49ers

Emmanuel Sanders' future with 49ers is unclear, says he 'loves' team

Emmanuel Sanders' future with 49ers is unclear, says he 'loves' team

SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has more than a month to consider what the future holds for him.

On Wednesday, when the 49ers held their final team meeting and cleaned out their lockers at Levi's Stadium, Sanders was more in a reflective mood than looking ahead to the 2020 regular season.

“I enjoyed this season,” said Sanders, whom the 49ers acquired in a trade with the Denver Broncos in October. “I love the Niners organization, so we’re going to see what’s to happen.

“At some point, obviously, I got to switch my mind and think about what’s to come and see what could happen. But as of right now, I’m just a couple days away from losing the Super Bowl.”

Sanders plans to play an 11th NFL season. But he is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, so a lot about his future remains unsettled. The 49ers own sole negotiating rights to all the team's free agents until March 16.

Sanders said he has already watched the game film five or six times of the 49ers’ 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. Each time, the ending gets more difficult to view.

“It’s like watching the Titanic and you hope the ship just doesn’t sink,” Sanders said. “And for some reason, the ship keeps sinking over and over.

“I go back and watch it again, and you hope that all the plays that we left out there and the possible opportunities that we could’ve come out victorious. But we didn’t and that’s the reality.”

Sanders had his number called with less than two minutes remaining on the 49ers' last chance to pull out the win. He got a step behind the Kansas City defense on a third-and-10 play with the 49ers trailing 24-20. But quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s deep pass was several yards out of reach.

That opportunity got away, and Garoppolo was sacked on fourth down. Sanders said he remains unwavering in his support of Garoppolo, who started all 19 games for a team that won the NFC West with a 13-3 regular-season mark.

“People are going to be hard to Jimmy, at the end of the day, Jimmy, to me, is still a baller,” Sanders said. “A lot of people want to say this and say that, this guy took his team to the Super Bowl, and obviously didn’t come out victorious but we had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and could’ve easily come out victorious.”

Sanders said he was watching some video clips of the late Kobe Bryant, during which Bryant talked about bouncing back after tough defeats. Bryant said after the criticism, an athlete has to “get over yourself,” face the facts and move on.

Sanders said that is exactly what Garoppolo is doing.

“I saw him around today, he was smiling and happy,” Sanders said of Garoppolo. “I know he’s looking forward to the offseason and trying to win a Super Bowl again. That’s why I love the guy because at the end of the day, people are going to say what they want to say, but he remains himself. And that’s why I love this team and this organization because they’re the same way.”

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Sanders said he believes the 49ers are here to stay. The road to get back to the Super Bowl is long and arduous, but he said the organization is comprised of the right kinds of people from ownership, general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and all the way down.

“We’re different. This team is different. This organization is different,” Sanders said. “It doesn’t start with the players. It starts with the general manager. From head coach. Those guys are special guys. They’re going to get a group of guys around here. They’re going to win a long time around here.

“I know Niner Faithful is upset about the Super Bowl loss. The people who are controlling the reins of this organization, even from the owners, they’re going to win a long time around here.”

NFL rumors: Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round pick

NFL rumors: Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round pick

The Los Angeles Rams' rebuild continues.

After releasing former All-Pros Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews during free agency, the Rams continued their roster overhaul by reportedly agreeing to send wideout Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for several draft picks, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday citing a source.

LA has been dealing with salary cap issues, trying to find money to pay franchise quarterback Jared Goff, all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the other 49 players needed to fill out an NFL roster.

The team still ends up taking a dead cap hit on Cooks in 2020, but at least removes the remaining four years of his deal from the books.

With the departure of offensive weapons Gurley and Cooks along with Matthews’ defensive presence, it will be a very different LA attack the next time the team takes on the 49ers.

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After four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks struggled through injuries and inconsistency on his way to just 583 receiving yards in 14 games during the 2019 season.

ProFootballTalk reported Thursday that the team already took a financial hit by holding onto Cooks this far into his contract.

With the 49ers aiming to defend their title as NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks remaining strong and the Arizona Cardinals fleecing Bill O’Brien and those head-scratching Texans for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this spring, there’s a clear new team at the bottom of the NFC West.

If we end up getting an NFL season in 2020, expect the division’s doormat to be in Tinseltown.

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

The NFL draft demonstrates to fans just how bold their team’s general managers can be.

Those willing to take a risk and try to move up in the first round sacrifice significant draft capital in exchange for a chance at a home run.

The 49ers happen to be one of those select few teams possessing multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, giving GM John Lynch an opportunity to make a big splash.

One potential way Lynch could extend San Francisco’s championship window is by fortifying the secondary with Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, writes Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher.

In this trade, the 49ers make the bold jump up to secure the former Ohio State Buckeye. But with the 49ers lacking in trade capital this year, they could send picks No. 13, No. 31 and another 2021 third-round selection. 

The 49ers have a win-now roster and could use a stud cover man to pair with Richard Sherman. Okudah is one of the best players in the draft and would give the team another versatile corner who could be used in both man and zone coverage. 

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Okudah is the consensus top defensive back in this year’s draft, combining length to disrupt the passing game with top-line speed, putting up a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Niners came up just short of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, despite holding dynamic gunslinger Patrick Mahomes to just 286 yards passing and the lowest postseason quarterback rating of his career.

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Okudah could provide an immediate impact in the secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman, but should the team sacrifice both of its first-round draft picks to fortify a position that is lower on the list of needs for Lynch’s roster?

Many fans likely rather would see the team grab one of this year's seemingly endless crop of talented wide receivers at No. 13 and then waiting and nabbing a cornerback later like TCU product Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall.

We’ll find out just how bold this 49ers' front office wants to be in exactly two week’s time.