49ers

Why Joe Montana believes Patriots letting Tom Brady walk was 'mistake'

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USATSI

Why Joe Montana believes Patriots letting Tom Brady walk was 'mistake'

Tom Brady, like his idol Joe Montana, will end his illustrious NFL career with a different team than the one he started with.

Brady, nearly 27 years after Montana was traded from the 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs, left the New England Patriots and signed a two-year contract with Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Montana told USA Today that he doesn't know who's at fault, but the Pro Football Hall of Famer felt "somebody made a mistake" letting the quarterback leave.

“I think when you look at the whole situation, you try to figure out how you want to get away from things that are there,” Montana told USA Today's Jarrett Bell. “I had a different story, where they had made a decision. He, obviously, they never would have gotten rid of. I still don’t understand how New England let him get away. I don’t understand that.”

The 49ers traded Montana in April 1993 after he missed all but one game during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. An elbow injury knocked Montana out of the lineup, and Steve Young seized the starting role during Montana's absence. Montana told the 49ers he wanted out of San Francisco after then-coach George Seifert named Young the starter heading into 1993, agreeing to a deal with the Chiefs after the 49ers gave him permission to negotiate with other teams.

The Patriots have a young QB in Jarrett Stidham, but they don't have an obvious successor to Brady like the 49ers did to Montana with Young. Montana's last season with the 49ers coincided with Young's first MVP award, while Stidham has thrown four regular-season passes. Yet New England's relationship with Brady reportedly was well past its breaking point, and the Patriots seemingly weren't willing to match the price the Bucs ultimately paid.

That's something Montana could relate to.

“They say it and it comes up all the time, but it becomes a business," Montana told Bell. "At some point, it’s business. That’s why I had long talks with (Hall of Fame former 49ers coach) Bill (Walsh) about our relationship, after he retired. The relationship that happens, everybody makes it look like there’s friction, but in the end, he goes, ‘I just had to keep my distance to a certain point from you because I can’t become your best friend. Because I have to make a decision on you at some point.’ Although Bill didn’t make the decision, and I don’t think he would have made the same one that was made.”

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Montana, wearing No. 19 rather than the No. 16 he made iconic with the 49ers, led the Chiefs to back-to-back playoff appearances -- including an AFC Championship Game -- in his final two seasons. The 63-year-old looked back on his change of scenery as rejuvenating, and he expects the same will be true of Brady.

“It actually brings a new excitement to you, to a certain degree," Montana said. "Because it’s not going to be the same-ol', same-ol' going into the same locker room that you’ve been going into for so many years, seeing the same people over and over. He doesn’t need a fresh start, but it gives you a great feeling inside, looking forward to trying to help the team move forward. And everybody believes in him, looking forward to watching him play.”

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

NFL rumors: Rams trading Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round draft pick

The Los Angeles Rams' rebuild continues.

After releasing former All-Pros Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews during free agency, the Rams continued their roster overhaul by reportedly agreeing to send wideout Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for several draft picks, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, citing a source.

LA has been dealing with salary cap issues, trying to find money to pay franchise quarterback Jared Goff, all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the other 49 players needed to fill out an NFL roster.

The team still ends up taking a dead cap hit on Cooks in 2020, but at least removes the remaining four years of his deal from the books.

With the departure of offensive weapons Gurley and Cooks along with Matthews’ defensive presence, it will be a very different LA attack the next time the team takes on the 49ers.

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After four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks struggled through injuries and inconsistency on his way to just 583 receiving yards in 14 games during the 2019 season.

ProFootballTalk reported Thursday that the team already took a financial hit by holding onto Cooks this far into his contract.

With the 49ers aiming to defend their title as NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks remaining strong and the Arizona Cardinals fleecing Bill O’Brien and those head-scratching Texans for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this spring, there’s a clear new team at the bottom of the NFC West.

If we end up getting an NFL season in 2020, expect the division’s doormat to be in Tinseltown.

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

The NFL draft demonstrates to fans just how bold their team’s general managers can be.

Those willing to take a risk and try to move up in the first round sacrifice significant draft capital in exchange for a chance at a home run.

The 49ers happen to be one of those select few teams possessing multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, giving GM John Lynch an opportunity to make a big splash.

One potential way Lynch could extend San Francisco’s championship window is by fortifying the secondary with Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, writes Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher.

In this trade, the 49ers make the bold jump up to secure the former Ohio State Buckeye. But with the 49ers lacking in trade capital this year, they could send picks No. 13, No. 31 and another 2021 third-round selection. 

The 49ers have a win-now roster and could use a stud cover man to pair with Richard Sherman. Okudah is one of the best players in the draft and would give the team another versatile corner who could be used in both man and zone coverage. 

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Okudah is the consensus top defensive back in this year’s draft, combining length to disrupt the passing game with top-line speed, putting up a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Niners came up just short of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, despite holding dynamic gunslinger Patrick Mahomes to just 286 yards passing and the lowest postseason quarterback rating of his career.

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Okudah could provide an immediate impact in the secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman, but should the team sacrifice both of its first-round draft picks to fortify a position that is lower on the list of needs for Lynch’s roster?

Many fans likely rather would see the team grab one of this year's seemingly endless crop of talented wide receivers at No. 13 and then waiting and nabbing a cornerback later like TCU product Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall.

We’ll find out just how bold this 49ers' front office wants to be in exactly two week’s time.