Baalke plays it cool

This is my Friday column on Trent Baalke.

After Day 1 of free agency, I thought the 49ers’ moves were weak. Not bad, but weak.

Trent Baalke didn’t really do anything. He cut Carlos Rogers, let Donte Whitner leave and replaced him with an older, cheaper safety – Antoine Bethea – traded a sixth-round pick for Blaine Gabbert, and traded a conditional seventh-round pick for Jonathan Martin.

Woo hoo!

Meanwhile, the Broncos signed the top cornerback on the market – Aqib Talib – and the Patriots signed Darrelle Revis to a one-year, $12 million contract.

Now it is Day 4 of free agency, and the 49ers still haven’t done much.

I’m beginning to admire that.

Not the Gabbert trade. That was silly. But I admire everything else Baalke has done this week.

I admire Baalke cutting Rogers. Too old and too expensive.

I admire Baalke letting Whitner go. Not worth what the Browns paid him — $11 million guaranteed. Whitner is a good player, but he struggles when he has to cover tall tight ends. He seemed better than he really was the past few seasons because he played on a great defense and didn’t have to cover tight ends very often – Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman mostly handled that responsibility.

A bad GM would have re-signed Whitner for sentimental reasons. Whitner is a leader in the locker room. He brings “chemistry” to the defense. Those clichés. But Baalke is not sentimental about his players. “See you, Donte. Enjoy Cleveland.”

Enter Bethea, Whitner’s replacement in Santa Clara. One year older than Whitner, and just as fast and just as athletic. Bethea might even be better than Whitner. Bethea certainly is cheaper. The 49ers gave him $6.25 million guaranteed, less than half of what the Browns gave Whitner.

Brilliant move by Baalke.

The Gabbert trade was weak, though. I just can’t get past that one.

A sixth-round pick and more than $2 million guaranteed for a quarterback who may or may not be better than Tim Tebow. Don’t like the comparison? Consider that Tebow completed 42 percent of his passes that traveled between 10 and 20 yards downfield in the NFL. Gabbert has completed 45 percent of those passes.

Not much of a difference.

A waste of time and money and a draft pick. But, the 49ers still have plenty of money and plenty of draft picks. Baalke can and should draft another quarterback and, if he does, we’ll let the Gabbert trade slide.

Now, back to things I admire about Baalke:

I admire him not entering a bidding war for an impact player, like Revis. How many impact players do the 49ers need? The Niners have plenty. Don’t overspend for one more.

I admire Baalke letting the market settle. He’s waiting for a bargain. He’s bringing in cornerbacks and wide receivers every day – Vikings’ free agent cornerback Chris Cook visited the 49ers on Thursday according to the Sacramento Bee. Seahawks free agent corner Walter Thurmond and Patriots free agent wide receiver/punt returner Julian Edelman visited on Friday, and Steelers free agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders will visit the Niners on Saturday, according to ESPN.

If Baalke signs any of those players, Baalke will do it on his terms (he signed Cook to a one-year contract on Friday). Baalke doesn’t have to overspend like Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie. Baalke has a winning team and a new stadium.

Why sign a veteran unless he comes extremely cheap? The 49ers own five of the top-94 picks in the upcoming draft – a talented, deep draft. If there are players in it that Baalke likes, why pay market value for a veteran? Draft choices always are cheaper and usually are healthier.

Baalke holds all of the leverage in these negotiations. “We’re the 49ers, and you’d be lucky just to be a member of this franchise,” – Baalke’s sales pitch.

If Baalke sticks to his cautious, conservative strategy, I will give him an A for free agency.

Actually, an A-minus. I still can’t get over that Gabbert trade.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for the Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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  1. I’m definitely playing Megamillions tonight because I agree almost 100% with everything you just said. What are the chances of that. I also like they kept Dawson. I am still holding out hope that they are renegotiating with Gabbert. At least until they formally announce him.

  2. Grant, even if you feel all of that is true, how could you give Baalke a higher grade than a B? I say this just because he’s done nothing “excellent.” Acquiring Martin and Gabbert? Re-signing Wright? Even if you like the Bethea move, there’s no way it’s excellent.

    1. I give him credit for building up the roster to such an elite level in the first place. You can’t judge the offseason in a vacuum. He didn’t need to make a big splash.

      1. Yep, sometimes the best free agency moves are the ones you don’t make. Signing a big name vet to a massive contract wasn’t necessary, and would have crippled the 49ers salary cap.

