Maiocco: Still a role for Lawson in 49ers defense

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Maiocco: Still a role for Lawson in 49ers defense

May 8, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comManny Lawson is not under contract to the 49ers for the upcoming season. And the 49ers invested the seventh overall draft pick on Aldon Smith, who plays the same position.So does the addition of the rookie from Missouri spell the end of Lawson's career with the 49ers?Well, that all depends on the yet-to-be-determined rules for NFL free agency. There remains a good chance Lawson will be back with the 49ers in 2011.When the lockout is lifted and free agency begins -- whenever that might be -- if the NFL reverts back to the 2010 rules, the 49ers would still control Lawson's rights as a restricted free agent. Lawson has five years of NFL experience. Under the 2010 rules for the uncapped year, the league required six years for unrestricted free agency. Prior to last year, four years of NFL experience were needed to test the market.If the 49ers are able to retain Lawson's rights, general manager Trent Baalke could work out a trade. But if Lawson remains with the 49ers, he would likely still have a large role with the team.Lawson led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks in 2009. But he was used primarily on first and second downs from the final six games of '09 through all of last season.He finished '09 at 230 pounds but put on weight last season to play at least 10 pounds heavier. Lawson was good against the run and held up very well in coverage. When the 49ers drafted Lawson in the first round of the 2006 draft, they converted him from defensive end to outside linebacker. In the NFL, Lawson quickly developed in his new role and never showed consistency as the sack artist the 49ers had envisioned him becoming.
Smith is at least 25 pounds heavier entering the NFL than Lawson. Smith weighed in at 264 pounds at the NFL scouting combine. Smith played with a lot ore strength at Missouri. He lined up primarily at right defensive end at Missouri but also was asked to drop into coverage and line up as an inside pass-rusher.Smith does not have to start as a rookie to be a huge factor for the 49ers. After all, Fred Dean is in the Hall of Fame, and he started just five of 57 games with the 49ers.If the 49ers retain Lawson for another season, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can devise a specific plan for Smith. Then, Smith's development in other areas of his game can dictate how much -- and how quickly -- the 49ers expand his role.Parys Haralson, the outside linebacker on the other side, is signed through 2013 and figures to remain with the club for a while. While Smith is groomed to take over every-down duties from Lawson, he will likely get his initial playing time at the expense of nickel pass-rushers Ahmad Brooks and veteran free-agent Travis LaBoy.

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

PHOENIX – Free-agent running back DuJuan Harris will re-sign with the 49ers, his agent said.

Harris, 28, appeared in 10 games for the 49ers last season with one start. He rushed for 138 yards on 38 attempts. He also caught eight passes for 115 yards.

Harris has also seen time with Jacksonville, Green Bay and Seattle in his four-year NFL career.

The 49ers did not tender Harris as a restricted free agent, but agent Andy Simms revealed his client will re-sign with the 49ers via Twitter. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and defensive lineman Chris Jones are the only other free agents the 49ers have re-signed.

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."