Mailbag: Is WR still a top priority for 49ers?


Mailbag: Is WR still a top priority for 49ers?

The 49ers’ top offseason needs:

Offensive line
Wide receiver

OK, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the other questions submitted via Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag. . .

Do you think Jimmy's play and the ascension of Goodwin, Taylor, and Kittle would reduce the Niners’ aggressiveness for a top free agent WR? (Ronnie Dominguez)
Coach Kyle Shanahan was not altogether satisfied with the team’s wide receivers due to the high number of dropped passes and the inability to consistently beat man coverage.

But the 49ers’ No. 1 receiver, Pierre Garçon, will be back during the offseason program to join Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne.

Garçon’s ability to find ways to get open against zone and man should be a very good match for Jimmy Garoppolo’s anticipation and accuracy.

Among the top wide receivers scheduled to be unrestricted free agents are Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee.

Lee is good, but not necessarily a game-changer; Watkins was the third-leading wide receiver on the L.A. Rams; Landry is one of the better possession receivers; and Robinson is very good but missed the season with a torn ACL.

Any of those players would be a nice piece at the right price. My thought is the 49ers would be more inclined to find another player such as Goodwin – someone they believe has a lot more to show.

It would probably be wise to add a player like that while also keeping the door open to selecting a young talent on the second day of the draft.

What QB contract do you think the 49ers front office will use as their comparison for Jimmy G’s deal? Or is franchise tag on the table this year? (Shawn Green)
How the 49ers view Garoppolo’s contract is one thing. How Garoppolo and his agent, Don Yee, view it is just as important to working out a long-term extension.

Yee and Garoppolo rejected New England’s multi-year offer of $17 million to $18 million a year, according to Seth Wickersham's ESPN report. Garoppolo, it seems, has yearned for an opportunity to play. And that was not going to happen with the Patriots as long as Tom Brady was still breathing.

So, now, Garoppolo has his chance to play. It did not take long to establish himself as the central figure of the 49ers’ organization. Obviously, the floor for negotiations is the 2018 franchise tag for quarterbacks – projected as $23.5 million.

My guess is the Derek Carr contract will be used as a road map. (A little more or a little less.) They were in the same draft. They were second-round draft picks. And the Carr contract takes into account the cost of living in the Bay Area.

Where does Malcom Smith play? (Daniel Lucero)
The 49ers were devastated when Smith was lost for the season during training camp due to a torn pectoral. If Smith had remained healthy and playing well, the parting with NaVorro Bowman probably would have occurred much earlier. Smith is expected to start at weakside linebacker in 2018, with Reuben Foster moving to middle linebacker. The 49ers can be expected to re-sign Brock Coyle to serve as a special-teams ace and backup inside linebacker.

Is Joe Williams a potential explosive type back they’re looking for? (Brad Peltier)
Yes. The Joe Williams the 49ers coaches saw on film from his final season at Utah was exactly what the team wants from its featured halfback.

But Williams was tentative and did not show a whole lot in the offseason and training camp. The 49ers, in essence, gave Williams a redshirt year when he sustained a foot injury late in the exhibition season.

The 49ers like Williams’ approach to his rehab as he spent the season on injured reserve. The club hopes the light will go on and Williams can show in the NFL the same playmaking skills that attracted them to him in the first place.

The 49ers really like Carlos Hyde, but I don’t see them making an aggressive push to keep him from hitting the open market. That’s because Williams’ upside with his ability to make defenders miss greater and there are always a bunch of good running backs available after Day 1 of the draft.

NFL picks: 49ers vs. Chiefs Week 3 score predictions

NFL picks: 49ers vs. Chiefs Week 3 score predictions

The 49ers (1-1) take their show on the road to Kansas City on Sunday as they face the Chiefs (2-0) in Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season.

San Francisco will be tasked with trying to slow down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown 10 touchdown passes and has yet to be intercepted in two games.

Running back Matt Breida will look to reclaim his place as the NFL's leading rusher. The second-year back enters the game with 184 yards, trailing former 49er Carlos Hyde, who has 203 rushing yards following Cleveland's win on Thursday night.

