49ers focused on sustained success

49ers focused on sustained success
March 16, 2012, 5:25 pm
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If the early portion of this NFL offseason has proven anything to 49ers fans, it's that the organization is in it for the long haul.General manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh do not view the 2012 season as the team's one chance to win a Super Bowl.That's why the 49ers signed veteran receiver Randy Moss to a contract that, essentially, is a six-month tryout before the start of the regular season. If the 49ers decide any time between now and the final cuts that Moss does not fit with the team, they can move on without ever paying him a penny.
And it also explains the reasonable contracts to retain cornerback Carlos Rogers and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, as well as why the 49ers allowed Joshua Morgan to sign with the Washington Redskins and why they didn't pay big money to lure a receiver through the first three days of free agency.After all, Laurent Robinson secured a reported five-year, 32.5 million deal with 13.6 million guaranteed from the Jacksonville Jaguars, who will be his fourth NFL team in six seasons. That's the kind of market that the 49ers refused to enter when teams eagerly paid big money to fill holes.
"I think it's going to be: Who fits us? What are we looking for? What do we need?" CEO Jed York said this week of the 49ers' approach to free agency. "I have full confidence in Jim and Trent to go out and get that done."We want to build through the draft and supplement through free agency."Although the short-term satisfaction might be low, the fans ultimately benefit from this approach. On Thursday, the 49ers announced that all available 2012 season tickets have been sold.A release announcing the news stated: "Team officials say fans have seized the opportunity to buy tickets following a successful 2011 season, and those fans have apparently recognized a new benefit to holding ticket packages at Candlestick: They will be one of the first-in-line for seats at the new stadium in Santa Clara."The 49ers expect to play the 2014 season in the new stadium, and the 49ers want to make sure that the organization is in good shape when the 49ers move to the South Bay, as well as into the future.The organization is not mortgaging the future in hopes of breaking through in 2012. Thus far, the 49ers' approach to free agency has not been flashy -- though the addition of Moss was national news before the opening of full-fledged free agency.When the season ended, it seemed unrealistic that the 49ers would be able to retain Dashon Goldson, Brooks and Rogers to essentially keep their dominant defense of 2011 intact for another season. But chief negotiator Paraag Marathe made the pieces of the puzzle fit.
Through the first few days of free agency a year ago, fans and media seemed to get restless, waiting for high-profile additions to the roster. Eventually, the 49ers acquired such players as Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers and Jonathan Goodwin while welcoming back Goldson.
With fewer holes to fill this season, the 49ers are maintaining the same approach. And it worked pretty well a year ago.

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