49ers

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.

49ers sign top pick Solomon Thomas during first practice

49ers sign top pick Solomon Thomas during first practice

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers completed contract negotiations with their final unsigned draft pick as the team was going through warm-ups for the first practice of training camp.

Former Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 3 overall pick, signed Friday and was expected to join his teammates later in the day.

The sides agreed to the mandatory four-year contract worth more than $28 million, including a signing bonus of approximately $18.6 million. The deal is expected to be fully guaranteed.

The 49ers also have an option for the fifth season (2021) that must be exercised months after the 2019 season.

Thomas was unable to participate in full-squad workouts during the offseason due to Stanford’s late class schedule. NFL rules prohibit a rookie from attending the offseason program until his school’s classes have concluded for the spring session.

The 49ers – and the vast majority of NFL teams – have not had a contract stalemate with a rookie since the new collective bargaining agreement went into effect in 2011.

The organization had similar timing with a first-round pick from last year. Guard Joshua Garnett, also from Stanford, signed with the 49ers on the evening before players were scheduled to report to training camp.

Around the NFL, there has been only one notable contract disagreement that prevented a draft pick from reporting to camp in a timely fashion. Defensive lineman Joey Bosa, whom the Chargers selected with the No. 3 pick last year, sat out a month of training camp due to a disagreement over how his bonus would be distributed. Bosa and Thomas are both represented by the agent firm of Creative Artists Agency.

Ward injures hamstring under team supervision, placed on PUP

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Ward injures hamstring under team supervision, placed on PUP

SANTA CLARA – Safety Jimmie Ward was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to open training camp with a hamstring injury, the 49ers announced Friday morning.

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stated on Thursday that all of their players were healthy and no players would be headed to PUP or the non-football injury list.

But that was before the 49ers were scheduled to have their conditioning test. Ward sustained the injury on Thursday during the team's conditioning test. The team lists him as "week to week."

He can be activated to begin practice at any time. Ward is also eligible to begin the regular season on the PUP list. Any player who opens the regular season on PUP is ineligible for the first six weeks of the season.

Ward is expected to be one of the key members of the 49ers' defense from the free safety position. His role is dubbed "The Eraser," fellow safety Eric Reid said, because of his role as a playmaker in the secondary. However, one of the major questions about Ward is his ability to remain healthy through the rigors of an NFL season.

Ward missed eight games as a rookie due to a foot injury. Last year, he sat out five games due to a shoulder injury.