        1. To follow on your thinking Scooter. He is working with what he has. And saving for tomorrow when hidden gems at bargain prices are a lot more likely. This is the right strategy when the wealth is in the current players not in the remaining cap dollars.

      2. His an idoit, why wouldn’t they sign a pass rusher and a good CB I don’t really care about the draft!!! The draft it’s for looser hoping they get a good player. Why not get a free agent that will play hard and demand respect

        sign

      3. Grant,
        Unless you add cap dollars to your comments you are not even close to being in the GM’s shoes. All you (and most sports writer’s do) is give broad opinions. GM’s have to spend REAL dollars. Get real. We don’t live in a virtual world. Give your thoughts with dollars attached to specific players. Otherwise it’s all just Jive!

  3. Cool hand Trent. I have no reason to doubt Harbaugh when it comes to Gabbert, and I fully expect a renegotiation with respect to his contract in the near future. Without adding draft picks, the training camp is already taking shape to be brutally competitive. Still need to add that speed receiver……

    1. The 49ers can’t renegotiate Gabbert,s contract until the end of this year based on the current NFL contract with the players union.

      1. My understanding is, as with Kaep, he’s completed his 3rd season under his rookie contract so can renegotiate.

    2. @ Razoreater:
      You like Ole Miss WR Moncrief in the 2nd and Saginaw Valley’s WR Jeff Janis, in the 6th?? Both have size and speed to handle Seattle’s DB’s

        1. I don’t think either of those guys are as good as their combine numbers might suggest. Both guys would make interesting picks though – plenty of raw athleticism to work with, so if they can develop some of the nuances of playing WR (Moncrief is more advanced in this regard than Janis and younger) they could develop into nice WRs.

  4. Great article Grant!
    What do you think of the talk of bringing in a 3rd WR (Edleman, hicks, Ect) will cutoff Pattons growth? I think if Patton is the better player he will play regardless of contracts but what do I know

  5. “I still can’t get over that Gabbert trade.”

    That’s why you are Grant, and HarBaalke, well, are HarBaalke — the QB whisperer whispering advice into Baalke’s ear like that old consigliori: “get me that loser and watch me turn him into a trade bait next season — I’m worth that $8M per year”.

    For another take on the Gabbert trade, I recommend the article in Mike Tanier’s blog:
    http://miketanier.sportsonearthblog.com/49ers-pan-for-gold/

      1. Well, these are all low-risk, high-reward moves. McCoy did not measure up. But I get the feeling that Harbaugh has done more homework on Gabbert since he had tried to recruit Gabbert to Stanford.

        1. That was seven years. So much can change during that amount of time. JaMarcus Russell led his high school team to the Alabama state championship when he was a freshman.

          1. Jamarcus Russell didn’t flop because of lack of talent or ability. He washed out because of sloth. I heard that one of his first quotes after being drafted was “good now I can eat anything I want” He became mega rich instantly when he signed a $61,000,000 contract of which 32 Million was guaranteed. He became a big fat slob with the heart of a hampster. He should never be uesd as a qualifier.
            Now keeping Colt McCoy had me shaking my head but fortunately it was a moot point.

      2. I think the gist of that article was that not every one of these moves has to turn into gold. When those low round picks are at best a 50% chance of making the already stacked roster you only need the occasional speculative trade to pay off for it to be worth it.

      3. The problem with reclamation projects is that you start to believe that you can do anything. You remember the success, but not the failures. The annoying thing about HarBaalke is they love to try to make gold out of junk sometimes and lose out on a talent. The other annoying thing, although there was less of it, is their trying to convert player positions.

      4. Me thinks Gabbert will not be another Colt McCoy.

        Here is my twisted reasoning:

        I was a big fan of Colt out of college. Never was a fan of Blaine out of college. So then the personal inverse theorem applies here — Blaine will be a success story for the Niners.

  6. I’m now convinced there is no quartet combo of owner, president, GM and head coach in the NFL who are anywhere close to York, Marathe, Baalke and Harbaugh in competence and on their ability to work together with a focus on winning.

  7. Grants asks “How many impact players do the 49ers need?
    Just one Grant. They need that one guy that will take them over the top. The kinda guy the 49ers have signed in past years that made a huge difference. A guy like Deion Sanders, Ken Norton Jr. Charles Haley.
    A guy like the Seahawks signed last year in Michael Bennet, Cliff Avril.

    1. I thought the Niners had the best team in the NFL last season, better than the Seahawks. The only reason the Niners didn’t win the NFC Championship was because the red zone offense outside the three-yard line was sub par. That’s mostly coaching.

