49ers

NFL rumors: Washington never called Colin Kaepernick; no team has

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AP

NFL rumors: Washington never called Colin Kaepernick; no team has

Any discussions Washington had about Colin Kaepernick weren't with the quarterback himself.

ESPN's Adam Schefter cited a source in reporting Sunday that the team never reached out to Kaepernick before signing Josh Johnson, who hasn't thrown an NFL pass since 2011. Johnson will back up new starter Mark Sanchez, who hadn't played in the NFL since appearing in two games with the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.

Sanchez started last week for Washington, which has lost quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colt McCoy to broken legs in the past month.

[RELATED: Sherman says NFL teams now openly shunning Kap]

Coach Jay Gruden explained the team's decision not to sign Kaepernick by saying it would've had to change too much of the offense to suit the QB. However, as Schefter noted in his report, Washington runs a West Coast offense, as Kaepernick and Smith both did during their time with the 49ers.

A league source also told Schefter that no NFL team this season has reached out to Kaepernick, who hasn't played since 2016 in San Francisco after he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice. Even his former team, the 49ers, chose to continually sign and release Tom Savage as their No. 3 quarterback instead of bringing back Kaepernick.

Kaepernick is pursuing a collusion case against the NFL, in which he alleges league owners are conspiring to keep him out of the league because of his protest. Washington's latest roster moves only seem to lend credence to that case.

Wes Welker, now 49ers coach, doesn't subscribe to Bill Belichick's methods

Wes Welker, now 49ers coach, doesn't subscribe to Bill Belichick's methods

Bill Belichick's Patriot Way has delivered unmatched success over the past two decades, with the legendary coach and quarterback Tom Brady winning six Super Bowl and appearing in three more.

Former wide receiver Wes Welker, now the 49ers receivers coach, thrived as one of Brady's main weapons, catching 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in six seasons in New England. But Welker and the Patriots had a messy breakup, when Belichick chose not to attempt to re-sign the slot receiver when he hit the open market in 2013.

Belichick's way, while proven effective, can wear on players and Welker doesn't subscribe to the no-nonsense approach to coaching.

"I was still upset about it," Welker told WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" about his departure from the Pats. "I did want to be there, but there was part of me -- I just like enjoying the game. I like having fun, all those things. Coaching now, you learn a lot from the tactics and different things like that, but at the same time putting your own twist on it and understanding -- I tell my guys all the time: ‘As long as we’re giving great effort and we’re on top of our assignments we’re going to be good. Once it’s not where we need to be, that is when we have problems.’

“Kind of being there and there’s a big mental aspect to the game of being prepared, being this, being that, all those different things, but also enjoying yourself and having fun playing the game. I feel like you’re playing your best ball when you’re having fun and enjoying (yourself). I think there were some times where I didn’t really feel that at times for different reasons -- the guys that we had in the locker room, the camaraderie that we had was better some years than others. We had all these different things and when you’re one of the highest-paid players on the team you’re expected to deliver and like a highly paid player. There’s definitely pressure on that and all these different things is tough and it’s hard. Coach Belichick is hard on guys and tries to get the most out of him that he can.”

There's no question Belichick's my way or the highway attitude isn't for everyone. Even Brady chose to turn in his Patriot Way membership card this offseason, electing to finish his career in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers.

[RELATED: Raiders, 49ers go offense/defense in latest mock draft]

Welker, who began his coaching career with the Houston Texans before joining the 49ers in 2019, no doubt has taken some motivational tricks from Belichick while also crafting his own way that allows his players to be disciplined but also enjoy the journey.

What 49ers' options are with $15.7M left in cap space this offseason

What 49ers' options are with $15.7M left in cap space this offseason

Two weeks into the new league year, and with most of the team’s contracts tabulated, the 49ers rank 20th in the NFL in room under the league’s salary cap.

According to figures released by the NFL Players Association, the 49ers have 74 players under contract for the 2020 season and are $15,741,039 under the league’s $198.2 million salary cap.

Only the top 51 players count toward each team’s salary cap until the cutdown to 53 players for the start of the regular season.

The figure does not include the recently signed one-year contract for backup offensive lineman Ben Garland or free-agent agreements with lineman Tom Compton and wide receiver Travis Benjamin.

The 49ers carried over $7.86 million of unused cap room from last year’s cap into 2020.

The 49ers must leave cap space this offseason to sign their rookie class. The 49ers have seven scheduled draft picks, including Nos. 13 and 31 in the first round.

The club is also expected to pursue a contract extension with tight end George Kittle, who is in line to become the NFL’s highest-paid tight end -- by a lot.

[RELATEDGeorge Kittle's new contract will be 49ers' next priority after free agency]

Kittle has one season remaining on his original rookie contract. Earlier this offseason, the Cleveland Browns signed tight end Austin Hooper to a four-year, $42 million contract.

Here is the list of salary cap space for each team (players under contract in parenthesis):

Houston (64) $45,834,619
N.Y. Jets (65) $45,018,663
Cleveland (65) $45,347,227
L.A. Chargers (53) $39,675,066
Tennessee (58) $33,186,101
Washington (68) $32,145,235
Detroit (76) $31,893,750
Denver (76) $28,875,754
Philadelphia (65) $28,544,977
Indianapolis (69) $27,540,144
Dallas (62) $27,310,030
Jacksonville (61) $23,485,088
Miami (78) $23,359,352
Buffalo (67) $23,172,999
Chicago (61) $22,122,887
N.Y. Giants (65) $18,571,509
Carolina (62) $17,508,922
L.A. Rams (55) $16,883,884
Raiders (73) $15,825,066
49ers (74) $15,741,039

Tampa Bay (62) $15,512,767
Cincinnati (62) $15,181,484
Green Bay (63) $13,580,733
Minnesota (59) $13,172,243
Baltimore (57) $12,230,579
Seattle (64) $11,919,646
Arizona (63) $10,360,175
New Orleans (64) $9,914,157
Pittsburgh (69) $9,344,614
Atlanta (60) $7,456,988
New England (67) $1,568,575
Kansas City (62) $676,971

Source: NFL Players Association.