49ers

Brandon Marshall hopes people 'ready' to hear Colin Kaepernick's message

Brandon Marshall hopes people 'ready' to hear Colin Kaepernick's message

Former Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall paid a small price for joining ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest of police brutality towards African Americans and systemic racism.

Marshall, Kaepernick's college teammate at Nevada, was the first player to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL regular-season game when he did so on Sept. 9, 2016, ahead of the first game of the season. Kaepernick began kneeling a couple of weeks prior during the preseason. 

Although he lost a pair of endorsements in the days after first kneeling, Marshall doesn't regret the decision. If anything, Marshall thinks the last week in the United States has shown that people might finally be "ready" to hear Kaepernick's message.

"Back then, we were called rogues, people said that we didn't deserve jobs, but this is what we were talking about then,'' Marshall told ESPN's Jeff Legwold on Monday. "I think people are looking at [Kaepernick] now like, 'OK, maybe he knew.' People didn't want to hear the message after, 'Oh, they were kneeling.' They didn't want that message, weren't ready for it, didn't listen. I hope, and I look at it, I hope people are ready for the message. I really hope they're ready for change.''

Protestors have demonstrated nationwide in the last week, with some protests leading to an increasingly violent police response, rioting and looting. Demonstrators' outrage stems from the same issues Kaepernick's protest called attention to in 2016.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died last Monday in police custody in Minneapolis after a white officer -- who has since been fired and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter -- pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for over eight minutes. Floyd's death occurred just over two months after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman, was fatally shot in her own home by Louisville police and just over three after Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man, was shot and killed by two white men while jogging in his Georgia neighborhood.

Marshall now lives in Las Vegas, and he said he has been encouraged to see protests there and elsewhere across the country.

"We need everybody to care about this, not to see it as just a black or brown problem,'' Marshall said. "When people see this as a people problem -- and not a black person's problem or a person of color's problem -- then we can have real change. I look at all of the faces in the real, peaceful protests, and I see maybe we're ready to listen now. Maybe we're ready to see it as a people problem and that real, lasting, effective change can happen.''

[RELATED: Bruce Maxwell's kneel still sparks hate, misunderstanding]

Kaepernick argued he paid a price after protesting, too. He has not been on an NFL roster since the season in which he began protesting -- despite insisting he still wants to play -- and Kaepernick alleged the NFL's owners colluded to ensure he remained unsigned in a collusion lawsuit that was settled last February.

Marshall said he spoke with Kaepernick and asked how he could help, and that the two will speak again "moving forward." He has listened to his former teammate since Kaepernick began protesting, and Marshall hopes others now are prepared to do the same.

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49ers' Trent Taylor hilariously trolled by teammates for muscle pose

49ers' Trent Taylor hilariously trolled by teammates for muscle pose

The 49ers love to rip on one another, and no player's Instagram posts are safe.

Exhibit No. 4,949 (give or take)? Trent Taylor's thirst trap Instagram photo from earlier this week.

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Stache Gainz (early stages)

A post shared by Trent Nelson Taylor (@trent5taylor) on

Based on the picture above, you surely know what followed.

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Taylor didn't play a single game in 2019, missing all of the season due to complications with his injured foot. You wouldn't know that reading the comments, though.

The 26-year-old slot receiver was a fixture at the 49ers' player-organized workouts earlier in the offseason, rebuilding a connection with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that was so strong in 2017. Taylor could play a big role this season, considering Deebo Samuel and Richie James' offseason injuries.

[RELATED: What Garrett's reported extension means for Bosa, 49ers]

The 49ers hope Taylor can reach his 2017 level, and some big performances surely would lead to more Instagram posts.

That, more than anything, might be why his teammates want to see Taylor succeed.

What 49ers can learn from Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones contracts

What 49ers can learn from Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones contracts

The Kansas City Chiefs have rewarded the two most influential players from their Super Bowl LIV victory over the 49ers with gigantic contract extensions this offseason. 

First, they gave quarterback Patrick Mahomes a record-breaking deal that could be worth up to $503 million. Then, they reportedly reached an agreement with star defensive tackle Chris Jones on another lucrative extension on Tuesday, a four-year deal worth up to $85 million.

That's a whole lot of dough for any offseason. In the midst of a global pandemic that is almost certain to cause a severe drop in league revenue, it might appear short-sighted and downright stupid on the surface. But the Chiefs didn't climb to the top of the NFL by accident. And if you dig a little deeper, there's a strategy at play.

For starters, as astronomical as Mahomes' total salary is, the huge payments don't come in the immediate. Mahomes carries a cap hit worth roughly $5.4 million for the upcoming 2020 season, making him arguably the most underpaid player in the league. In 2021, that cap hit balloons to $24.8 million -- certainly a large jump, but still less than he is worth.

It's only 2022 and beyond that Mahomes' cap hit might prove burdensome to maintaining a championship-contending roster.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Jones' contract, on the other hand, is structured in almost the exact opposite manner. According to Over The Cap, all of the guaranteed money is paid out within the first two years of the contract, meaning Kansas City could theoretically cut Jones after the 2021 season and incur no financial penalty.

By structuring Mahomes' and Jones' contracts the way they did, the Chiefs managed to reward arguably their two best players and maintain their status atop the league in the immediate, while also providing the team with some financial flexibility down the line. Even star defensive end Frank Clark isn't guaranteed any money beyond the 2021 season.

Now, the Chiefs' plan doesn't come without significant risk. If the salary cap drops significantly for 2021, then they'll likely have to make some tough roster decisions, as they already have over $200 million in cap liabilities for that season. 

Consequently, two things are clear. First, the Chiefs obviously are counting on the salary cap to surge upward in the near future. If it doesn't, Mahomes' contract might prove prohibitive to contention, no matter how good he is. And secondly, they're going all-in on the 2020 season, presumably in an attempt to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions since the 2003-04 New England Patriots.

What can the 49ers learn from this? First and foremost, it pays to have people in place that know how to get creative with the cap. Paraag Marathe certainly would qualify, so San Francisco is in good shape there.

Additionally, finding key contributors in the draft is essential to filling out a top-heavy roster. That's an area where the Chiefs have had plenty of success, and the 49ers have done well, too.

More specifically, however, signing the likes of George Kittle, Fred Warner and Nick Bosa, as well as other key players, to contract extensions might not prove as impossible as it seems. Depending on how the contracts are structured, they theoretically could be balanced against one another so as to not pile huge salary commitments on top of one another in any given season.

[RELATED: What Garrett's reported extension means for Bosa, 49ers]

Ultimately, that takes two to tango. Players have to agree to the contracts that are offered to them, and often times their personal priorities don't necessarily match up with those of the team. That said, clearly, the tone has been set in the Chiefs' locker room. Many of their players, even stars like Mahomes and Jones, have made sacrifices so as to maintain what might remain as the most formidable roster in the league.

If the 49ers hope to do the same -- and ultimately eclipse Kansas City -- it likely will take a similar combination of buy-in, creativity and risk to make it happen.