49ers

Arik Armstead never wanted to leave 49ers, happy for DeForest Buckner

Arik Armstead never wanted to leave 49ers, happy for DeForest Buckner

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner spent seven of the last eight years as teammates.

First, they lined up together for the University of Oregon from 2012 through 2014. The 49ers drafted Armstead in 2015, and the defensive-line duo was reunited in 2016 when San Francisco picked Buckner.

But on Monday, the partnership was broken up. Hours after Armstead agreed to a five-year contract extension with the 49ers, the team traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in this year's draft.

"It was a crazy day, you know, super excited that he got that pay day," Armstead told NFL Media's Sam Wyche on Wednesday. "Wish it was with us, you know DeFo and I have been playing alongside each other for so many years now, so it was definitely a weird day. Mixed emotions. Super happy for him that he got that pay day and I know he's going to do great things out there, but definitely wish we were still playing together and continuing our careers together."

As for Armstead, the Sacramento native told Wyche his goal was to stay with the team that drafted him No. 17 overall in 2015.

"Man, it's amazing," Armstead said. "I really didn't want to be anywhere else. I'm from Sacramento. The 49ers drafted me five years ago, and going through the process, I never really imagined myself anywhere else, so it wasn't necessarily about the money for me. I wanted to be in San Fran and try to get back to the Super Bowl."

[RELATED: Why 49ers traded Buckner, signed Armstead]

Who knows? Maybe Armstead's 49ers and Buckner's Colts will meet in Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 7, 2021.

This stat shows 49ers star George Kittle's receiving, blocking mastery

This stat shows 49ers star George Kittle's receiving, blocking mastery

George Kittle is a one-of-a-kind tight end, and one stat from football analytics site Pro Football Focus is the latest indication why.

The 49ers star has been, in PFF's estimation, one of just two tight ends since 2018 to rank among the best at his position in receiving and run-blocking.

Kittle's 2,430 receiving yards over the last two seasons are second-best at his position behind Kansas City Chiefs counterpart Travis Kelce, and the Iowa product's per-game average of 81 yards actually topped Kelce. The 26-year-old also set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end (1,377) in 2018, even as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was sidelined for all but four games with a torn ACL. 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

But the 49ers recognize Kittle is much more than a playmaker, equally valuing his contributions to the team's dominant running game.

“I mean, he had more yards in the pass game as a tight end in the history of the NFL last year,” coach Kyle Shanahan said in January (H/T Jennifer Lee Chan). “So, any time you have a guy like that who's one of the best players on your team who's always just talking about running the ball and playing the physicality in the game and giving everything you can, it helps you hold everyone else a lot more accountable, and rarely do you have to."

While Kittle's skills make him a complete tight end, he reportedly doesn't want to be paid like one. NFL Media's Mike Silver said Friday on "NFL Total Access" that Kittle's agent, Jack Bechta, "[doesn't] care about the tight-end market" in contract-extension negotiations with the 49ers and thinks his client's new deal should reflect Kittle's unique, all-purpose value. 

"I'm being paid to do a George Kittle deal," Silver recalled Bechta saying.

The 49ers and Kittle aren't "close at all" on a new deal as a result, according to Silver.

[RELATED: 49ers' Jimmy G absorbs Montana's wisdom about winning]

There's still plenty of time for the 49ers and Kittle to reach an agreement, as he's entering the final year of his rookie deal. The 49ers, of course, can also use the franchise tag on him heading into the 2021 season.

If the two sides are going to reach a long-term deal, it sure seems like Kittle wants his receiving and blocking contributions reflected in it.

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo absorbs Joe Montana's wisdom about winning

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo absorbs Joe Montana's wisdom about winning

Throughout NFL history, of quarterbacks to start at least 100 career games, only Tom Brady (.773) and Roger Staubach (.746) have posted better regular-season winning percentages than 49ers legend Joe Montana (.713). So, when it comes to knowing the secrets to victory, he's a pretty good source of advice.

Montana won 117 of his 164 career regular-season starts, precisely 100 victories of which came with San Francisco. On Wednesday, he posted a photo on Instagram from the final one of those wins with the 49ers, in which he offered up a secret to his success.

"Winners, I am convinced, imagine their dreams first," Montana wrote. "They want it with all their heart and expect it to come true. There is, I believe, no other way to live."
As of the time of this writing, that post had received 15,685 likes, one of which came from another 49ers quarterback who happens to have a knack for winning as well -- Jimmy Garoppolo.

[RELATED: Where Jimmy G, Carr rank among NFL starting quarterbacks]

Jimmy G, of course, displayed his penchant for winning immediately upon joining the 49ers, winning his first five starts after San Francisco acquired him midway through the 2017 season. Across 24 regular-season starts with the 49ers, he has posted a 19-5 record (.792). Not to mention, he was arguably one missed completion away from winning Super Bowl LIV.

Garoppolo might have his own secrets to his success, but it certainly can't hurt if he picks up a thing or two from Joe Cool.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]