As we got a stack of excellent questions and it’s our FIRST EVER MAILBAG here at Nothing But Niners, we’ve decided to answer all of them… * This has meant that we’ve actually split the mailbag into two parts, one that we’re releasing today, and one tomorrow! So without further ado… here’s part 1:
* All of those submitted by lunch on 12th July…
What do you guys think will be headlines regarding the 49ers in March next year, right before free agency? – @jav95
An absolute cracker to kick things off… Based on how active the 49ers were last season in free agency, a lot linking them to the top quarterbacks and wideouts available (assuming some seriously good guys hit the market).
Furthermore, the 49ers will likely be saying goodbye to a lot of Baalke draft picks, so I imagine there will considerable column inches given to analysing the failure of a lot of those guys to get a second deal. Perhaps we will see Carlos Hyde and Eric Reid amongst that group, but expect the likes of Bruce Ellington, Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser, Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine to be on the move, assuming they’re not cut this summer. We could also be waving goodbye to Ahmad Brooks.
I have my doubts that Ellington and Lynch in particular make the 53 this season, but conversely I have some hope that Johnson, Reaser and Carradine (in that latter group) have a solid opportunity to earn themselves a future with the 49ers this season. Any success Carradine has would likely garner some significant attention and more Baalke-bashing due to his mis-casting as a 3-4 player.
What do you think of Kirk Cousins jumping over to the 49ers? Would you be in favour or against? – Joe Montana is GOAT (Niners Nation profile)
Whilst I would not be completely against the move, as Cousins is an upgrade over the guys in the building, I would rather the team looked to draft a quarterback and sat him behind either Hoyer or Barkley for a year to allow him to acclimatise to the NFL.
The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, I think we know Cousins’ level: he is an above average NFL quarterback but is not a guy who is going to out-quarterback the best quarterbacks in the NFL, the kind of guys he’ll be coming up against in the latter stages of the playoffs. He lived in a quarterback friendly scheme with an abundance of weapons. Furthermore the contract that the 49ers would have to sign him to would inhibit them from signing/retaining enough of the players they would require to build a Championship-worthy team around Cousins.
Secondly, the contracts that the 49ers have signed Hoyer and Barkley to are revealing. They are both two year deals, but have easy outs after year one, meaning the man that winds up lower down the depth chart after this season will likely see himself on the street. Yes, this facilitates signing a big name QB in free agency, but it also facilitates the drafting of a rookie quarterback who can sit for a year, learn and not be exposed to a transitional team. The transition from mentor to mentee will be inevitable but can also be much better managed than some we have seen in recent seasons (Keenum-Goff springs to mind). And CJ Beathard? The 49ers will likely know by the end of this year if he has a chance of amounting to anything at all, and he too could force himself into that year two reckoning with good improvement this year, either being mentored by Hoyer/Barkley with a view to taking over in year 3 or even helping a younger guy to adapt along with the older head.
So overall, I fall into the against category.
Which FA WR and which FA QB would you like to see us sign. Assuming all the guys scheduled to hit FA make it to the open market – @jav95_
I’ve addressed Cousins and for the reasons I give above it’s not him. There are a few guys, Drew Brees, Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford who are all scheduled to hit the open market next year but for a range of reasons I wouldn’t take them as the QB.
Right now, I would take Teddy Bridgewater. His knee still carries question marks which would likely reduce his asking price, but, assuming the knee is in reasonable condition, he has the accuracy (best adjusted completion percentage in the NFL in his second season after being third as a rookie per PFF), smarts and the mobility to function well in a Kyle Shanahan offense. There is a lot of untapped potential there.
At WR I’d re-sign Bruce Ellingt… At wideout I’d go with DeAndre Hopkins as more of a true number one receiving option, though only off-field issues saw me decide against Martavis Bryant.
Why haven’t we heard anything about Solomon Thomas signing his contract? – @49sense
We haven’t heard anything about Solomon Thomas singing his contract because he hasn’t signed yet. This in a vacuum isn’t that interesting but, due to one key factor, is somewhat disconcerting to 49ers fans. This key factor is that Thomas shares an agent with last year’s number three pick Joey Bosa, a man who had a well publicised and lengthy holdout as a rookie before he signed his rookie deal.
Clearly this similarity gives fans reason to be worried. There is a growing trend for teams to add offsetting language and deferred payments into rookie contracts, despite the 2011 CBA negotiation that made rookie contracts more team friendly. Bosa’s team came into conflict with the Chargers surrounding deferred payments and offset language in his rookie deal. The Chargers wanted both offsetting language and deferred payments within the deal, but Bosa’s team wanted to ensure that Bosa’s contract featured just one of either offsetting language or deferred payments (in this instance a deferral of part of his signing bonus).
It could well be that the 49ers are also pressing for both and Thomas’ camp are pushing back. This however, would be out of character with the 49ers’ recent negotiations with their first round picks, as the team allegedly paid both Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner their full signing bonuses as rookies. Paraag Marathe, who played a significant role in the Armstead and Buckner negotiations, has been similarly involved in contract negotiations under the new front office.
The Chargers on the other hand have a long history of contentious negotiations with their first round picks, with both LaDainian Tomlinson and Phillip Rivers missing time in camp due to contract holdouts. Though the Chargers have a different GM, they have continued to play hardball in contract negotiations, desiring both deferred money and offset language.
It may well be that the 49ers are making similar demands to the Chargers, but based on their previous record it seems most likely that the hold up for Thomas’ contract is more based on the fact that he’s been largely away from the team. I would expect the 49ers to move quickly to get him involved from either the start of training camp, or from as soon after it commences as is possible. There could well be smaller monetary issues at play, rather than the more significant issues of the team attempting to force both offsetting language and deferred payments into Thomas’ contract.
Look out for part 2…