Johnson is logical move if Smith isn't signed

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Johnson is logical move if Smith isn't signed

So how do the 49ers proceed if, when free agency opens Tuesday at 1 p.m., quarterback Alex Smith remains unsigned?Some have wondered whether the 49ers would place a phone call to Tom Condon, the agent who represents both Smith and Peyton Manning, and attempt to get in on the Manning Sweepstakes.What about Matt Flynn, the capable backup who saw action here and there for the Green Bay Packers behind Aaron Rodgers?The more likely scenario would be for Jim Harbaugh to attempt to reunite with a quarterback from his past.
Josh Johnson, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, is looking for an opportunity to compete for a job. He probably wasn't going to get that chance with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even though Josh Freeman struggled last year after a fine 2010 season.Johnson completed 19 of 36 passes for 246 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions with the Buccaneers last season. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.Meanwhile, the 49ers and Smith remain apart on the contract particulars while both sides have made it clear they want the union to continue.As first reported in early December, the 49ers want to sign Smith to a short-term contract without a huge financial commitment. Smith, whom Harbaugh said was an "elite quarterback," wants a commitment of guaranteed money that reflects those words.But the 49ers want the door to remain open for Colin Kaepernick to eventually take over as the starter. After all, the 49ers did not trade up to select Kaepernick in the second round last year so that he could be a career backup.That's why a quick strike for Johnson in free agency makes sense.Johnson will not warrant a large financial commitment. And Harbaugh has repeatedly said that every position will be earned through competition -- including quarterback.If the 49ers were to sign Johnson, they could still bring back Smith, continue to groom Kaepernick and see what happens as those three quarterbacks -- and Scott Tolzien -- work through the offseason and training camp.

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.

Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.

"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.

Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.

After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.

With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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