        1. One thing my brain keeps churning over is how overt the 49ers are being about wanting a smaller, speed WR. Bringing in Edelman and Sanders, attending pro days for Cooks and Herron… potential smokescreen?

          1. No, I don’t think so. We know from two years ago that Baalke wants speed. And if the rookie speedster can’t play WR his rookie year because he’s too low on the depth chart, at least he’ll be able to return punts, unlike Jenkins.

            1. I don’t think it is a smokescreen either, mainly because they really do need to add speed to the offense. But wouldn’t be the first time Baalke has consciously shown interest in a position and gone a different way.

              1. Right behind speed on offense, he needs to add a play maker to the secondary. Somebody like Gilbert….

            2. That brings up the solitary point in your article that I don’t agree with. Your point about a rookie competing in the return game is a good one, but other than that I think Trent believes a team should address immediate need usually through FA and build through the draft. So seeing golden nuggets in a draft class is for the future, not for an urgent need.
              Improving team speed is on the FO’s minds, as it should be. Pitt S Ryan Grant has been on ESPN and he said about the 49ers (paraphrased): Yeah I’d load the box against SF, wouldn’t you?
              I like Edelman, but I doubt he lands in SF for the reasons Grant points out; he wants to get paid and TB doesn’t want to pay too much. Edelman can stay put for a bargain and have a great QB throwing to him.

        2. Even of they gave him a bigger target that would help in the red zone. The three wide will open up more running lanes as well.

      1. A lot of it is coaching, but eventually it’s the players, and the circumstances, and in the end, often just plain luck. Game of millimeters and milliseconds.

          1. He has to improve some this season, not a whole lot, in order to continue on his growth curve.

            That play was an Kap against the best group of DBs in recent years. I rewatched that interception a few times. Kap really did not have time to look the safety away on a quick throw and Chancellor was in the right position. And that mid-air extension by Sherman to tip the ball was just exceptional.

            I saw significant growth in Kap’s red-zone play last season from the (half) season before. If Crabtree had been available earlier last season, Niners would have won the Super Bowl, IMO.

      2. And Kaep, Grant. Kaep has to put that ball where only his guy can get it–or no one at all. See Roethlisberger’s pass to Holmes in their Super Bowl against Arizona.

        Also, I don’t think our secondary would have held up well against the Broncos’ offense in the SB.

        We still need to add another impact player or two to this team and Kaep needs to grow up if we’re going to hoist the Lombardi.

        1. You’re right about Kaepernick.

          I don’t think the Broncos’ offensive tackles would have held up against Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, either.

          The impact player should come in the draft so he’s cap friendly.

          1. The losses of Bowman and Iupati would have made that a tough game. With Iupati I think the Niners would have rolled over Denver’s D and forced it’s O into mistakes against the Niners’ disciplined D. Without Iupati, Denver’s D might have stopped the run and slowed the O down. But it brings up a great point regarding the loss of Bowman. Fangio has kept both ILBs on the field more than anyone in the league with Bowman and Willis. While Bowman is out, will he do the same with Wilhoite? I think he needs to be very creative with his nickel defenses this year (at least until Bowman is back).

          2. CAN we count on drafting a player who will impact our team THIS year? It certainly could happen, don’t get me wrong. But last year’s most productive rookies were guys like Sheldon Richardson, Kiki Alonzo, Eddie Lacy…. Not an overly predictable group. Hot prospects like Tavon Austin, Luke Joekel, Eric Fisher, Millner, Eiffert, etc, made nominal impact. Obviously Reid played well for us last year–but the year before, Jenkins and LMJ didn’t. So I guess what I’m saying is that banking on drafting a rookie who will make the difference for us between winning and losing a Super Bowl–especially with the 30th pick–is serious guesswork.

            1. Sully, that is why I worry about the secondary. It looks to be weaker than last year. Rookies like Reid who can learn fast are a rare breed. GM has a challenge now with some immediate needs.

        2. Thats not a great comparison, Kaeps pass had a much greater degree of difficulty, he had to hit a target the same size as Ben did, but had to rainbow the ball in, increasing the distance and difficulty of the pass, Ben could zing the ball flat and fast, a much shorter easier pass. I’m trying to think of a better comparison, but frankly i’m knackered and cant think.

      3. A big time play maker whether it be on offense or defense could have rectified those RZ issues as well as giving up big yardage plays.
        I think every championship ready team needs to sign that one guy to take them over the top. Depth is good, which they have, BUT, impact plays and players are significant in the NFL.

