49ers

Baalke: 'Nowhere near' trading Kaepernick

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Baalke: 'Nowhere near' trading Kaepernick

Editor's note: Matt Maiocco is in Florida for the NFL owners meetings. Watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6 & 10:30pm for comprehensive coverage.

BOCA RATON, Fla. – General manager Trent Baalke said Tuesday the 49ers gave quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s representatives permission to talk to other teams.

But the intention all along has been that Kaepernick would remain with the 49ers this season, Baalke said at the NFL owners meetings.

“I’ve had discussions with several teams and it’s gone no further than that, as the agents have had several discussions (with teams),” Baalke said. “We’re nowhere near getting anything done at this point.”

The 49ers have spoken with the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and New York Jets, according to sources. Baalke said the 49ers have not received a formal trade offer for Kaepernick.

“What we told them was that they were open to exploring options,” Baalke said. “But our intent was for him to be back and to go to work. . . He’s under contract and until that changes, our expectations don’t change.”

So why would the 49ers give permission for a player to talk to other teams if the intent was to retain him on their roster?

“Because I think sometimes it helps players work through anything they may have,” Baalke said. “It gives them a chance to see what their options really are. It also gives us a chance to say we didn’t hold you back from doing that.”

The 49ers’ offseason program is scheduled to begin on April 4, and Baalke said he anticipates Kaepernick will be in attendance.

Kaepernick is currently rehabbing from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee in Vail, Colorado. He visited the 49ers’ facility in Santa Clara on Friday for a checkup – not a full physical, according to the team.

Baalke said the organization gave Kaepernick’s representatives, agents Scott Smith and Jason Bernstein, permission to speak with other teams because of the “unique situation.” He said the 49ers will not give permission to every player who seeks to leave the organization.

“You have to look at all the change we’ve gone through,” Baalke said. “And sometimes that’s difficult on players, especially young players that have to go from system to system to system.

“I’ve never really asked them what their thought process is and why they’re making the decisions that they are, but by giving them the opportunity to explore other options doesn’t mean that you don’t want them. It gives them some reassurance, ‘If you feel there’s something better out there for you,’ at least give them the option to explore it.”

Coach Chip Kelly said last week his discussions with Kaepernick have been positive. Kelly intimated the notion that Kaepernick's agents are behind the discussion of seeking a trade.

When asked if Kaepernick has ever expressed his displeasure to Baalke, he answered, “I don’t’ think that’s ever been a real issue. I’m not going to get into whether it’s been agent-driven. There’s always a side to that. . . . For these young players, a lot of time there is influence from agents on what’s best for their client. Let’s face it, the last couple of years haven't been an easy run for any of us.”

Baalke has spoken to representatives of every team in the league over the past couple of days at the NFL owners meetings, but there has been no trade talk, he said.

Baalke said: “I’ve talked to 31 other teams about a variety of things, and none of which is newsworthy."

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.