S Colin Jones switches to offense -- maybe

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S Colin Jones switches to offense -- maybe

SANTA CLARA -- College defensive end-turned-NFL fullback Bruce Miller, a seventh-round draft pick, wasn't the only 49ers rookie the club asked to change from defense to offense.One round earlier, the 49ers selected Colin Jones, a safety from Texas Christian.The 49ers chose Jones for his play on special teams. And after a rough beginning to the season, Jones made his mark with eight tackles on the coverage units.But ask Jones what position he plays -- offense or defense -- and he can't give you an answer."Honestly, I don't know," Jones said. "I'm whatever position I'm told to be that day. I don't know the answer."Jones (6-foot, 208 pounds) played no snaps of defense during the regular season. He played one snap on offense as a wide receiver in the 49ers' regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams. He lined up at wideout, went into motion and ran a fake fly sweep.He has been spending more time recently in wide receiver meetings, he said. On the practice field, Jones has been working on offense. And he is spending extra time working on his pass-catching after practices.
Jones is not likely to see any action on offense or defense on Saturday against the New Orleans Saints. But he'll have a big role as the 49ers hope to limit Saints return man Darren Sproles.Jones has come a long way from his first game -- the exhibition opener at New Orleans -- when he typically was the first player down the field but routinely ran past the player with the ball."I'm getting comfortable with the different schemes and making the plays you're supposed to make and not forcing plays," Jones said. "It's not about going down there and trying to make every play. It's what's best for the unit."I went to the practice squad for three weeks -- Weeks 2, 3 and 4 -- and I didn't want to go back there. I'm doing everything I can to help the team."

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.