49ers

Trent Brown opens up about why trade from 49ers 'helped me out a lot'

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MATT MAIOCCO

Trent Brown opens up about why trade from 49ers 'helped me out a lot'

ATLANTA – It was clear a year ago that offensive tackle Trent Brown did not have a future with the 49ers.

Brown appeared in 10 games in 2017 before opting for season-ending shoulder surgery. When he returned for the 49ers’ offseason program, he felt something was different in Santa Clara.

“I kind of knew something was up,” Brown told NBC Sports Bay Area. “When I went back and reported for OTAs, the vibe was off. It wasn’t the same. It could’ve been me. It could’ve been the facility. It just didn’t feel the same as before I got hurt.”

The 49ers selected offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall draft pick. Hours later, Brown was on a plane to his new team, the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick acquired Brown, who was entering his contract year, and a fifth-round draft pick in a trade with the 49ers for a third-round selection. (The 49ers selected cornerback Tarvarius Moore with the pick acquired from the Patriots.)

Things could not have worked out much better for Brown, who has protected Tom Brady’s blind side for every game this season. Brown will be a key figure in Super Bowl 53. Then, he is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March and is likely to cash in with a big-money contract.

“I think we’re all pleased that he’s been as good as he has,” Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia said of Brown. “The guy has a great skill set and I know he cares. He doesn’t like to mess up. We’re all pleased. He’s been our left tackle the whole season. We’ve needed him bad to come through, and he has come through. And we need him to come through one more game.”

Brown was a seventh-round selection of the 49ers in 2015. He started 16 games in his second season. Listed at 6-foot-8, 380 pounds, Brown is incredibly nimble and athletic for his size. But there were questions during his time with the 49ers about his commitment and work ethic.

Team sources say Brown did not watch film and regularly missed assignments due to his lack of preparation.

“That was the word of mouth or whatever," Brown said. "Even before I got drafted, people said I don’t work hard. I’m just a quiet guy. I’m not a rah-rah guy. I show up to work. I’m not here to make friends or anything like that. I’m doing the same thing here that I’ve been doing. I feel like if it’s good enough for this type of organization, it should be good enough anywhere.”

Brown admits that he does not spend a lot of time watching film, but he said he is more concerned about honing his craft and making the opposition adjust to him.

“I feel like I don’t need to watch film,” he said. “I play my game and use the techniques my coaches teach me and be able to work on daily. And people have to come play Trent Brown.”

Brown played for three different head coaches in his three seasons with the 49ers. Upon his arrival in New England, it was made clear he was joining an organization with a different standard.

“He had to understand the culture,” Scarnecchia said. “There were some tough times out there on the practice field.

“There are ways we want things done. We want guys to practice in a certain manner. We want guys to prepare in a certain manner, and that can’t be compromised. I think he ultimately got the message. And I think ultimately Trent wants to be a good player. So I think he understands if he does things the way we want them done, he has a chance to be a better player. That’s served him well so far.”

Brown said his final season was cut short with the 49ers after noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews advised him to undergo surgery with approximately a month left in the season so he could get a head start on his rehabilitation. Brown had labrum tears in the front and back of his right shoulder. He said the 49ers’ midseason acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo made him want to concentrate on being ready to go for the 2018 season.

“We had a quarterback, so that was my whole point in not finishing last season. I needed surgery. That’s what Dr. Andrews said. I was risking my career if I’d kept going,” Brown said.

“I feel like I have no problem playing through injuries and pain. But the smart thing to do at that point, I felt like, was to get healthy for the next year, because at that point, we were only playing for pride. There was no way we were going to the playoffs.”

Brown said he derives no satisfaction from the 49ers’ struggle last season. He said he wishes he could be playing against his former team – not the Los Angeles Rams – in the Super Bowl.

Brown realizes he is fortunate to land in such a great situation after the 49ers traded him to clear the way for McGlinchey to start at right tackle as a rookie.

“I just feel like me coming here with all the bull crap that’s been said about me and my name has been slandered, me coming here and shattering all those bad things that have been said about me, I think that’s helped me out a lot,” he said.

What 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has changed to go on recent hot streak

What 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has changed to go on recent hot streak

SANTA CLARA -- On his recent hot streak, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is giving the 49ers the best of both worlds.

