Don't crown Moss top receiver yet

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Don't crown Moss top receiver yet

Programming note: Ann Killion appears on the Chronicle Live Blitz at 5 & 11 p.m. with KNBR Morning show host Brian Murphy and columnist Lowell Cohn -- tonight at 5 & 11 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
Tonight on the Chronicle Live Blitz, one of the topics I will be discussing with my esteemed panel members is the validity of this statement:Randy Moss is the 49ers' best wide receiver.This topic popped into the early July conversation because Rich Gannon said on SiriusXM that Jim Harbaugh had told him, Gannon, that Moss is our best receiver right now.RELATED: Gannon: Harbaugh says Randy Moss 'our best receiver'
Harbaugh says a lot of preposterous, over-the-top things, from describing himself as having a humble heart to insisting that he never was flirting with Peyton Manning. Anointing Randy Moss the teams best receiver in July is one more to add to the list.Not to give away the content of the fabulous Chronicle Live show, but Ill give you a preview of my answer: Are you kidding me?Of course, on paper Moss is the 49ers best receiver. He has Hall of Fame credentials. But to say that hes the best receiver on the team right now is an insult to players like Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham. Everyone is fabulous in June and July. But Moss has not played a meaningful down of NFL football since January 2, 2011. He has not scored a touchdown since a week before the Giants won the World Series.Moss hasnt played since the 2010 season. And in that he played sparingly, bouncing between three NFL teams. He was both a weird pain-in-the-butt (ripping the caterers in Minnesota) and a malcontent (demanding a trade in New England and stabbing Brad Childress in the back). But mostly he was agonizingly unproductive. The word in Tennessee was that Jeff Fisher didnt mind having him around except that Moss couldnt get any separation. That was 18 months ago.The Moss saga reminds me of the Manny Ramirez story we just witnessed with the As. It was a no-risk signing if you dont care about credibility. On paper, Ramirez was by far the most accomplished player at spring training. Of course there were great expectations.But they never materialized. The expectations fizzled. The legend basically couldnt play any more. And the risk would become high-risk if the team tried to force him onto the roster.Moss is great when everything is going well. When hes the star and catching tons of balls and the team is winning. Thats what happened in New England in 2007. He was Mr. Everything. But would Bill Belichick really get rid of a player that he thought could still play, just a few games into the 2010 season?When things arent going well, Moss is terrible. He complains. He quits. He makes life for coaches and coordinators miserable. We witnessed it first hand here in the Bay Area when Moss was with the Raiders.Who knows what its going to be like with the 49ers and their aging, mercurial receiver. Will Alex Smith be able to feed Moss enough passes to keep him happy? What about the other receivers? What about the fact that the 49ers are really a run-first, defense-reliant team? How long might it take before the malcontent Moss appears? And, more importantly, can the 35-year old actually still be productive on the field, after a prolonged absence?Is Moss the 49ers best receiver? Sure. On paper. In early July.Thats not where the NFL is played.

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”

 

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

PHOENIX – John Lynch’s draft preparation as a first-year NFL general manager prompted him to make a phone call Monday to Jim Harbaugh.

“I talked to an old 49ers coach yesterday,” Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings. “He was great. He has a lot of players who are draftable. (He) gave me a lot of great information, and it was entertaining, as it always is with Jim.

“He just said, ‘Fired up for you, man,’ then we started talking about his players. He had to go to a meeting and I had to go to a meeting, so it was quick.”

Before Lynch could quiz Harbaugh about some of the Wolverines’ draft-eligible prospects, Harbaugh had a brief chance to catch up with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

“It was fun because right when we called, his brother was right there,” Lynch said.

“So John came over and before I could get on the phone, John and Jim were talking. I said, ‘Hey, you’re cutting into my time, give me the phone.’ We had a good time.”

Michigan’s top prospects are safety Jabrill Peppers, who won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most-versatile player, and edge rusher Taco Charlton.

Lynch said he does not ask “lazy questions” of any college coach about his former players. Instead, he’s looking at specifics, such as what position a player is better suited to play at the NFL level.

Harbaugh, who was let go after the 49ers' 8-8 season of 2014, enters his third season at his alma mater after two seasons with 10-3 records.