49ers

49ers still have a chance to land 2019 No. 1 draft pick but need help

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AP

49ers still have a chance to land 2019 No. 1 draft pick but need help

The 49ers enter the final weekend of the regular season still in contention ... for the No. 1 overall draft pick position and, presumably, their top-rated edge rusher.

The Arizona Cardinals, owners of the NFL’s worst record at 3-12, are the prohibitive favorites for the top overall draft slot. The Cardinals can wrap that up with a loss Sunday at the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle has a playoff spot locked up, and there's no chance for a first-round bye. But coach Pete Carroll told the media Monday that he will not rest his starters in preparation for wild-card weekend.

“We don’t do that,” Carroll said. “Maybe the game allows you to make some decisions or something during the game, and that would be a little bit different. I’ve done that in the past, and I don’t like that at all. I don’t like doing it. I think it messes with us. Just go play.”

The 49ers will finish the season Sunday at the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams, who might need a victory to secure a first-round playoff.

If the Cardinals and the 49ers (4-11) were to finish with the same record, the 49ers would “win” the tiebreaker and get the No. 1 draft pick because of their worse strength of schedule.

The 49ers and the Cardinals played the same competition in 14 of their games this season. The only differences were, the Cardinals played Washington (7-8) and the Atlanta Falcons (6-9), while the 49ers played the New York Giants (5-10) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10).

If the Cardinals were to win and the 49ers and the New York Jets both lost, there are four other games that would determine whether the 49ers or the Jets got the No. 1 pick. The Jets will wrap up the season Sunday at the AFC East champion New England Patriots.

Currently, the 49ers have the tiebreaker edge by a half-game over the Jets, who also have a 4-11 record. (The only tiebreaker when it comes to determining the draft order is strength of schedule; head-to-head competition does not apply.)

The 49ers are in line for the No. 2 overall draft spot, ahead of the Jets, but they will need at least two of the following results in Week 17 to hold onto that position:

-- Dallas win at the New York Giants;
-- Atlanta win at Tampa Bay;
-- Cleveland win at Baltimore;
-- Denver win at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The 49ers-Jets strength-of-schedule scenario was made less complicated because both teams played the four teams in the NFC North.

[RELATED: Where 49ers sit in NFL Power Rankings]

The draft is scheduled for April 25 -- so this is getting way ahead of the game -- but it could be important for the future of the 49ers to secure one of the top two selections.

If the team ultimately rates outside pass rushers Nick Bosa (Ohio State) and Josh Allen (Kentucky) as worthy of those selections, the 49ers would take a huge step toward filling their biggest offseason needs.

Of course, teams will have their first chances to fill gaping holes in free agency, which is scheduled to begin March 13.

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

Kicker Robbie Gould and the 49ers remain in a holding pattern, and Gould said the only motivating factor at this stage of his NFL career is his family.

Gould, 36, spent most of the 2018 season away from his wife and three young boys while serving his second season as the 49ers’ kicker. He signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017.

Gould has deep roots in Chicago, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career. On Monday, he hosted the Robbie Gould Celebrity Golf Invitational at Medinah Country Club to raise funds for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“This city’s been incredible,” Gould told NBC Sports Chicago. “No matter where I’ve gone, no matter where I’ve lived, no matter where I’ve played, Chicago has always been home.”

The Bears released Gould just prior to the start of the regular season in 2016. The move came back to haunt them, as Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts the past two seasons with the 49ers.

Gould expected to be a free agent at the end of the season, but the 49ers tagged him as their franchise player. Gould has requested a trade, but the 49ers have stated they will not trade him.

He has yet to sign the one-year, $4.971 million tender, and he remained away from the 49ers during the offseason program.

“It’s a complicated situation,” Gould said. “The way I’ve kind of approached it is, I want to spend time with my family. And I let my agent handle it, and if anything comes up that I have to make a decision or be in the know, he’ll call me and let me know. But right now there’s nothing to really know, and I’m just enjoying being home and being in Chicago.

“I’m at a point in my career where my family is what’s going to dictate the decisions that I make.”

The 49ers have stated they would like to sign Gould to an extension. The sides have until July 15 to work out a new multi-year deal. Gould’s scheduled salary does not begin paying him until Week 1 of the regular season -- in the amount of more than $290,000 per week.

The Bears have a need at kicker after releasing Cody Parkey following his potential game-winning kick in the final seconds was partially blocked in a first-round NFL playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Gould was in attendance at Soldier Field that day.

[RELATED: Watch Verett go full speed in change-of-direction drills]

“You want every kicking friend or every kicker in the National Football League to do well,” Gould said. ‘It’s a fraternity. You obviously want him to make it. As a kicker, you can feel for him, for sure.”

The Bears currently have two kickers under contract: Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. Gould said he is not following the Bears’ situation. Instead, he said he is focusing spending time with his family and going through his daily workouts.

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills

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USATSI

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full speed in change-of-direction drills

Cornerback Jason Verrett did not take part in the 49ers’ practices during the offseason program with the plan of being ready to compete for a starting job when training camp opens in July.

After missing all of last season with a torn Achilles sustained in a conditioning test at the opening of Los Angeles Chargers training camp, Verrett appears on pace to be cleared at or near the beginning of camp this summer.

Verrett on Monday posted videos to his Instagram account that show him going near full speed in change-of-direction drills. During the last week of the team’s offseason program, Verrett said he expected to be ready for training camp. The 49ers are scheduled to report to camp on July 27.

"I’m going to be ready,” Verrett said. “That’s my main focus. It’s just worrying about what I can control and I’m excited to be getting ready for training camp. My health is pretty much everything and I’m on track to be exactly where I want to be. The day I get on that football field they are going to like what they see.”

Verrett, who turned 28 last week, has played in just 25 games since breaking into the NFL in 2014 as the 25th overall draft pick of the Chargers.

He was limited to just six games because of a shoulder injury as a rookie. After appearing in 14 games in 2015 and earning a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team, Verrett sustained a partial tear of his ACL and played in just four games in 2016.

[RELATED: How will 49ers share RB carries?]

In the first game of 2017, Verrett reinjured his knee and sat out the remainder of the season. Verrett missed all of last season with the injury he sustained on the first day of training camp.

Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong offseason program as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Verrett is expected to compete with Witherspoon for a starting job.