Moving parts aplenty in 49ers' QB drama

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Moving parts aplenty in 49ers' QB drama

Quarterback Alex Smith did not sign the 49ers' contract offer, which was presented to him weeks ago, because he sought more security from the organization whose coach called him "elite."
If Smith signed the three-year offer, the door would have been open for Colin Kaepernick to take over as the starter at any point without the 49ers taking much of a financial hit from Smith's deal.REPORT: Smith considers firing agent
It was clear that Smith and his agent, Tom Condon, figured their best option was to play the waiting game.Meanwhile, the 49ers began their pursuit of Peyton Manning while feeling secure that their offer to Smith reflected his true market value. After all, which team would be willing to pay Smith more than 8 million a season?Perhaps we'll soon find out.Smith took a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., early Sunday morning to visit with the Miami Dolphins.RELATED: Alex Smith on visit to meet with Dolphins
The Dolphins visited Saturday with free-agent Matt Flynn, who spent four seasons as Aaron Rodgers' backup with the Green Bay Packers. Flynn worked closely with new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, who served those seasons as Packers offensive coordinator.And, yes, this whole situation has taken an interesting twist.Davis Hsu, who writes a blog on the Seattle Seahawks, spotted Smith flying first class on his red-eye flight. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel met Smith at the airport early Sunday morning."This is the NFL," Smith told the paper. "I guess nothing surprises me anymore. I never thought a year ago (Peyton) Manning would be a free agent either. I'm never surprised by anything."There are a lot of moving parts right now in this whole 49ers quarterback drama . . . Peyton Manning: A breathless country awaits his decision. He has worked out for the 49ers, Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans. Do the 49ers have a chance? The team kept its defense together. And they've added Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to the receiving corps. The 49ers appear to be in the best spot among the Manning contenders to make a Super Bowl bid.Matt Flynn: He has shown to be a capable backup. But his sample size is small. In four seasons, he has two starts. Career stats: 82 of 132 (62.1 percent) for 1,015 yards with nine TDs and five interceptions. He visited the Seattle Seahawks and the Dolphins. The 49ers are not in the mix for Flynn, but his move has an impact on Smith.
Matt Hasselbeck: If Manning signs with the Titans, Hasselbeck will be cut free. The 49ers wanted -- and thought they were going to sign -- Hasselbeck last summer. They'd probably go after him again if he becomes available.Josh Johnson: The former Tampa Bay backup has not been nearly as impressive in his limited action as Flynn. He has a history with Jim Harbaugh (he was his quarterback at the University of San Diego). But it's clear now that a close relationship with Harbaugh means nothing. As should be the case with any coach, Harbaugh simply wants the best player he can get.Colin Kaepernick: The 49ers are infatuated with Kaepernick's physical tools. But is Kaepernick ready? It seems he knows only one speed on his passes, so he needs a lot of refinement to get ready for NFL game action. The 49ers traded up to take him with the 36th overall draft pick last year. Andy Dalton was chosen one spot ahead of him, and Dalton proved he was ready as a rookie with a solid season for the Cincinnati Bengals.Scott Tolzien: He spent his rookie season as the 49ers' third quarterback. He'll get a chance in training camp to earn his way back on the roster, but he is not considered starter material just yet.And, then, of course . . . Alex Smith: His trip to South Florida on Sunday to meet with the Dolphins is his first career free-agent visit. The Dolphins are also pursuing Flynn, though. The 49ers want Manning. But, of course, there is still a chance that Smith returns to the 49ers. Also, the Seahawks could get into the mix. The Seahawks brought in Flynn for a visit. Tarvaris Jackson ended last season as the Seahawks starter. Former 49ers GM Scot McCloughan is a personnel executive with the Seahawks.Ultimately, the market will decide where Smith ends up -- and whether he's a starter, backup or will merely find himself in another training camp competition.

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, CSNBayArea.com 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.