49ers key matchup No. 2: Staley vs. Pierre-Paul

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49ers key matchup No. 2: Staley vs. Pierre-Paul

This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Giants matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX-TV), at Candlestick Park.

Matchup No. 3: Justin Smith vs. Kevin Boothe
49ers LT Joe Staley vs. Giants RDE Jason Pierre-PaulTale of the tape
Staley (74): 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, sixth season, Central Michigan
Pierre-Paul (90): 6-foot-5, 278 pounds, third season, South FloridaThe key to the New York Giants' defense is their ability to pressure the quarterback with a four-man rush. And their four-man rush is unlike any other in the NFL."Sometimes they'll get into sets where they have four defensive ends in there," 49ers guard Alex Boone said. "And that makes it kind of interesting. Normally, you'll have two bigger guys in the middle. They can put four defensive ends down and pin their ears back and go straight ahead."Left tackle Joe Staley figures to have the biggest challenge ahead of him. He will alternately face challenges from two dangerous pass-rushers. Staley will mostly be up against first-team All-Pro Jason Pierre-Paul, who recorded 16.5 sacks last season. Staley will also see plenty of snaps against two-time Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora. Staley has already gone up against Green Bay's Clay Matthews and Minnesota's Jared Allen this season, so he is no stranger to facing challenges. Staley has surrendered five sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, but still grades out as the No. 2 left tackle in the NFL through five games. His strength has been superior run-blocking.The 49ers will try to slow down the Giants' pass rush with a strong running game on Sunday. But, even in that phase, Staley will have his hands full against Pierre-Paul."Jason Pierre-Paul is a rare player and he has incredibly great length, strength, and for a man his size and length, he can bend extremely well," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "So he can play with leverage. A lot of times, guys that big can't bend necessarily and play low."Pierre-Paul is a force against the run and against the pass."The 49ers are coming off a game in which they rolled up 621 yards of total offense in a 45-3 rout of the Buffalo Bills. It was the first game that quarterback Alex Smith was not sacked this season. It'll be a much-bigger chore to keep Smith's jersey clean on Sunday.
Staley and the Pierre-PaulUmenyiora combination played to a virtual draw in two games last season. Staley's initial protection was typically solid, but Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul combined for 1.5 sacks on plays in which Smith held the ball longer than designed.

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”

It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 12 games at left guard, two games at left tackle and the final two games at center.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.

 

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.