NFL experts from around the country have made their picks for Sunday's clash, and all of them see the Chiefs dropping the 49ers to 1-2.

Nick Wagoner, ESPN.com: Chiefs 37, 49ers 31

Adam Teicher, ESPN.com: Chiefs 34, 49ers 28

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Chiefs 31, 49ers 28

Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: Chiefs 37, 49ers 30

Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: Chiefs, 30, 49ers 23

Vincent Frank, Forbes.com: Chiefs 41, 49ers 31


This Sunday, be sure to watch 49ers Pregame Live at 9 a.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and 49ers Postgame Live immediately after the game on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus and live streaming on the NBC Sports app. Greg Papa, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt will have everything you need to know from the 49ers’ game in Kansas City.

Four 49ers players to watch Sunday vs. Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium

Four 49ers players to watch Sunday vs. Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium

The 49ers have not won in Kansas City since 1982.

OK, maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. After all, that streak consists of just four games. But the past three games have been Chiefs blowout victories of 44-9 in 1997, 41-0 in 2006, and 31-10 in 2010.

Arrowhead Stadium is considered one of the most difficult outdoor venues for opposing teams in the NFL. And things should be rocking on Sunday when second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes his first start at home. 

Here are four 49ers who can help spoil what the folks in Kansas City expect to be a festive day.

LB Reuben Foster

Foster returns to action on Sunday after missing the first two games of the season due to a suspension for violations of the NFL’s policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct. His presence should provide a boost to the 49ers, who got uneven play at the weakside linebacker spot during his absence.

Foster is a dynamic playmaker who should help offset some of Kansas City’s speed advantage. Foster is likely to start, alongside middle linebacker Fred Warner, giving the 49ers a player who can range sideline-to-sideline to track down explosive running back Kareem Hunt.

The 49ers also expect veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith to make his 49ers debut after missing all of last season with a torn pectoral and the first two games this season with a hamstring injury. The 49ers will undoubtedly find a way to get Smith on the field with Foster and Warner.

RB Matt Breida

The 49ers must match Kansas City’s big-play ability with some of their own. Veteran running back Alfred Morris is the grinder. Breida is the home-run hitter.

Breida enters Sunday’s game as the NFL’s leading rusher with 184 yards on just 22 rushing attempts. In the 49ers’ 30-27 victory over the Detroit Lions last week, Breida accounted for 159 yards from scrimmage. His 11.4 yards per touch was the highest verage for a 49ers running back since Frank Gore averaged 11.7 yards per touch in game against Seattle in 2009.

The 49ers must establish their outside zone running game, which should help slow down the Kansas City pass rush in order to enable quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to make some plays down the field.

CB Ahkello Witherspoon

The 49ers’ first two opponents have virtually ignored their receivers on the side of the field where Richard Sherman lines up. On the other side, Witherspoon has seen a lot of action. And that does not figure to change this week after he struggled in coverage against the Lions.

Witherspoon is not 100 percent, as he nurses an ankle injury. But he the 49ers say he is expected to play. If he is cleared to play and he says he can play, he is held to the same standard as everyone else. Mahomes will test Witherspoon early and often. And if Witherspoon is not up to the task, especially in attempting to run with wide receiver Tyreek Hill, the 49ers will have to consider once against taking him off the field in order to give the team its best chance of coming out of Kansas City with a victory.

TE George Kittle

Kittle had a big game in the opener at Minnesota, and it could have been a whole lot better. Last week, he was not a big part of the team’s game plan.

This week, he might be needed to quickly beat man coverage in the middle of the field and make plays as Garoppolo and the 49ers’ offense will aim to quiet the boisterous crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.

Garoppolo was sacked six times against Detroit, and a lot of the 49ers' problems stemmed from the receivers’ inability to get open quickly. That is where Kittle must excel, in order to give Garoppolo quick and easy solutions to beat the pressure. Kittle has seven catches for 112 yards through two games to lead the team, and he might need to have a huge game for the 49ers to pull off the upset.