Maiocco: 49ers move forward without Heitmann


Maiocco: 49ers move forward without Heitmann

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Eric Heitmann was the only starting player still around from the 49ers' last playoff victory.Heitmann started at left guard as a rookie in one of the more memorable 49ers' postseason games. The 49ers rallied from a 24-point second-half deficit to defeat the New York Giants 39-38 on Jan. 5, 2003 at Candlestick Park.A mainstay on the offensive line for most of the past decade, Heitmann will likely miss his second consecutive season and his career is in jeopardy after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured disk in his neck, his agent, Kenny Zuckerman, told on Wednesday.From 2003 to '06, he started 51 consecutive games. After missing the final two games of the season with a broken leg, Heitmann returned to the starting lineup Week 1 of 2007. He started 48 in a row before missing all of last season."He was the one consistent, even when you go back to (Steve) Mariucci and the (Dennis) Erickson days," quarterback Alex Smith said. "He's been the one veteran voice because we've been inundated with youth on the front line."I know he had his surgery and it's, obviously, pretty serious. He'll be missed."Each of the 49ers' five starting offensive linemen last season were first- or second-round draft picks since 2005. And top backup Adam Snyder came to the team as a third-round pick in 2005."Coming in as a rookie, you really don't know what kind of situation you're getting into," Snyder said. "And having a guy like Eric in the room who's willing to spend the extra time, and could just sit down and talk to you about the game of football or soothing else going on. "I owe a lot of my career to Eric. He came in and played guard, then played center for a number of years. He taught me a lot about the game."Heitmann, 31, will not be available for the upcoming season, so where do the 49ers turn?David Bass: He started all 16 games at center with Heitmann out last season, and he played well. The 49ers targeted Baas for a contract extension last season, but the sides never reached a deal. Baas remains unsigned and will be an unrestricted free agent when the lockout ends. The 49ers must rank him as a top priority to re-sign. Baas flew from Florida to take part in a players-organized team workout June 9, a clear indication of his desire to return to the 49ers.Adam Snyder: He has played every position along the offensive line, except center, in his six seasons with the 49ers. But Snyder started working at center a year ago. During the team workouts he continues to take snaps at center. He might have a chance to compete with Chilo Rachal at right guard. As a center, he's probably better-suited to serve as a backup.
Daniel Kilgore: The 49ers traded up to select Kilgore in the fifth round. He played left tackle at Appalachian State, but the 49ers project him as a centerguard in the NFL. It'd doubtful he'd be ready to start as a rookie.
Mike Person: He played tackle in college, but the 49ers envision him competing at centerguard, along with Kilgore. Person is one of five offensive linemen who has taken part in each of the "Camp Alex" workouts.Tony Wragge: The veteran is unsigned for next season, and the fact the 49ers drafted Kilgore and Person does not appear to bode well for his future with the club.Chase Beeler: He was named AP first-team All-American center after his senior season at Stanford. He was not drafted. The 49ers might have some interest in signing him to a free-agent contract. Beeler, upon the invitation from Joe Staley, worked out with the 49ers on Wednesday at San Jose State. He was able to answer some questions about the playbook, based on his experiences at Stanford with current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

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 13 games at left guard and the final three games at left tackle.

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.