49ers

49ers' salary guarantees for rookies contain offset language

49ers' salary guarantees for rookies contain offset language

UPDATED (Tuesday, 2:29 p.m.): The New York Jets claimed KD Cannon off waivers on Tuesday. The Jets now assume the terms of the contract under which he originally signed with the 49ers after going undrafted. The 49ers are off the hook for the remaining $40,000 of guaranteed salary for the 2017 season.

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The 49ers signed a talented, undrafted rookie wide receiver for a signing bonus of $5,000. That is not a significant figure for a “priority free agent.”

But the figure that got a lot of attention in recent days when the 49ers parted ways with Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon was $45,000 guaranteed. That is a lot of money for a player who was not among the 253 prospects who heard their names called during the NFL draft.

Cannon ranks third in Baylor history in receptions (195), receiving yards (3,113) and touchdowns (27). He was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, where he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds. It was the fourth-fastest time among the 51 wide receivers in attendance.

There were 32 wideouts drafted. The 49ers selected Trent Taylor of Louisiana Tech in the fifth round.

Obviously, Cannon came to the 49ers with some question marks. And after the first practice of the team’s rookie minicamp, Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group observed, “Cannon didn’t show much urgency or hustle.”

The one thing an undrafted rookie cannot do when he steps onto the field for the first time is give the appearance – or act as if – he is not going to do everything in his power to compete hard for a job.

The 49ers released Cannon and signed rookie camp invitee B.J. Johnson of Georgia Southern, who immediately impressed the coaching staff with his approach.

So it could be said that the 49ers just wasted $45,000 on Cannon without giving him an opportunity to adjust his attitude. But the last thing any team wants to do – especially a new regime that’s trying to “change the culture” – is spend precious time attempting to light a fire under an undrafted rookie.

The case with these partial salary guarantees that are becoming more and more popular in the NFL does not mean the 49ers are immediately responsible for that money. There is standard offset language in the contract.

If Cannon ends up on a 53-man roster – or even five weeks on a team’s practice squad – and earns $40,000 or more from another NFL team this season, the 49ers will not owe him another penny.

Cannon appeared on the league’s waiver wire on Monday. If another team claims him before the deadline on Tuesday at 1 p.m. (PT), the new team will pick up the contract and the 49ers are off the hook for everything but the original $5,000 signing bonus.

But only if there is no place for him with any other team this season, will the 49ers be forced to follow-through and pay the entire $45,000 guarantee.

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

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AP

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

Richard Sherman's resume is as long as any other cornerback, but NFL analyst Peter Schrager believes the 49ers veteran is underrated. 

"I think Richard Sherman last year had a really good season," Schrager said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Monday. "The Achilles didn't seem to bother him all that much. And then when it mattered most, [he] was shutting down the No. 1 wide receivers in the league, and that was with a completely depleted defense and an offense that had an undrafted rookie named Nick Mullens keeping them afloat. I think Richard Sherman [is] still underrated." 

Sherman started 14 games in his first season with San Francisco, defending a career-low four passes and intercepting zero passes for the first time in his career. Those low counting stats would be concerning for a defensive back's first season in their 30s, even excluding the season-ending Achilles injury he sustained in 2017, but Sherman's production wasn't the same as his best years with the Seattle Seahawks in large part because NFL offenses didn't seem to underrate him. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Sherman was targeted just once every 12.6 coverage snaps. No cornerback was avoided more than him, and Sherman also ranked first among corners in allowing a reception every 20.7 coverage snaps. In other words, opposing quarterbacks seemed to rate Sherman as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. 

[RELATED: 49ers have important conversations beginning during OTAs]

How long that continues is an open question. Sherman is entering his ninth year in the NFL and turned 31 in March. Twenty-eight defensive backs were 31 or older last NFL season, and only 12 of them were 32 or older. Sherman will be 33 if he finishes out the three-year deal he signed with the 49ers last year, and it seems likely he will be targeted more the older he gets. 

But until then, it's clear Sherman's opposition under center view him as one of the best cornerbacks in the league even if Schrager's punditry peers do not. 

Ex-49ers LB Reuben Foster reportedly suffers torn ACL, possible artery damage

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USATSI

Ex-49ers LB Reuben Foster reportedly suffers torn ACL, possible artery damage

Organized team activities began Monday for NFL teams, and Washington suffered a loss shortly after the opening of camp.

Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster went down during the second play of OTAs with what appeared to be a serious left leg injury. He was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off while in tears.

After an receiving an MRI, Foster's injury appears to be very serious.

That's a brutal development for Foster and Washington.

[RELATED: 49ers have important competitions beginning during OTAs]

Foster was drafted by the 49ers with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, which was the beginning of a tumultuous time in the Bay Area.

The Alabama product was arrested three times and suffered multiple on-field injuries during his time with the 49ers. San Francisco cut ties with Foster last November after he was accused of committing domestic battery at a team hotel in Florida.

Washington claimed the linebacker off waivers a few days later. Foster recorded  84 solo tackles in his 16-game career with the 49ers.

The 49ers have since revamped their linebacking corps after Foster's departure. They signed Kwon Alexander to a four-year contract in the offseason and spent a fifth-round draft pick on Arkansas' Dre Greenlaw.

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch hope Alexander, once he gets fully healthy, and Greenlaw can fill the role left by Foster's departure in the middle of the defense.