Brent Jones: Magical season has been spectacular

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Brent Jones: Magical season has been spectacular

SAN FRANCISCO -- The excitement has returned to Bay Area, and nobody has sensed that more than a former 49ers standout with local roots."It's been tremendous, to be honest," said former 49ers tight end Brent Jones on Saturday, just hours before the team's divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.

"I probably have a different perspective than a lot of guys because I was born and raised here. So I know what it's been like for eight or nine years, to have the fall not be abuzz with talk about football and the 49ers. My girls were going nuts because I brought them to the Steelers game. Almost from the time they were 8, 10, until now, there has been no excitement around the team. So we've almost missed a whole generation."So to have the 49ers have this magical season has been spectacular. And, literally, you can't go anywhere without people talking about it, being excited about it. It's the store, it's Starbucks, it's the gas station. Everybody is saying, 'Can you believe Alex Smith?' Or, 'Jim Harbaugh!' How remarkable it is that he's turning it around in this one year. Everybody's talking, 'Can (Michael) Crabtree step up?' People are talking about our defense. There's so many components and storylines, it's just made this season a blast." The field at Candlestick Park is damp, but should be completely dry for game time. Saints coach Sean Payton walked out onto the field three hours before kickoff, and was pleased with the conditions. It should be a fast track.

49ers already spend more in free agency than a year ago

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49ers already spend more in 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.

It was the first significant move under new general manager John 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.