provide the 49ers with a much-needed playmaker on defense upon his return.

“This is his first game back. We’re excited to have him,” said cornerback Richard Sherman, whose locker is stationed next to Foster’s. “He’s excited to be back out there. He brings incredible energy and speed and explosiveness and physicality to the defense, and we appreciate it.”

[RELATED: 49ers injury report: Sherman sits]

Foster will make his season debut on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. His presence is something coach Andy Reid said his team is game-planning against.

“Reuben’s a good football player,” Reid said. “We looked at him when he came out, liked him, had him visit up here, the whole deal. He’s a heck of a football player, and he flies around and makes plays. We’re going to be aware of where he’s at, and do our best to do well against him.”

Foster's return comes at a good time. The defense is banged up and going against one of the fastest offenses in the NFL.

Said 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, “He’s got fresh legs. He looks fast. So we’re excited to have him back. Love his energy.”

Foster also seems to love his new role in the defense. Rookie Fred Warner is wearing the green dot on his helmet, signifying the responsibility of relaying the radio call from the sideline to his 10 teammates in the huddle.

Because he no longer has that duty on defense, Foster says it allows him up to just play football with a clear mind and “get on someone’s tail.”

Warner, who will remain as the starter in the middle of the 49ers’ defense, appears cut out for that leadership role, Foster said.

“I’ve seen a real dog in Fred, a real mature man who goes about his business,” Foster said. “And I really salute him for that. I’m proud of him for stepping up and taking control of the defense, wearing the green sticker. I’ve worn the green sticker, and it’s hard to wear the green sticker, so I’m really proud of him.”

49ers-Chiefs injury report: Richard Sherman sits with heel issue

49ers-Chiefs injury report: Richard Sherman sits with heel issue

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman sat out practice with an unspecified heel injury, the 49ers reported on Thursday.

Sherman, who appeared to be walking fine throughout the day, was one of three 49ers who did not practice. It is not known if the condition is connected to either the surgery on his right Achilles or the bone spurs that were removed from his left heel.

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt has not practiced this week due to a shoulder injury he aggravated Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Antone Exum and D.J. Reed have taken practice snaps at safety, as well as Tyvis Powell, who is currently on the practice squad.

“That’s another area we’re working through to make sure we can put the best player forward,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “So there’s three guys working in that spot while (Tartt) is not practicing.”

Backup guard Joshua Garnett has been out since the opener with a toe injury, and is not expected to be available to play.

Three other 49eres have gone through limited practice this week and could be game-time decisions as the club faces the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium: Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (quadricep), guard Mike Person (foot), cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle, hip).

Thursday’s practice reports

Did not practice
G Joshua Garnett (toe)
CB Richard Sherman (heel)
S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)

Limited practice
WR Marquise Goodwin (quadricep)
G Mike Person (foot)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle)

Full participation
T Joe Staley (not injury related – vet day)

Did not practice
S Eric Berry (heel)
S Armani Watts (not injury related)

Limited practice
LB Ben Niemann (hamstring)

Full participation
G Cameron Erving (knee)
CB Kendall Fuller (hand)
DE Jarvis Jenkins (elbow)
DE Chris Jones (groin)
LB Reggie Ragland (shoulder, knee)