Moss: 'I'm ready to bring the fans out of their seats'

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Moss: 'I'm ready to bring the fans out of their seats'

The 49ers signed veteran wide receiver Randy Moss to a one-year contract on Monday night. Terms of the deal were not immediately known."We are pleased to add a player with Randy's wealth of experience to our receiving corps," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. "Randy's productivity over the course of his career speaks for itself. We look forward to integrating him into our system."Moss took part in a conference call with reporters after the deal was signed. Here's some of what he had to say:Why the decision to sign with the 49ers so shortly after working out for the 49ers?
Moss: "I think that their upside was something I studied and I looked at and evaluated. Coach (Jim) Harbaugh is really a young and enthusiastic coach and I love enthusiasm. So I think when they picked me up from the airport last night and everything we talked about, and coming in and taking my physical and working out, a lot of things stood out to me. And it was really a no-brainer for me to come in and play for the 49ers. So I look forward to the challenge of going out and making things happen."What changed about your desire to get back into the game?
Moss: "I had personal reasons outside of football to step away from the game. I think it was a family decision to get back in the game because I still love the game and still think I can play at a high level and I'm passionate about the game of football. So for me to be able to get back into training . . . . I really didn't know who was going to try me out, who was going to hook me up. So I had a tryout with the Saints and came here to San Francisco a week later. Basically, the organization, Coach Harbaugh and the general manager and the owner pulled the trigger. So, like I said, I look forward to coming out here to the Bay Area and giving the 49ers fans, organization, something to rave about this season. I look forward to playing."In 2010, it was different than the rest of your career, production-wise. What was behind the drop in production?
Moss: "Well, I don't really want to get into that because you all would not understand if I tell you anyway. So I'm not going to talk about that."Was there any thought to coming back late last season? Did the 49ers talk to you about the playoffs when they had so many injuries at wide receiver?
Moss: "At the beginning of last season I was ready to still play and I was waiting on that call. But at the same time, I didn't really know how things were going to go. So when it got late in the season, I just decided to go ahead and give my body a little more rest. And once the season ended, I decided to come on back. Like I said, I'm very passionate about what I do. And definitely football is something I love to do. So for me to come back to the game of football . . . I'm ready to go. I think you can hear from my last workout with the Saints and here today with the 49ers, I'm ready to get back into the game of football. I think I can still play at a high level. So I look forward to learning the offense and getting with the group of guys in the locker room and learning what my role is going to be on this team. Like I said, I accept the challenge, and I'm ready to bring the fans out of their seats."Do you know Alex Smith at all, and have you spoken to him throughout this process?
Moss: "I don't really know Alex Smith. But I look forward to working with all the guys on the team."Has your role been defined in your talks with the team?
Moss: "No, we really haven't discussed it yet. But once get to camp and OTAs and minicamps and things like that, I think, like I said, I accept the challenge to get back into this league and play at a high level. So, like I said, whatever my role is going to be, I just want to get out there and be productive.Was it appealing to sign with the 49ers because they made it to the NFC championship game?
Moss: "It was very intriguing for me to reach out to the 49ers and come give them everything that I had today. It's obvious they liked what they saw. And, like I said, I don't want to let them down. I want to come and get back to what I do, which is getting out there and playing football and stretching the field. So, like I said, I look forward to working with the team. I look forward to working with the coaches and getting out here and learning my role. And whatever it may be, I'll try to be the best I can be."Can Jim Harbaugh still "bring it"?
Moss: "That's funny you ask that. Yes, he can still bring it at his old age. I don't know, he's probably sitting there with an ice pack or something on his shoulder right now, but, yeah, he can still wing it."Is there anything you do as a veteran to help out Michael Crabtree and the younger players?
Moss: "I think, not just Crabtree, but it's a young group of guys. And there's a saying I have: 'I like what I can do for the NFL. I don't like what the NFL can do for me.' I've loved the game of football. For me to be able to start at a young age and play Pop Warner football and have my dreams come true to become a professional football player. I like what I'm able to give back to football and the NFL. If those guys are willing to accept me as a teammate, come here and make this thing happen, then I'm ready to give back anything I have: my knowledge, my work ethic and all of the above. I look forward to going out and working with these young guys, and coaches included."You signed a one-year contract, so are you looking at this as a one-year thing or beyond?
Moss: "Man, I just want to play football. Once the season starts and once it ends, we'll decide where things are going to go after that. So I'll just take it one game, and one day at a time and we'll see what happens at the end of the run."Harbaugh has made so much about the team concept and blue-collar mentality with the 49ers. How much did he talk to you about coming into the locker room and fit in and be another one of the guys?
Moss: "Well, the thing about me being here is they've done their research on me. And I think when it comes to the world-wide sports media, I've gotten a bad rap. They've done their homework on me or they wouldn't have brought me in here."Why do you say you've gotten a bad rap?
Moss: "I'm just saying, more of not being a team player and things like that. I really don't want to get into that because that's not what I'm here for. I think that one thing I'd like the sports world to understand is the love and the passion I have for the game of football. I think every player wants to win and every organization wants to win."

