49ers

Hue Jackson: Browns 'not in the mood' to sign Kaepernick

Hue Jackson: Browns 'not in the mood' to sign Kaepernick

PHOENIX – Cleveland coach Hue Jackson, whose team reportedly had some level of interest in Colin Kaepernick a year ago, has not seriously considered adding the free-agent quarterback to his weak quarterback position this offseason.

“We haven’t done any homework for this year,” Jackson said Tuesday morning at the NFL owners meetings. “My homework would’ve been for 2011 on Colin. We haven’t done much more since then, to be very honest with you. So, because, there are some other guys we’re chasing.

“It doesn’t mean that we won’t go back and re-visit him. It all depends on how everything shakes out over the next several weeks.”

Kaepernick, who entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2011, remains unsigned three weeks after teams were allowed to begin discussions with free agents. The 49ers have not shown any interest in re-signing Kaepernick, who threw 16 touchdowns with four interceptions for a passer rating of 90.7 in 11 starts in 2016.

The 49ers gave Kaepernick permission a year ago to seek a trade. The Denver Broncos and Browns were the teams most closely connected with Kaepernick.

“It didn’t get really that deep,” Jackson said. “I know everybody was reporting that we were in it. I don’t think it was as deep as people said it was. It was always kind of known that he was not leaving. So your work has to be done when you know there’s a legitimate opportunity for things to happen. What I know of Colin is what I know. I have not studied him much since the time when he was coming out.”

The Broncos and 49ers had the framework of a deal worked out, but the trade hit a dead end when Kaepernick, the Broncos and the 49ers could not settle issues surrounding the guaranteed money on Kaepernick’s contract.

The 49ers and Kaepernick renegotiated his contract in October, which enabled Kaepernick to opt out of his deal and become a free agent this month.

The lack of apparent interest in Kaepernick around the NFL appears to have multiple layers. Some teams are not interested because they have no need at quarterback. Some teams do not run offensive systems that would appear to suit Kaepernick. And other teams might not be interested in adding a player who created a controversy last season with his decision to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality in the United States.

When asked if he considers the off-the-field aspect associated with Kaepernick, Jackson answered, “I think we will consider it if that was somebody that we were going to target. We’re just not in that mood right now.”

Reuben Foster does not wait long to show he can be special for 49ers

Reuben Foster does not wait long to show he can be special for 49ers

SANTA CLARA – There is something different about Reuben Foster.

It is similar to when Patrick Willis stepped on the practice field with the 49ers for training camp in 2007. He started out as a backup and had to earn his way onto the field.

All it took was two exhibition games. Brandon Moore was out of the starting lineup. Patrick Willis was in, and seven consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl followed.

Foster is not being handed a starting job with the 49ers. In fact, he faces a more difficult challenge to break into the starting lineup.

In front of Foster is veteran Malcolm Smith at the weakside linebacker spot. Eventually, Foster’s role in the 49ers’ defense will be the middle linebacker spot, where NaVorro Bowman is entrenched as the starter.

But it’s only a matter of time until Foster asserts himself as an every-down player.

Foster will have to earn his way into the starting lineup. He will have to earn respect with how he practices and plays. That was apparent on Thursday when Bowman was asked whether he watched Foster in college. Bowman gave a tepid review of Foster.

That’s understandable. After all, Foster had not practiced with the team until Friday. He was held out practices during the offseason program as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery. It took Bowman a full year before he won his starting job. Bowman started one game as a rookie before establishing himself as a starter and an All-Pro performer the next season.

Bowman is not going to lavish praise on a player who had never made it through an NFL practice – even someone who was the most-accomplished collegiate player on the 49ers’ roster.

Foster received medical clearance on Wednesday to take part on Day 1 of practice when the 49ers opened training camp on Friday. It took almost no time for him to stand out.

Foster intercepted a pass from fellow rookie C.J. Beathard early in Friday’s practice. Then, quite a scene followed. Foster returned it into the end zone through a maze of players -- many of whom were standing behind the line of scrimmage and not even involved in the play.

In his three seasons at Alabama, Foster never intercepted a pass. He was known for his toughness and violent sideline-to-sideline tackling ability.

“It was good to get him out there, get him on the field,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I know he’s been chomping at the bit for a while now. It was good to see him go through it full speed, deal with getting aligned right and stuff. I think he got an interception out there today, which was good for him. It was a good first day.”

Foster could quickly turn into the most-exciting player on a team that is severely lacking in star quality. The 49ers targeted him early in the draft process as a player they wanted. Then, he had to check out physically and mentally for the team to determine when he was a person they wanted, too. When he visited the 49ers before the draft, general manager John Lynch became even more intrigued.

“He’s got an excitement that’s infectious,” Lynch said. “He’s an alpha dog. He wants to lead. He’s ready, he’s eager and we are certainly excited to watch him play.”

The 49ers did not believe his shoulder was a major issue. According to national reports, some teams removed him from their draft boards over concerns about his health. The 49ers would have taken him with the No. 3 pick in the draft if Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas were selected with the top two picks.

Concerns over Foster’s health and a diluted urine sample, which immediately places him into the NFL program for substances of abuse, were the only justifications for his tumble to the end of the first round. The 49ers found a trade partner in the Seattle Seahawks and took Foster with the No. 31 overall pick.

Some teams probably really did have serious concerns about his shoulder. And perhaps those concerns were justified. But, maybe, the teams that could have drafted him feel the need to cover their own backsides for passing on a player who has the look of a special player.

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.