Maiocco: 49ers Mailbag: Masoli as No. 3 QB?


Maiocco: 49ers Mailbag: Masoli as No. 3 QB?

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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers are four practice days away from their first exhibition game of the season, slated for Friday in New Orleans.Coach Jim Harbaugh is giving the team Sunday off, as part of the new NFL rules that dictate that players must have at least one day off during every seven-day period of training camp.
"It's a mandatory day off," Harbaugh said. "Twenty-four hours of players off from meetings, anything that's mandatory including practice."RELATED: Camp report (86): 49ers' Willis looks like Willis
There are still a lot of things unsettled with the 49ers after eight days of practice. Most starting jobs are determined. But many roster spots and playing-time roles are still being haggled over as the exhibition season approaches."So we still got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of practice," Harbaugh said. "Those are valuable practice days"Let's now open the 49ers Mailbag to answer some questions:Q: so is going to be alex and 2 rookies at QB then? (@JesusMartinez18)
My answer: Harbaugh said Saturday that Jeremiah Masoli throws the ball like a professional quarterback, and he will remain on the depth chart as a passer. The club originally signed Masoli to be a running back and "jack of all trades."I doubt Harbaugh is satisfied with a quarterback group heading into the regular season that consists of Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick and Jeremiah Masoli. That would be very risky.But Harbaugh is not enamored of any of the veteran quarterbacks on the free-agent market, either.The available quarterbacks include Brodie Croyle, Jake Delhomme, Charlie Frye, J.P. Losman, Patrick Ramsey, Brian St. Pierre, Brian Brohm and Marc Bulger, who last week announced his retirement. There's also Troy Smith, but we know he's not coming back. He was a quarterback the 49ers picked up last year after the final cuts. So the 49ers will keep an eye on the waiver wire.
I'm told if there's a quarterback who shakes free or becomes available that Harbaugh likes, the club will make an effort to get him. The No. 1 name on everybody's list is Tampa Bay backup quarterback Josh Johnson, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego and greatly desires a chance to play for him again.Johnson enters the final year of his contract, and there are no long-term hopes of being a starter with Josh Freeman firmly entrenched as the Buccaneers' starter. There would be hope for Johnson if he came to the 49ers, as Smith is signed to just a one-year deal and Kaepernick is promising but very raw. Q: seemed like Alex checked down to Gore A LOT today- part of offense or no WR separation? (@liquidhavok)
My answer: How has Alex Smith looked at practice? I see no discernible difference from last year. He has thrown the ball pretty well on deep and intermediate passes. His consistency hasn't been there on throws at the sideline. And, of course, he checks down a lot.REWIND: Camp report (85) 49ers' Smith greeted warmly
Separation from the wide receivers is not the issue. One of the knocks on Smith throughout his career is that he does not "throw the receiver open." Steve Young always said that it's rare in the NFL for receivers to get open. And when they are open, those windows shut rather quickly. Great quarterbacks put the ball in spots where only the intended target can catch them. Q: out of all the rookies, who's performing good, besides aldon smith and kaepernick? (@FranchizeWockee)
My answer: Cornerback Chris Culliver has looked very good. He's got speed and good change-of-direction. He is impressive, but he still has a long way to go before he can be expected to cover polished NFL receivers.Receiver Ronald Johnson looks good, too. He is definitely in the mix to contribute, possibly as the fourth receiver. Running back Kendall Hunter has tremendous moves and can get to the corner, but it'll be tough for him to get on the field a whole lot behind Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon.Also, I'm impressed with Bruce Miller and how quickly he has adapted to his new position of fullback. The linemen -- Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person -- are both working with the second-team offense. Kilgore is lining up at left guard, behind Mike Iupati, and Person is at right tackle, behind Anthony Davis. They are raw, and getting coached-up daily on proper technique. I do not envision either of those players being active on game days.Of the undrafted guys, nose tackle Ian Williams has a chance to provide good depth along the defensive line. I like the group of young, small-college receivers the 49ers brought in. Chris Hogan, Tyler Beiler and Joe Hastings can play a little, but the numbers game does not work out to their advantage. Watching the offensive line, Donovan Edwards of Cal has held up very well in one-on-one drills. He's working at third-team left tackle.
Q: projected o line? Davis rachal Goodwin iupati and Staley? (@sportsguya)
My answer: That's the way I see it, too: Right tackle Anthony Davis, right guard Chilo Rachal, center Jonathan Goodwin, left guard Mike Iupati and left tackle Joe Staley.I asked Harbaugh on Saturday for his view on the offensive line and which starters have solidified their spots. Obviously, he did not want to name names."It'll be our five best starters will be in there, continue to have a rep chart, not a depth chart, but you know it's starting to take shape and there's still quite a few battles for who's going to be the starter, who's going to be the contributors, who's going to be the backups, who's going to make the team," he answered. "So quite a lot still going on in the offensive line."Davis looks a lot more fluid and comfortable this season in pass protection with a year under his belt. I've seen Rachal still struggle some in one-on-one drills, as well as staying low and picking up stunts on the inside. Tony Wragge is working behind Rachal at right guard, though I'd suspect at some point Adam Snyder will slide to backup guard after Goodwin replaces him as the first-team center.

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”

It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 12 games at left guard, two games at left tackle and the final two games at center.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.


Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.