49ers Mailbag: Big spenders in free agency?


49ers Mailbag: Big spenders in free agency?

The offseason has finally arrived for all 32 teams.

The top priority for the 49ers continues to be signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a long-term contract extension. The club will certainly look to improve during free agency with the right kinds of players.

Here is this edition of 49ers Mailbag with questions submitted from Facebook:

Do you think the 49ers will be big players in free agency this offseason? (Jason Moody)
They certainly have the cap space to be as aggressive as they want to be in free agency.

But they also want to make sure they do not take any unnecessary risks to wind up in a bad financial situation in the future. If the team wins and some of their young players emerge into stars, they will want to be able to keep those players around.

As the 49ers plan for the future, they want to draft well and retain their good players on their second contracts.

In order for the 49ers go spend big money on a free agent, they’re going to have to feel good about that player fitting the team in three areas:
1. Financially: The player must fit into the salary structure of the team;
2. On the field: The coaching staff must have a specific role in mind for how that player fits the scheme;
3. Off the field: The 49ers need to continue to collect players who are the kind of people who set the proper tone in the locker room and practice field.

What are the odds the Niners pursue Butler to address the need for a CB? (Ajay Ferrari)
Ah, yes, Malcolm Butler.

He did not have a good season. And, he found himself in Bill Belichick’s doghouse and was benched for the Super Bowl.

I have no idea what to make of that situation, but you can be assured the 49ers will tap their contacts with the New England Patriots before determining whether they want to investigate the possibility of negotiating with Butler as a free agent.

Have you heard any rumors on length and dollar amount of Garoppolo's future contract? (James Clevenger)
There are no rumors for dollar amounts for the Jimmy Garoppolo contract talks. I have not even heard any confirmation if the sides are even as close as what was reported nationally over the weekend.

But it’s safe to assume the deal will be somewhere in the range of $25 million per season and around five years. You can take what Garoppolo would receive if he played the next two seasons on the franchise tag, which amounts to $50 million, and divide by two for the annual average. His deal is likely to land somewhere very close to the five-year, $125 million deal Derek Carr signed with the Raiders last year.

Do you expect the 49ers to begin preparing for a future without Joe Staley soon? (Jake Shmelder)
Staley believes he has some good seasons left in him. But this is definitely an offseason in which the 49ers must look at lining things up for the future at offensive tackle.

After all, Trent Brown is set to enter his contract year. And it’s anything but a certainty that he will be back with the 49ers in 2019.

The 49ers could look to address offensive tackle in this draft. It would make sense if the 49ers drafted a lineman to plug in as a starting guard for one season before transitioning him to tackle.

49ers DE Cassius Marsh blasts his time with Patriots: 'It was B.S. things they were doing'


49ers DE Cassius Marsh blasts his time with Patriots: 'It was B.S. things they were doing'

After claiming him off waivers in November last season, the 49ers have shown love and loyalty to defensive end Cassius Marsh. 

In his six games with the 49ers, Marsh's playing time significantly increased. In the NFL Draft, the team shied away from pass rushers thanks to Marsh's presence. 

The 25-year-old never felt this kind of love from his previous team, the New England Patriots. 

“They don’t have fun there. There’s nothing fun about it. There’s nothing happy about it. I didn’t enjoy any of my time there, you know what I’m saying?" Marsh said Saturday to the San Francisco Chronicle. "It made me for the first time in my life think about not playing football because I hated it that much.”

Marsh is speed rusher off the edge. In New England, they wanted him to shy away from his strengths and be a completely different player. 

"They asked me to do a bunch of stuff that I had never done: covering running backs and receivers and basically almost never rushing the passer, which is what I did in playing defensive line,” Marsh said.

The Patriots traded a fifth-round draft pick to acquire Marsh from the Seahawks in September of last year, signaling the team expected a big role. But Marsh's career as a Patriot ended after nine games with him playing just snaps in his final contest with the team. 

“I confronted (Belichick) about all the things that were going on,” Marsh said. “I won’t get into detail, but it was B.S. things they were doing. I just wasn’t a fan. And so I, basically, without asking to get cut, I kind of asked to get cut.

"I had confidence that I would have an opportunity elsewhere and I would take advantage of it.”

And take advantage of it he did. Marsh recorded two sacks and forced two fumbles in his six games as a 49ers. 

“Hopefully I’ll be a Niner forever," Marsh said. 

In February, the 49ers rewarded him with a two-year, $7.7 million contract extension. 

'Coach Sherman' stands out in first week of 49ers OTAs

'Coach Sherman' stands out in first week of 49ers OTAs

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was zipping passes to a variety of receivers at all different levels of the defense.

Running back Jerick McKinnon lined up at a number of spots in the 49ers’ offensive formation and caught passes with ease, showing the skills that prompted Kyle Shanahan to target him for his offense.

Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner looked as if he is ready to take the next step to become one of the NFL’s top defensive players.

But the star of the first week of 49ers organized team activities was a veteran player who has yet to be cleared for takeoff.

When the 49ers signed Richard Sherman shortly after the Seattle Seahawks released him, he said he envisions his contributions to his new team to be split equally between on and off the field.  And, sure enough, nobody appeared to be as engaged in the practices in Week 1 of OTAs than Sherman.

“It’s always nice when you have someone who has a lot of experience in a very similar system,” Shanahan said. “The foundation of it all came from the same spot, and when you’ve got a guy that has played in it that long and really started in that system and has kind of excelled in it as good as anyone, it’s nice to have.”

"Coach Sherman," as he's already being called, is embracing his role as a leader on the defense, as he mentors cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward and all of the newcomers. In his seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Sherman was named to the Pro Bowl four times. The 49ers' defensive scheme is based on the Seattle defense.

During a period of practice this week when special teams took over, Sherman was also seen engaging in an animated conversation with Shanahan on the sideline going over some of the topics discussed in a team meeting.

“We both have a lot of history playing against each other’s teams so there’s lots of stuff that when we talk X’s and O’s, it brings up a couple plays from year’s prior,” Shanahan said. “We could sit there and hang out and talk all day about.”