WR still position of need even after Moss signing

627160.jpg

WR still position of need even after Moss signing

On the eve of free agency, the 49ers signed one of the all-time great producers at the position of their biggest offseason need.Receiver Randy Moss was paced through a workout on the 49ers' Santa Clara practice field on Monday at the edge of a construction zone. Site preparation has started for the new stadium the 49ers hope will open in time for the 2014 season.It's a long shot that Moss will see the ribbon-cutting of the new building. And it's no certainty that Moss, 35, will be much of a factor this season, either.After all, New England and Minnesota cut him in 2010. And he moved on to Tennessee. With those three teams, he had the lowest production of his 13-year NFL career.A year ago, his stock was at an all-time low. He retired.And, now, he's back.
Moss could return to his form of pre-2010. If that's the case, a starting receiver tandem of Moss and Michael Crabtree would be a formidable combination. But expect the 49ers to continue to add at the wide receiver position through free agency and the draft this offseason.The 49ers have their prices in mind for free agents Vincent Jackson and Mike Wallace, but it seems highly likely those players will be signing elsewhere.The 49ers' best plan of attack seems to be the approach they used a year ago at the cornerback position. Nnamdi Asomugha and Johnathan Joseph were the top players on the market. They got their money while the 49ers held tight.When Carlos Rogers slipped through the cracks, the 49ers were able to land him with a one-year contract.So look for Jackson and Wallace to command big contracts. Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson and Wes Welker have been tagged as their teams' franchise players. Marques Colston is reportedly nearing a new deal with the New Orleans Saints.That leaves a pool of receivers who fit a similar clump, such as Joshua Morgan, Robert Meachem, Laurent Robinson, Pierre Garcon, Mario Manningham, Early Doucet and Harry Douglas.The 49ers wish to re-sign Morgan, who says he is fully recovered from the broken lower leg that ended his season. If Morgan does not sign with the 49ers before 1 p.m. (that's when free-agency opens), he is likely to get some notice on the open market.And if the 49ers do not re-sign Ted Ginn, they could potentially find a low-cost replacement in Eddie Royal or Roscoe Parrish, two slot receiversreturn-man options. (Parrish's lack of durability is a definite concern.)As 49ers CEO Jed York said on Monday, the organization's approach this offseason is unchanged from a year ago -- to "always build through the draft and supplement through free agency."It worked a year ago, so there is no reason to change now.

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as studio analyst

usatsi_9575116.jpg

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as studio analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”

Bills sign two former 49ers

Bills sign two former 49ers

The Buffalo Bills have signed two 49ers free agents within the past two days.

After signing wide receiver Rod Streater on Wednesday, the Bills announced the signing of linebacker Gerald Hodges on Thursday.

The 49ers acquired Hodges in a 2015 trade with the Minnesota Vikings for center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick. Hodges started 12 games last season and ranked second on the team with 92 tackles.

Hodges left the 49ers shorthanded for a late-season game against the Atlanta Falcons when he violated team rules. Then-coach Chip Kelly did not disclose the nature of Hodges infraction. Hodges offered no explanation or apology.

The 49ers entered the game against the high-powered Falcons with just two healthy inside linebackers due to Hodges’ deactivation. Starter Nick Bellore sustained an elbow injury on the third play of the game, and the 49ers were forced to use safeties Antoine Bethea and Vinnie Sunseri, and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks at various points of the game.

The 49ers showed no interest in re-signing Hodges as a free agent.

Streater, a five-year NFL veteran, saw action in all 16 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in September. He caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.