Failed claims prove 49ers are trying to improve

September 8, 2011, 4:26 am
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Coach Jim Harbaugh was addressing a question Wednesday about the 49ers' potential interest in free-agent quarterback David Garrard, but he could have been answering a question about anyone who becomes available."We're interested in one thing, that's what makes our football team better," Harbaugh said. "That's a blanket statement on how we approach any move that can help our football team or better our football team."And over the past several days, the 49ers proved they are continuing to upgrade their roster. There's no word about Garrard."Things are happening," agent Al Irby told late Wednesday. "I just can't say what or with whom."
The 49ers were active in the first four days after teams were required to cut down to 53 players. The 49ers claimed rookie quarterback Scott Tolzien off waivers from the San Diego Chargers. And they signed inside linebacker Tavares Gooden, a day after the Baltimore Ravens released him.The 49ers also tried unsuccessfully to add two players off waivers from the New England Patriots. But because waiver claims are still awarded based on the draft order from 2010 win-loss records, the 49ers lost their bids to Buffalo and Carolina, respectively.The 49ers wanted rookie tight end Lee Smith, a 269-pound blocking specialist. The 49ers kept only two tight ends on their roster after Nate Byham was lost for the season due to a training camp knee injury. The Bills were awarded Smith's rights.The 49ers also went after cornerback Darius Butler, a second-round draft pick in 2009 from Connecticut. Four teams placed claims for Butler. The Panthers, who had the worst record in the league last season, got him after the claims were announced on Wednesday.
What this proves is that the 49ers have already identified players they believe could improve the team. And they probably are not finished making roster moves.