49ers

Ex-Raiders, 49ers WR Randy Moss among 108 nominees for Hall of Fame

randymoss-raiders-ap.jpg
AP

Ex-Raiders, 49ers WR Randy Moss among 108 nominees for Hall of Fame

Former Raiders and 49ers receiver Randy Moss is among the 108 modern-era nominees announced Tuesday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

Moss and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis top the list of the first-time eligible candidates, along with former Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher and former Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber.

Moss, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, ranks second all time behind Jerry Rice in receiving touchdowns and third all-time behind Rice and Terrell Owens in receiving yards. Moss played two seasons (2005, ’06) with the Raiders. He concluded his career in 2012 with the 49ers. His final game was the 49ers’ loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

Owens and John Lynch, the 49ers’ first-year general manager, enter another year of candidacy for the Hall of Fame. Lynch, who played safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, made it to the final 10 this year, while Owens was among the final 15 but did not advance any further.

The modern-era nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November. In January, the list will be narrowed to 15 finalists.

Eighteen finalists will be presented to the 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual selection meeting on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl 52.

The finalists will consist of 15 modern-era finalists, the recently named senior finalists, Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer, and the contributor finalist, Bobby Beathard.

There is no set number of enshrinees for any year, but the selection process by-laws provide that from four to eight new members will be selected.

MODERN-ERA NOMINEES
*-Finalist in 2017

Quarterbacks 
(5) – Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Phil Simms

Running backs 
(10) – Tiki Barber, Earnest Byner, Roger Craig, Corey Dillon, Eddie George, Edgerrin James, Lorenzo Neal, Fred Taylor, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters

Wide receivers (13) – *Isaac Bruce, Donald Driver, Henry Ellard (also PR), Torry Holt, Chad Johnson, Randy Moss, *Terrell Owens, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Steve Smith, John Taylor, Hines Ward

Tight end 
(4) – Mark Bavaro, Ben Coates, Ferrell Edmunds, Jay Novacek

Offensive linemen
 (21) – Willie Anderson (T), Matt Birk (C), *Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Ruben Brown (G), Ray Donaldson (C), *Alan Faneca (G), Bill Fralic (G/T), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Steve Hutchinson (G), *Joe Jacoby (T), Mike Kenn (T), *Kevin Mawae (C/G), Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), Bart Oates (C), Jeff Saturday (C), Richmond Webb (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)

Defensive linemen 
(11) – La’Roi Glover (DT/NT), Leonard Marshall (DE/DT), Keith Millard (DT/NT/DE), Leslie O’Neal (DE), Michael Dean Perry (DT/DE), Simeon Rice (DE), Richard Seymour (DT), Neil Smith (DE), Greg Townsend (DE/NT/LB), Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE), Bryant Young (DT)

Linebackers (15) – Carl Banks, Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, Seth Joyner, Ray Lewis, Greg Lloyd, Wilber Marshall, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills, Joey Porter, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas, Brian Urlacher

Defensive backs (12) – Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Ronde Barber (CB/S), LeRoy Butler (S), *Brian Dawkins (SS), Rodney Harrison (S), *Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), *John Lynch (S), Dennis Smith (S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S)

Kickers/punters (3) – Gary Anderson (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K)

Special teams (2) – Brian Mitchell (KR/PR also RB), Steve Tasker (ST also WR)

Coaches 
(12) – *Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

49ers roster analysis: Needs in secondary for future warrant action now

49ers roster analysis: Needs in secondary for future warrant action now

This is the eighth installment of a nine-part series that examines the 49ers’ roster coming out of the 2019 season, looks ahead to 2020, and outlines the offseason challenges facing general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan on a position-by-position basis.

Today, a look at the 49ers’ defensive backs.

Under contract (signed through)

-CB Richard Sherman (2020)
-S Jaquiski Tartt (2020)
-CB K’Waun Williams (2020)
-CB Ahkello Witherspoon (2020)
-S Tarvarius Moore (2021)
-CB/S D.J. Reed (2021)
-S Marcell Harris (2020)
-CB Tim Harris (2022)
-CB Teez Tabor (2020)
-S Jacob Thieneman (2021)
-CB Jermaine Kelly (2021)
-S Chris Edwards (2021)
-S Derrick Kindred (2020)

Sherman enters the third year of the three-year, $27.15 million contract he negotiated with the 49ers after the Seattle Seahawks released him in March of 2018. Tartt and Williams are also on the final years of their contracts, so the 49ers could look to extend any of them during the offseason.

Expiring contracts

-S Jimmie Ward (UFA)
-CB Jason Verrett (UFA)
-CB Dontae Johnson (UFA)
-CB Emmanuel Moseley (EFA)

Ward is a priority to re-sign. It’s just a matter of how much attention he receives on the open market (if he gets that far) and how far the 49ers will go to re-sign him.

A year ago, Verrett signed a one-year, prove-it contract. He went on injured reserve early in the season.

