Former New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham agreed to terms with the 49ers Saturday night on a two-year deal, league sources have confirmed.The 49ers have yet to announce the signing until they receive the signed contract and it's approved by the NFL -- a mere formality. That is expected to occur Tuesday or Wednesday.In the meantime, Manningham has changed his Twitter name to @Manningham49ers.Manningham was one of the heroes in the Giants' Super Bowl title. His sensational 38-yard reception was a key play on the Giants' game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter of New York's 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots.On Monday, Manningham, who spent his first four seasons with the Giants after being a third-round draft pick in 2008, expressed his gratitude to New York fans:"I just want to thank ALL of @Giants Nation from my teammates I have played with to all my coaches throughout my years in NY... most importantly I want to thank all of the fans for being behind me and supporting me since draft day. I might be moving on to a different team but will never forget where I started in this league. Being a part of and helping bring another Super Bowl Championship to this great organization and city is something that will last with me forever. So once again THANK YOU!!"
SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.
But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.
Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.
“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”
Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.
Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.
Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”
“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”
SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.
But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.
“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.
Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.
“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”
Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.
“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”
McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.
“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.
“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”
Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.
“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”
McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.
McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.
“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.
“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”