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

The 49ers’ new regime heads to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week with the first major wave of offseason activity set to kick off.

Already, the 49ers have made roster improvements. And there figure to be plenty of activity ahead in the coming weeks.

Here are some questions submitted by readers on Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag:

Do you see the 49ers cutting ties with larger contracts like Bethea, Torrey Smith and Ahmad Brooks?‬ (Blair Wilkins)
The 49ers have approximately $75 million in space under the salary cap – and that’s before any adjustment of Colin Kaepernick’s contract. So it’s not as if the organization needs to create cap room.

Any decision made to part ways with veteran players will be made solely on how that player fits into what the 49ers envision on the field.

And that’s what general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff are doing now. They are studying the video from last season to determine which players fit their ideals.

Safety Antoine Bethea is scheduled to earn $5.75 million. Bethea, 32, enters the final year of his contract. There is no question he is everything the 49ers want in a player off the field. If one of the younger guys is not better than Bethea, there is no reason to get rid of him.

Brooks is on the books to earn $5.3 million in 2017. That’s not a huge amount for a starting outside linebacker or defensive end – whichever spot he might fit best. The 49ers must look to upgrade their pass rush. Brooks turns 33 next month. He’s good for six sacks a season. Again, it’s not as if the 49ers can’t afford him. And, as of now, it’s not as if the 49ers have anyone better.

Smith is scheduled to earn $8 million. He has been vastly underutilized in his two seasons since signing with the 49ers. He’s the most interesting case of the high-priced veterans.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense is predicated on using the running game to set up the play-action shot down the field. Smith is limited. He’s not a possession receiver. He’s not going to make plays over the middle. He is an outside receiver whose contributions come in the vertical passing game. But that’s what Shanahan wants.

If Smith is paired with a strong tight end, a running back who catch the ball out of the backfield, a slot receiver with short-area quickness to get open underneath, a very good receiver on the other side and an accurate quarterback who can throw the deep ball, there should be a role for Smith in the 49ers’ offense.

Will the 49ers continue to be aggressive pursuing free agents this offseason? If so, what positions?‬ (Bradley Lodge)
The 49ers have zeroed in on two veteran free agents and they signed them both.

The organization has already spent more money than it did all of last offseason on veteran free agency with the four-year, $16 million deal to sign defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, whom the Miami Dolphins recently released.

Nickel back K’Waun Williams has a history with 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. The 49ers did not have to make much of a financial investment to sign him.

The 49ers will definitely go after a veteran quarterback or two in free agency or via trade. Pass rusher, inside linebacker and wide receiver are other positions the 49ers can be expected to look during free agency.

The opening of the new league year – when free-agent signings and trades can occur – is March 9. The draft is seven weeks later.

The 49ers must fill as many of their needs with smart deals that fit into the long-term plan with veteran acquisitions. Then, the draft is about taking the best players on their board when it’s time to select. Teams that reach for need generally strike out.

What are the chances of drafting a QB with first pick and playing them behind a Kap / Cousins until they're ready to become starter?‬ (Hillory Broussard)
If Colin Kaepernick returns, it will not be as a no-questions-asked starter. Just read what Lynch said on KNBR this week about the team’s needs:

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely. And we’re committed to doing that.”

That statement can easily be interpreted that Lynch does not believe the 49ers had a starting-caliber quarterback on the roster last season.

But if the 49ers were to go out and swing a trade for Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s going to take a big commitment – in terms of draft picks and a suitable new contract. Then, the 49ers would have that player.

Cousins or Garoppolo would unquestionably fill the 49ers’ need at quarterback for 2017 and beyond -- at least in the minds of the 49ers' new decision-makers. There would be no reason for the 49ers to then draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick – if the 49ers even had the No. 2 overall pick at that point.

 

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.