49ers

NFL rumors: 49ers 'discussed' signing QB Tom Brady in free agency

NFL rumors: 49ers 'discussed' signing QB Tom Brady in free agency

In the end, Tom Brady chose to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they weren't his first choice.

In a new in-depth column posted Sunday, ESPN's Seth Wickersham reported that Brady told the 49ers that they were his top choice and that the Niners did consider signing Brady even with Jimmy Garoppolo still on the roster.  

"Brady made it clear through various channels that the team of his childhood would be the team of his future, if the 49ers wanted," Wickersham wrote. "The 49ers discussed it, but in the end, the team was committed to Jimmy Garoppolo."

Whispers about Brady and the 49ers had grown louder and louder over the last month. Rumors that coach Kyle Shanahan has doubts about Garoppolo's ceiling and decision-making seeped out from someone's camp, and the possibility of the 49ers signing Brady and trading Garoppolo back to the New England Patriots even arose. 

Brady coming back home to lead the franchise he grew up rooting for to a Super Bowl title was a storybook ending fit for a Disney movie. The six-time Super Bowl legend finishing his career wearing the same colors as the player he idolized and supplanted as the GOAT would have been the ideal scenario for the legendary quarterback. 

Of course, Brady wanted it. The 49ers, fresh off a loss in Super Bowl LIV, are stocked with a win-now roster and an offensive guru as a head coach. There's no doubt, whether the 49ers will admit it or not, that they discussed signing the 42-year-old quarterback. 

He's Tom freaking Brady. 

It's not a knock on Garoppolo to think about signing the greatest of all time. Garoppolo, after all, has seen Brady's legend up close and personal when he served as his backup with the Patriots. 

Garoppolo was a solid quarterback in his first full year as a starter. He shook off the rust from his ACL recovery and effectively piloted Shanahan's offense as the team marched to the Super Bowl. He took too much heat at times and made winning plays than his detractors will admit.

But the awful interception became too frequent of an occurrence for Garoppolo. And while he played well for the middle part of the 49ers' Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, he was unable to make the winning throw when the game was on the line, overthrowing a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders on what could have been the game-winning touchdown. A title-clinching touchdown. 

Would Brady have made the plays to bring home the Lombardi Trophy as he has done six times before? It seems likely. It's what he does. If the 49ers get back to the Super Bowl, can they rely on Garoppolo to finish the job? Perhaps we'll find out. 

These are fair questions to ask. Unless you're Brady's Patriots, championship windows open and close in the blink of an eye. If you have questions about whether or not your quarterback can take you all the way, you should survey your options. 

If Brady is available and he wants to come, you have to discuss the scenario. 

[RELATED: Report: Belichick offering Brady to 49ers led QB to leave]

The 49ers chose to stick behind Garoppolo, so Brady took his six rings to Tampa Bay, where next year's Super Bowl is set to be played. He'll team up with two Pro Bowl receivers and an offensive genius at head coach in Bruce Arians, looking to bring relevance to one of the NFL's most irrelevant franchises.  

Time will tell if the 49ers made the right choice. 

49ers UDFAs Salvon Ahmed, JaMycal Hasty making most of odd offseason

49ers UDFAs Salvon Ahmed, JaMycal Hasty making most of odd offseason

Salvon Ahmed and JaMycal Hasty were always going to face an uphill battle to make the 49ers' roster, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made the hill a little steeper.

Under normal circumstances, the 49ers' undrafted free agents would have a chance to make a good first impression on the field at rookie minicamp. That's how Matt Breida won his roster spot in 2017. But instead, Hasty and Ahmed spend four hours on Zoom meetings with their position group and coaches, trying to learn everything about the 49ers' offense. The first two hours are spent with the entire group, while the final two hours are just Ahmed, Hasty and undrafted fullback Josh Hokit with assistant coach Bobby Turner.

While it's been unusual, the rookies think it's been a productive start to their NFL careers.

“You don’t have to worry about practices, you don’t have to worry about anything but that one, four-hour window to meet,” Hasty told The Athletic's Matt Barrows. “So there are a lot of things you can cover. There’s a ton of information to learn and pick up on. I mean, the rookies help each other out, the vets bring us along. It’s been a great experience, man.”

The 49ers have built a strong culture and that plays a big role in helping new blood catch up to the rest of the group.

“I think it’s showing what it’d be like even if we were there,” Ahmed told The Athletic. “And I think the culture is strong enough to show through our Zoom meetings. I think how we’re acting now is definitely how everyone would act if we were at the facility.”

The 49ers are likely to carry five running backs in total between the active roster and practice squad. Pencil in Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for two of those spots. Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson, Ahmed and Hasty will have to battle for the final three spots, with McKinnon and Wilson likely having a leg up.

The final roster spot likely will come down to a position battle between Ahmed and Hasty.

Ahmed, 5-foot-11, 197-pounds, never became the game-breaking back he was projected to be when he committed to Washington out of high school. He has quick feet and can be explosive, but he needs to work on his vision and decisiveness to stick in the NFL.

As for Hasty, the Baylor product was misused during his time in Waco, Texas. He's an elite athlete who profiles as a third-down back who can uncover out of the backfield and make plays in the passing game. He's a tough, hard-nosed back who has the explosiveness to fit well in the 49ers' zone-rushing scheme. He's an electric, change-of-pace back who has the potential to morph into a dynamic weapon for coach Kyle Shanahan.

[RELATED: Nine 49ers facing make-or-break season in 2020]

The 49ers might be able to hold a full-squad minicamp in June if Governor Gavin Newsom allows it. That will be the first time Ahmed and Hasty will take the field as 49ers. They must make the most of every opportunity in order to make the roster.

They've already been doing that in the Zoom classroom. The field world comes next.

NFL Network's Adam Rank goes all-in on 49ers after bad 2019 prediction

NFL Network's Adam Rank goes all-in on 49ers after bad 2019 prediction

Not many would have expected the success the 49ers gave us last season. Well, one guy in particular really didn't expect it.

NFL Network analyst Adam Rank might be the main person to eat his words following his preseason prediction that the 49ers would go 3-13 went viral. But he has redeemed himself. 

Kyle Shanahan's team obviously was more successful than that, going 13-3 in the regular season and leading by 10 points in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV before collapsing against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rank heard it all from 49ers fans, even admitting he was an idiot for saying such a thing

Rank wrote Tuesday on NFL.com that not only are the 49ers becoming one of the league’s “model organizations,” but also that walking away from Miami without a ring didn’t mean they were out of the fight -- not even a little bit.

The 49ers have everything going for them in 2020 for another deep run. They'll bring back tight end George Kittle, who looks to be the highest-paid at the position in NFL history. Jimmy Garoppolo has a Super Bowl appearance as a starter under his belt. Nick Bosa looks to have another successful season and we get to see the freakishly athletic ability of rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

That’s just what’s happening on the field.

Rank praised the front office, led by general manager John Lynch, for part of that success as well. 

Rank knows that any team could face a post-championship hangover that not even the strongest of Gatorade could cure. Their expectations are high, but this team is the real deal -- and naturally, they’ll have a target on their backs. But Rank is done doubting -- but said he understands if people don’t believe him.

[RELATED: Richard Sherman wants 49ers detractors to keep doubting them]

“I know me praising the 49ers will make the fans uneasy,” Rank told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday. “Like whenever Ric Flair would cozy up to Sting. And as much as you'd like me to discredit them again, we don't have to resort to such tricks because this is a very good team. Though I don't blame you if you don't trust me.”

He said it, he’s a believer. Now, let’s give the guy a break.