Hmmmmm . . . mmmmmH

Not much going on these days. The dust has settled, and the hens are clucking about the demise of the team. Oh, the unwashed masses. The hipsters are selling their tickets as fast as the hipsters coveted them it the first place. How easily they are distracted by the hope that wasn’t to be, and the reality that we now face. The team was getting old, the offense was stagnating, and the Lord God of coaches wanted to go to the Big House. Let’s hope the real fans realize that there was something to the team’s offensive woes, and the stagnation that seemed to creep in.

Throw out the meddling of the front office, or Harbaugh, or whoever engineered the maelstrom, and there’s very little that would be different right about now. Harbaugh wanted Super Bowl money for not winning the Super Bowl. Not gonna get it. Willis would have retired, Gore would have gone after the Indy money, Cully and Cox would have chased the money they weren’t going to get here as well. Borland? Yup. No one saw that. The coaching exodus? Not sure around the report that Gase would have stayed but for Jed saying Tomsula had to be the DC is simply baffling since that precludes the notion that this is Baalke’s team. Hard to think the entire coaching staff was blown up over Tomsula and his role going forward. But that played out as it played out.

So, either way, we would be facing a huge draft with a bunch of holes to fill. The only thing I thought would happen was one of Cully or Cox would stay. Oh, well. CB becomes a need. As does DL, OL, and LB. We get a 4 and a 7 as noted, so we have 9 picks.

This IS a very important draft, and Baalke needs to feel his oats in a big way.

As it lays now, I see BPA in the first 3 rounds. With two 4s, they can take a flier on a QB. Gonna be an interesting draft to say the least. I think we don’t try any more bargain bin injured guys, or trading around. This is going to be a straight load-up draft.

What I see if everything else is equal is:

DL, CB, OL, WR, QB, LB, DB, OL, WR.

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Unbelievable

In an offseason that just keeps getting more and more bewildering, Chris Borland shockingly announced his retirement today. Borland cited many earlier head injuries and concussions in high school and college.

Borland certainly is looking to his future, bit you rarely see this after just one year in the league. One where he was very very good in replacing Patrick Willis.  I wonder if they had inklings of this as they haven’t let Wilhoite or Brooks go and they need bodies back there.

This appears to be the new NFL paradigm though. Players looking to get out with their brains intact.  3 others retired aged 30 or under this past week.

Well, as every week goes by, our draft needs seem to change. This is certainly the case now.

 

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Armageddon It

Are you gettin’ it?

Oh what a week that was. And it’s only Thursday. For all the angst around the players apparent mass exodus (Gore leaves, Willis retires, Iupati, Crabs, and Cox soon to follow) the only one I didn’t see coming was Willis. the rest? Meh. Gore took the money and ran. The 49ers certainly weren’t going to offer him 3 years. Cox? Don’t know. He says he’s amenable to staying here but he’ll ‘let this play out’. But as I’ve said either one of Cox or Cully would go. I thought it would be Cully and his legal woes, but that may be the factor that ends up keeping him here. Crabs and Iupati were known defectors as soon as the whistle blew against AZ. Stuka to Jax? Fine, a backup LB isn’t going to be that hard to find. Justin Smith still hasn’t made his announcement.

So all in all it isn’t like they (or we) didn’t see any of this coming. Brooks was surprisingly kept on. I guess he’s happy now that Harbaugh is gone. Maybe he even gives the team a cap-friendlier deal. Stranger things have happened. They filled RayMac’s spot with Darnell Dockett, they got a burner in Torrey Smith, and are looking around a a few more pieces, like Reggie Bush/CJ Spiller at RB.

In other news, DeVante Parker, one of the top 3 WRs in the draft, paid the Niners a visit. Hopefully a permanent situation come draft day. The Vegas booksters have sure soured on the team. Dropping them from 6:1 last year to 40:1 this year. But that had nothing to do with their dropping to 8-8 and missing the playoffs last year. And I have some beachfront property in Sparks to sell.

Tell you one thing,  a solid draft will do wonders to move ahead this season. With the signing of Blabbert, I see a QB taken in the 4th round.

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Not-So-Quiet Time

Well, it looks like the bellwether is gone. Frank Gore is reportedly ready to sign a deal with the Eagles. A little disconcerting to me, but hey, them’s the breaks. The guy paid his dues, and got handsomely rewarded for his efforts, but like I said earlier today, if he wants to get one more big payday, better someone else than us. The 49ers will hopefully have Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter back at full strength to get the run game going. I thought Tomsula would maybe be a tipping point, as he and Gore had a pretty solid relationship, but again, he wants to get a big deal, go for it. It is a business after all, as much as I’d have liked to see him play out his career here. Looks like we are going to spend one of these draft picks on a n RB now. They seem to be coming back into vogue.

Much more intriguing to me is the fact that the Niners appear to be trying hard to get Anquan Boldin’s ex-teammate Torrey Smith. He’s a bona fide deep threat and would immediately elevate the other WRs on the team. These guys all talk about the run, but with Iupati certainly on the way out, it would be a good time to get more versatile with our blockers. Move a little bit away from the road-grader types and get a more agile quick line. I wonder how the blocking scheme will change this year, if at all.

All in all, I’m sad to see Frank go, but the ball is in his court. If he really wants to stay, he can. I’m also sure the Niners won’t have the best offer on the table.

