It's going down to the wire with 49ers free agents


It's going down to the wire with 49ers free agents

The clock is ticking on the start of free agency. At 1 p.m., as many as 14 players who finished last season on the 49ers could be allowed to begin shopping their services around the league.Here's a look at those players:QB Alex Smith: The 49ers have an offer on the table that Smith and his agent have contemplated for some time. CEO Jed York said on Monday, "The ball's in his court." Over the weekend, Smith promised, "It will get done." Let's put it this way -- it should get done. And, perhaps, even before 1 p.m.

CB Carlos Rogers: He slipped through the cracks of free agency a year ago, settling for a one-year contract. He produced with six interceptions and a Pro Bowl season with the 49ers. Rogers had hoped the 49ers would come through with a satisfying multi-year offer before the start of free agency. But it hasn't happened. The day after the season, Rogers said, "Will they (the 49ers) be able to match the highest bid if I hit free agency and still keep this team together? Probably not." If there's a soft market for Rogers, who turns 31 in July, he could be back with 49ers. Right now, that appears unlikely, as Howard Balzer of 101 Sports (St. Louis) reports that the Rams have targeted Rogers.

RG Adam Snyder: Of all their starting jobs on the offensive line, Snyder's spot at right guard is the only one in question. The 49ers drafted Daniel Kilgore a year ago, and he has a chance to win a starting job. Snyder has value with his ability to play every spot on the line, so his return would make sense.

WR Joshua Morgan: The 49ers still want Morgan back after signing Randy Moss to a reported 2.5 million deal for 2012. At this point, Morgan might want to see what's available on the open market. He said he is fine after sustaining a season-ending broken leg early last season. And there is expected to be some interest around the league.

MAIOCCO: WR still a position of need even after Moss signing

WR Ted Ginn: He has every right to want to test the market after taking a pay cut in exchange for becoming a free agent a year early. Ginn's value to the 49ers was his ability to return kicks and punts. But his durability is an issue.

LB Larry Grant: The 49ers gave him an original-round tender of 1.26 million as a restricted free agent. If another team wants to sign Grant to an offer sheet to be a starter, the 49ers will not match. If Grant can't find a starting job elsewhere, he'll return to 49ers as the top backup to inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.

REWIND: 49ers announce tenders for Grant, Brock

LB Blake Costanzo: The 49ers have already extended special-teams ace C.J. Spillman to a three-year, 4.2 million contract. Costanzo really fit in with the 49ers last season, so it's difficult to believe he won't be back.

RG Chilo Rachal: He lost his starting job at halftime of the third game of the season. He figures to find a better opportunity elsewhere.

S Reggie Smith: During his end-of-season sit down with 49ers brass, it was agreed that it was in his best interest to seek a better opportunity elsewhere.

FB Moran Norris: He lost his starting job to rookie Bruce Miller, and the 49ers will likely want to get younger and cheaper at backup fullback.

TE Justin Peelle: With Nate Byham expected to be fully healthy and the 49ers keeping the door open to add a tight end via the draft, Peelle does not rate as a high priority. If things fall into place, however, he could be brought in to compete in training camp.

LB Tavares Gooden: He fit in nicely last season as part of the special-teams unit. He could become more of a priority to re-sign if it looks as if Grant will get away.

S Madieu Williams: The 49ers would like him to return as an insurance policy at safety behind Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner. He'll see what is available elsewhere on the open market.

WR Brett Swain: The 49ers did not tender him as a restricted free agent, but they have not ruled out his return at a minimum contract to compete in training camp.

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

49ers trade up, select QB C.J. Beathard in third round of 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Quarterback
College: Iowa
Height: 6-2
Weight: 219
Selection: Third round, No. 104 overall

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers traded back into the end of the third round to select a quarterback to join Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley on the 49ers' roster.

General manager John Lynch's fourth trade of the draft netted the team the grandson of legendary NFL personnel man Bobby Beathard. His grandson, C.J., joins the 49ers after a four-year career at Iowa. Beathard completed 58.6 percent of his passes last season with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Beathard was not generally expected to be chosen within the first two days of the draft. He was the sixth quarterback selected, falling behind Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Deshone Kizer and Davis Webb.

"They won't regret it," Beathard said on a conference call with the Bay Area media.

The 49ers traded up with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings had the No. 104 pick, and called the 49ers to see if they were interested in a trade. After some consideration, the 49ers decided to move up from No. 109 while also giving the Vikings a seventh-round pick at No. 219.

"Might he have been there at 109? That’s what we had to weigh," 49ers John Lynch said. "But at the end of the day, we felt like it was worth it to be able to go to bed knowing that we had a player that we liked and want the opportunity develop at the quarterback position."

And that's what coach Kyle Shanahan plans on doing. He said Beathard is not coming to the team this season to compete with Hoyer for the starting job.

"We’re bringing him in here to develop him and give him a chance, but just like any other position, everyone competes," Shanahan said. "Brian is our starting quarterback and, right now, Matt Barkley is our second. And I look at him to come in and be our third with us only having three on the roster.

"By no means did we come into this draft thinking we’re going to get a guy to compete with Brian."

Shanahan said Beathard and Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman were the two quarterbacks in the draft who ran offenses in college most similar to the offense he will install with the 49ers.

"One thing that helps is being able to see guys play the way you’re going to ask them to play," Shanahan said. "It helps being at Iowa and watching the system he’s in. It’s easier to see to watch him over the years. He’s a three-year starter. He’s led his team to a bunch of wins, especially in 2015 when they had a better team and he played unbelievable."

As a junior at Iowa, Beathard completed 61.6 percent of his pass attempts for 2,809 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. 

"He’s a leader. He’s tough. He processes very well," Shanahan said. "He's extremely accurate and he lives and dies football."

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select CB Ahkello Witherspoon in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Cornerback
College: Colorado
Height: 6-2 3/4
Weight: 193
Selection: Third round, No. 66 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, a Sacramento native, in the third round of the NFL draft with the No. 66 overall pick.

“Being close to home is an incredible opportunity, as well as the type of defense they play -- press man, up in your face,” Witherspoon said. “When I came in for a visit, they were asking me if I’ve adopted that role and if I’d be willing to continue that. And I said, ‘Absolutely.’

“It’s an opportunity to play for such a great organization, close to home, with such a savvy defensive mentality. I think it’s going to be a great place for me.”

The 49ers were also scheduled to have the next pick, but traded the selection at No. 67 for the New Orleans Saints’ second-round pick in next year’s draft, as well as a seventh-round selection (No. 229 overall) this year. The 49ers now have 10 picks in next year’s draft.

The Saints used that pick at No. 67 to select Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

Witherspoon began his college career at Sacramento City. He played his final three college seasons at Colorado. He started 12 games last season and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors.

Witherspoon led the nation with 22 pass breakups. He recorded one interception -- a game-saving pick in the end zone to preserve a 41-38 victory over Oregon. A pre-med student majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, he said he aspires to be a doctor after his football career.

But Witherspoon said he is committed to football and promised the 49ers during his visit to Santa Clara that he will make huge strides over the next few years as he continues to develop as a player.