Moseley will be back on the team. He has no outside negotiating power because of his status as an exclusive-rights free agent.

What needs to happen

The defensive backfield situation might be the most complex to figure out for the 49ers this offseason. Ward is scheduled to be a free agent, but the 49ers also have three of their other top-five defensive backs entering the final years of their contracts.

First things first, they have to figure out how to approach Ward. They would like to retain him, but there might also be some hesitancy because of his injury history. Ward finally played a 16-game season, but that was only after missing the first three games, then picking up three games in the postseason.

Sherman, who turns 32 next month, had an outstanding regular season. Do the 49ers open talks with him about extending his contract?

On the other side, Moseley ended up as the starter over Witherspoon, who enters the final year of his deal. After the demotion, Witherspoon asked to play more special teams. Moseley generally played well, but he was in the middle of the biggest play of Super Bowl LIV.

Tartt, the starting strong safety, also enters the final year of his contract. He and Ward were high-school teammates and work well together.

Williams, one of the top nickel backs in the league, is also entering the final year of his deal.

The 49ers have just one pick in the first four rounds of the draft. This is why it makes a lot of sense to trade back (and trade back and trade back) to acquire selections in the second, third and fourth rounds.

This is a good draft for defensive backs. And while drafting for need is not often advisable, it becomes a lot better of a plan when it is a need that is projected a year down the road.

[RELATED: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020]

Expectations

The 49ers had the best pass defense in the league last season. Despite playing with a lead for most games, the 49ers allowed just 169.2 yards passing per game. That was the lowest average passing yards allowed in the NFL in more than a decade.

It will be nearly impossible to match that level of pass defense of a year ago. So much of the success the 49ers experienced against the pass was a product of the team’s pass rush. That will likely have to be the case again this season.

Teams generally shied away from Sherman’s side. But Sherman gave up a couple of big plays in the postseason, including one late in the Super Bowl. He will likely be challenged more in 2020, which will give him more opportunities to add to his career total of 39 interceptions (including postseason).

The 49ers must find more consistency on the other side. Moseley enters the offseason as the starter. Witherspoon is competing for a role. Tartt appears locked in as one starting safety, but the other spot is wide open at this point.

If Ward does not return to the team, Moore could be next in line to step in as a starter.

If the 49ers use an early draft pick on a safety or cornerback (or both), then competition could potentially lead to a rookie or two in the team’s starting defensive backfield.

49ers roster analysis: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020

49ers roster analysis: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020

This is the seventh installment of a nine-part series that examines the 49ers’ roster coming out of the 2019 season, looks ahead to 2020 and outlines the offseason challenges facing general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan on a position-by-position basis.

Today, a look at the 49ers’ linebackers.

Under contract (signed through)

-Kwon Alexander (2022)
-Fred Warner (2021)
-Dre Greenlaw (2022)
-Mark Nzeocha (2021)
-Azeez Al-Shaair (2021)
-Joey Alfieri (2021)
-Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (2021)

The 49ers and Alexander agreed to a contract restructure in November that saves the team more than $8 million in cap space for the 2020 season. His salary is set to leap to $12.55 million in 2021. Three voidable years were added to his contract. He is still scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2022 season.

Expiring contracts

-Elijah Lee (RFA)

Lee was among the 49ers’ final cuts and was signed to the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster for the final eight games of the regular season after Alexander went on injured reserve. Lee saw action in each of the 49ers’ three postseason games as a core special-teams contributor.

What needs to happen

The 49ers’ only real decision is with Lee, who is a restricted free agent. The lowest tender of $2.144 million is probably too much, but the 49ers can look to re-sign him to a minimum level contract.

But even with some uncertainty surrounding Lee, the 49ers appear set with their starters and backups. The 49ers certainly do not need to spend free-agent money to add a player. And they do not need to use one of their top draft picks to bring in a linebacker, either.

[RELATED: 49ers roster analysis: Work needed to keep up defensive line dominance]

Expectations

This position group is comprised of players who are all ascending. The unit was good in 2019. It should be better in 2020.

Warner was one of the breakout stars for the 49ers as a second-year player. He had an interception of Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl that looked, at the time, to be one of the big plays in that game. Warner believes he can make improvements in all areas, including the production of more game-changing types of plays.

Alexander sustained a torn pectoral in the middle of the season. Then, worked hard to get back for the playoffs. Although he settled back into the 49ers’ defense as a part-time player, Alexander still served an important role on the team due to his leadership and energy.

Greenlaw became an every-down player after Alexander’s injury and made one of the most memorable plays of the season when he stopped Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister just inches short of the goal line to preserve the 49ers’ Week 17 win to clinch the NFC West and home-field advantage in the playoffs. It will be difficult to keep Greenlaw off the field.

Al-Shaair, who defied the odds to win his roster spot last season as an undrafted rookie, and Nzeocha are solid backups and core special-teams players, too.