Baalke: Aldon Smith will be every-down player

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Baalke: Aldon Smith will be every-down player

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 49ers kept Aldon Smith's role simple during his rookie season.Smith was listed as an outside linebacker. But, in reality, did not play that position. Instead, the 49ers used Smith almost exclusively as a defensive end to rush the passer in nickel situations.This season, Smith can expect a large increase in his playing time. And he will be a true outside linebacker in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme.General manager Trent Baalke was asked Thursday morning whether Smith will be an every-down player in 2012."Huh," he said laughing. "Yeah. I think that's safe to say. Yes."RELATED: Aldon Smith 2011 game logs
Last season, veteran Parys Haralson played right outside linebacker on base downs to mostly defend the run. Smith replaced him at right defensive end when the 49ers went with a four-man line in passing situations.On the other side, Ahmad Brooks started at left outside linebacker and moved to left defensive end in pass-rush situations. Brooks is not signed for next season. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on March 13.RELATED: Ahmad Brooks' replacement is already on 49ers' rosterBaalke reflected back on the evaluation of Aldon Smith from a year ago at the NFL scouting combine. The 49ers selected Smith with the No. 7 overall pick, and he led all rookies with 14 sacks in the regular season."We were very high on Aldon from the first time we put on the film," Baalke said. "I can say that with no reservations. He was a guy who on film told us everything we needed to know about him physically. Then, it was just getting to know him better and finding out the wiring, the character, the makeup of the individual.RELATED: Q&A with 49ers GM Trent Baalke from NFL combine
"There are a lot of guys who have the physical talent to play and play well in the National Football League but, for whatever reason, they don't. And it usually comes back to their wiring."

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 13 games at left guard and the final three games at left tackle.

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.