Through his first seven games of the season, Garoppolo threw nine touchdown passes but also had seven interceptions. In the past six games, Garoppolo has tossed 16 touchdown throws while getting picked off just four times.

“He’s continued to make big throws and stuff, but he’s obviously eliminated some of the turnovers, which I think is huge,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday. “Sometimes when guys make a bunch of big plays and turnovers, the only way to get them to eliminate the turnovers is to stop trying to make those big plays. I don’t think Jimmy has done that.

“He’s continued to make big plays, maybe even made more of them, and the turnovers have gone way down, which has been a huge step in the right direction.”

Chalk it up to experience.

Garoppolo had never before started more than five games in any of his first five NFL seasons. This season, he has remained healthy through 13 games – and he is no longer stuck at No. 2 on the depth chart behind one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

“Confidence comes with that, being able to do it week-in and week-out,” said Garoppolo, who spent 3 1/2 seasons as Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots prior to the trade that sent him to the 49ers in the middle of the 2017 season.

“As a quarterback, that’s what you want to do. You want to be out there for the team week after week. That’s part of your job. I wouldn’t say it’s anything special. It just gives you more confidence, though.”

Garoppolo seemingly has learned from his mistakes without over-correcting and becoming too cautious or tentative.

“The more you’re out there and the more situations you go through, good or bad,” Shanahan said. “It’s how are you going to react to them. What are you going to learn from them? Some people, the more they are out there, the more nervous they get and they go into a shell and just get worse.

“Jimmy, no matter whether a good thing or a bad thing happens to him, I feel it’s made him better each week. He learns from it, he doesn’t overanalyze it and freak out about it. He just learns from it, files it in the bank and then goes to the next week and tries to keep stacking them up.”

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo is first 49ers QB to win Player of the Week since 2012]

Garoppolo said it took him a while to feel comfortable after his 2018 season ended in Week 3 after sustaining a torn left ACL in Kansas City.

“Taking a year off with the ACL and everything, takes a little while to get back into it,” he said.

He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday after his 349-yard, four-touchdown performance in a 48-46 victory over the New Orleans Saints. He said he has done nothing extraordinary during his hot streak, which has included a 124.4 passer rating over the past four games.

“It’s just going through the game plan, knowing where your outs are, knowing your hots, things like that, and taking what the defense gives you,” he said. “I don’t think it’s doing anything special or anyone making a crazy play. It’s just playing within the offense and following your rules.”

49ers get better idea of cost to retain Arik Armstead on franchise tag

49ers get better idea of cost to retain Arik Armstead on franchise tag

The 49ers now have a good idea of what it would cost to place the franchise tag on defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

Here’s a hint: It won’t be cheap.

Armstead is enjoying his breakout season along the 49ers’ defensive line. After registering nine sacks over his first four NFL seasons, Armstead this season has compiled a team-leading 10 sacks in 13 games.

The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option a year ago and are paying him $9.046 million this season. But his price tag will rise significantly next season.

Joel Corry, a former NFL player agent and current salary-cap expert for CBSSports.com, projects the franchise tag for defensive ends to be $17.95 million for the 2020 season.

A player qualifies at a specific position based on where he played more snaps. Armstead has played more snaps at defensive end than defensive tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: 49ers fear nose tackle Jones out for year with ankle injury]

As much as the 49ers would like to retain Armstead, the team also wants to save as much cap space as possible to be able to sign such players as DeForest Buckner and George Kittle to multi-year contract extensions in the near future.

Buckner is expected to receive approximately $14 million in salary next season on the fifth-year option. Kittle is in line for a big new contract when his deal is up after the 2020 season.

NFL teams were informed at a league meeting this week that the 2020 salary cap is projected to jump from $196.8 million to $201.2 million. Corry came up with his numbers for the franchise and transition tags based on a projection of $200 million for the 2020 salary cap.

In 2020, teams are allowed to use both the franchise and transition tags on players scheduled to be free agents in the spring, Corry explains.

The non-exclusive franchise tag means that another team can sign a tagged player to a contract, but the original team has five days to match the contract terms. If that team does not match, it would receive two first-round draft picks as compensation. The exclusive franchise tag comes at a higher salary and prevents other teams from negotiating with the player.

A transition tag gives the incumbent team only the right to match a contract. There is no compensation for a team that chooses not to match an offer sheet for a player who is tagged as a transition player.

Teams are allowed to name their franchise and transition players beginning Feb. 25 through March 10.