Why Rodney Harrison gained more respect for 49ers after loss vs. Ravens

Why Rodney Harrison gained more respect for 49ers after loss vs. Ravens

Sunday afternoon gave America a glimpse of a potential Super Bowl matchup as the Ravens and 49ers duked it out on a rain-soaked field in Baltimore.

Coming off a blowout win over the Packers at home, San Francisco played smash-mouth football and lost 20-17 on a game-winning field goal from Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.

Despite the loss, NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison explained why he was impressed by San Francisco even after suffering its second defeat of the season.

“I actually gained more respect for San Francisco,” Harrison said. “Having to go on the road in tough conditions and play. They ran the ball extremely well.

“To play as physical as they played, they competed, I wouldn’t want to play them.”

It doesn’t get much easier next week, as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will try to lead the 49ers to a road win over one of the NFC’s top teams in New Orleans.

However, the conditions clearly affected both offenses and had a major impact on the game, something that hopefully wouldn’t be the case should these two teams match up again in Miami this February at Super Bowl LIV.

[RELATED: 49ers open as underdogs for Week 14 showdown vs. Saints]

“I’d love to see that game though without weather being an issue, on a neutral site,” NBC Sports NFL analyst Mike Florio said. “To really get a feel for who the better team is, because I do think that the advantage did kind of swing toward Baltimore given the conditions.”

After seeing these two teams battle it out on Sunday, the NFL would be lucky to get a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII come early February.

How much it would cost 49ers to keep Arik Armstead next year on franchise tag


How much it would cost 49ers to keep Arik Armstead next year on franchise tag

The 49ers now have a good idea 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 in 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.

As much as the 49ers would like to retain Armstead, they 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 contact 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 be 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 original 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.


How 49ers trading for Emmanuel Sanders has helped rookie Deebo Samuel

How 49ers trading for Emmanuel Sanders has helped rookie Deebo Samuel

The 49ers' offense has gone to a whole new level since acquiring veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Broncos for two future draft picks. 

Sanders came to San Francisco on Oct. 22, five days before the 49ers' Week 8 matchup against the Panthers. He caught a touchdown in his team debut, and the 49ers scored 51 points. Not a bad start. 

Since adding Sanders to the offense, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has completed 70.4 percent of his pass attempts for 1,931 yards, 18 passing touchdowns and only five interceptions the last seven games. It's safe to say the QB enjoys having a sure-handed receiver. Sanders has 28 receptions for 407 yards receiving and three touchdowns. 

While Garoppolo and Sanders have found an instant connection, the trade clearly benefitted a 49ers rookie, too. Deebo Samuel has seen his numbers soar in recent weeks. 

Samuel ranks 10th in the NFL in receptions (32) since the trade and ninth in yards (472). He also has scored three touchdowns -- two receiving and one rushing. 

The 49ers' second-round pick from last April's draft is just one of four rookie wideouts to have at least 600 receiving yards. He has 640 on the year, but his only two games with over 100 yards receiving have come after the Sanders trade. 

Coach Kyle Shanahan finally has a trio of receivers he can trust in Sanders, Samuel and second-year pro Kendrick Bourne. With Sanders on board, Samuel now is a dangerous No. 2 who teams sometimes forget about, but have to fear. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G becomes first 49ers QB to win POTW since 2012]

Despite the 49ers adding Sanders, Samuel has seen his targets go up the last seven weeks. Samuel was averaging 4.4 targets per game before the trade, and now is seeing an average of 6.4 targets per game. 

The rookie receiver surely is taking notes watching the veteran, and the two have formed a duo that opposing teams can't take lightly.