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Quiet Time

No franchise tags, no rumors about trading the head coach, none of our free agents have been retained. Not much happening this offseason, discounting of course the gutting of the coaching staff a while ago.

To those of us that have moved on, the building of the roster is paramount as of now. The first step in that direction was to sign Darnell Dockett. He of the AZ Cardinals. With RayMac banished to the NFL hinterlands (along with AP, Ray Rice, and Greg Hardy) as a pariah who is waiting for the heat to drop, and the possible (but less likely each day) retirement of Justin Smith, the Niners need to get some D line help. He’s a bit long in the tooth, and missed all last year with a torn ACL, but he had been a solid guy for 10 years with the Cards. He apparently passed a physical from the Mimers, so he should be good to go.

Other than that, once the 7th rolls around, the team will start getting serious about Gore, Cox, Skuta, and their crop of free agents.

 

 

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Big Fun in Little SF

The calendar watch shows:

March 2 Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players
March 7 NFL Regional Combine (Lake Forest, Ill.)
March 7-10 Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2014 contracts at 4 p.m. ET on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. ET on March 10
March 10 Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts
Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation
Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit
Top-51 Begins. All clubs must be under the 2015 salary cap prior to 4 p.m. ET
All 2014 player contracts expire at 4 p.m. ET

This is the start of the first round of player movement.  As the end of the 2014 calendar NFL season winds down, a few big names have been cut, but as of now, there hasn’t been a lot of news.

Today at 1:00 PM local time, teams need to franchise their players, thus pissing them off, and setting up acrimony for next season. The 49ers likely won’t use their tag, and it looks like a ton of other teams won’t either. KC’s OLB Justin Houston is the only guy who has been tagged thus far. Dez Bryant is reportedly going to be tagged and that should set up an interesting scenario in Jerry-land. He usually throws money around like a drunken sailor, but has he learned discretion being the better part of valor? He has DeMarco Murray to sign as well.

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Free Agent Free For All

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves and wish/pray/demand our favorite draft picks, we need to address the 19 free agents currently floating off the books. Ad, this doesn’t include the pending decision to come from one Justin Smith, stalwart of the defensive line, who had a solid year at the age of 35.

The twenty are:

Frank Gore                                     Kyle Nelson
Michael Crabtree                          Chris Cook
Mike Iupati                                     Tony Jerod-Eddie
Blaine Gabbert                              Kassim Osgood
Dan Skuta                                      Raymond Ventrone
Chris Culliver                                 Josh Johnson
Brandon Lloyd                              Alfonso Smith
Perrish Cox                                    Phillip Tanner
Garrett Celek                                 Desmond Bishop
Michael Wilhoite                           (Justin Smith)

The obvious no-signs are Gabbert, Tanner, and Bishop. All are buried on the depth chart and Gabbert flat sucks balls. Alphonso Smith may stick around as cheap insurance. Bishop, Ventrone, Osgood, and Nelson are STers that have varying levels of importance. The long-snapper certainly stays. Celek falls under blocking TE who has done little. He’s cheap, so let him dangle.

Wilhoite, J-Eddie, Skuta, and Cook all fall under the category of solid backups. Wilhoite may be expendable with the emergence of Borland and Lynch; and Skuta has proven himself to be solid when called upon. More so than Wilhoite. Still and all, as last year proved, when the injury bug hits, backups become a necessity. So, Wilhoite is gone.  Backfill in the draft.

The starters fall under varying different scenarios. Crabytree, once the season ended, removed everything 49ers from his social media accounts. A ringing endorsement of his thoughts on the matter. Irregardless, he’s never quite lived up to the level of WR that he thinks he is, and I think he wants a big fat payday. Let Dallas give him money. He won’t get what he thinks he’s worth, but at least he’ll be in Dallas. Happy trails.

Iupati is another starter who likely goes. The 49ers appear to be moving away from the road-grading, straight-ahead blocker they have been favoring in the run-heavy scheme of things. Guards aren’t as hard to find as tackles, so I think they let him go. Brandon Thomas, our supposed 3rd round steal last year, is nearly recovered from his ACL injury in last years pre-draft workout, so there are options already on the team. Backfill in the draft.

Culliver and Cox both played well, and also had off games as well. With Brock hopefully coming back at full strength, one of Cox or Cully will likely go. With the impending hit-and-run, and possession of brass knuckles cases due soon, Cully is probably out. Keep Cox.

Lloyd? Meh. Losing Crabs and Lloyd seemingly weakens our WR corps, and with Stevie Wonder disappearing after a promising start, you’d think we need him, but the hope is we can fill this in through free agency and the draft. With new coaches comes a new offense. One that can hopefully use WRs effectively.

Gore? Well, It shouldn’t be too difficult to sign him to a 2 year, $6-8 mill incentive-laden deal.  His leadership alone would be a big boost to a team that is in need of some strong clubhouse leadership. the same applies to Justin Smith. The ‘smart’ thing may to be cut your losses, but with the wholesale turnover of the coaching staff, some clubhouse stability is needed. Hyde and Hunter should be back from their injuries, so it isn;’t like we will need Gore to carry the ball 20 times a game. 12-15 touches, and we are good.

That’s my $0.02 anyway. What say you?

 

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