      4. the title game should have never been played at
        the CLINK, either …

        The title game at the Stick = much different outcome !

        (you can thank the phantom PI call on Breese for that one)

      5. Thank you Iggy!
        .
        I said the same thing over and over and guys roll their eyes at me.
        .
        Talent is not the problem.
        .
        On paper…top-to-bottom…they are the best squad.
        .
        Dead on with that one, buddy.
        .
        And that’s the best part of this whole reclamation process…redzone offense is so FIXABLE.
        .
        This team is not only top-tier NOW but it’s being set up for more long-term success than any other BY FAR.
        .
        We’re in the middle of the BEGINNING!
        .
        .
        .
        ~ALOHA~

      6. Grant,
        You’re in the clouds! Seahawks clearly had the best team. Their secondary was fabulous. I’m a big NINER fan but as a sports writer, don’t be a “homer” all the time! You are not objective enough if you think the 49′ers had the best team. Come-on, man! What about NOT having any real Wide receivers for most of the season! What about our suspect secondary. What about our lack of speed. What about having no slot defender.
        Come-on, man……start over!

      7. No you did not. You told us Seattle was the best team, SF’s draft was not top ten and the Raiders draft was even better, Seattle would win in SF(despite not winning here for 5 years straight) and Dallas and Cinci would be the Superbowl contestants You lie again Grant..

            1. It’s not my fault the 49ers never took a shot into the end zone when the Seahawks handed the Niners the ball in the red zone on the first play of the game.

      1. Scooter, I would have used the $12 mil this year that we allocated toward Bethea, Gabbert, Martin, Kilgore, Wright, Cook, and given it to a shutdown player in the secondary–Revis or Talib, both of whom effectively signed one-year $12 million deals, or Byrd, who will be getting $9 mil a year.

        And that would not have blown all the money, as evidenced by the fact that we are still going after more FAs.

        Then, I would have used the draft to attempt to identify more impact players–but with the knowledge that, because they’re rookies, they’ll probably be more of the backup/fill-in variety in their first years.

        1. Ok, lets say they signed Revis for the same cap outlay they have spent so far (actually less than $12M I believe). Sorry, I can’t include Byrd as an option as he is an ex-college CB that excels as a deep-lying FS – they needed a SS. And no, moving Eric Reid to SS would have been a mistake.

          That would leave them still needing a starting SS (which they would likely need to rely on the draft for, meaning they’d have two inexperienced safeties starting – a bad thing), backup QB, backup OT, and leave their replacement centre on a one-year deal. Not to mention they would still need to draft future starters at CB and WR given current starters would be coming off contract. The draft needs would be far greater, and they’d likely have had to reach for a SS, leaving less draft picks to cover the future needs at CB and WR.

          1. Scooter, this is where you and I split. I don’t consider Gabbert or Martin or Wright or Cook to be viable backups. I’d rather use our mid-round draft picks to fill those rolls–heck, we’ve already covered several times on this board that we don’t have enough roster spots for all our picks. If we went for one impact FA, we could use all our picks for guys to come in and compete.

            Also, Bethea is a much bigger question-mark than we’re giving him credit for. Plus, if you’re right, and we’re really going to keep Reid in centerfield, then there’s REALLY no reason to give Bethea $6 mil. You can find SSs on the cheap in a number of other ways. (and i don’t care what Clev paid Whitner, clev is not a good role model).

            1. Bethea is 3M this season 4.75M next season with 2.5 in dead money if they cut him after 2 years. You are overestimating the cost of the guys the Niners added (except Gabbert and we’ve discussed that). You should check a site like overthecap or niners cap hell so you get the actual figures.

              1. SactoGreg, the figures you cited add up to slightly over $10 mil for 2 years. Plus, Bethea is eligible for an annual $400,000 in per-game roster bonuses throughout the contract’s life. He gets another $100,000 per year in annual workout bonuses. Another $750,000 is available through incentives.

                The truth is though, it’s the fact that I don’t think he’s that good and the $5-6 mil would be better put toward an impact guy.

                In fact, let’s blow up this whole argument… I’d rather have Revis than Bethea+Boldin.

                So there:)

              2. Revis is 7M this season and 5M dead next year which sort of equals Boldin 2.3 + Bethea 3 + Dawson 2. (Since the Niners have way over 51 players under contract every time you add a player, another player drops off the “top 51″ players. Adding 3 players removes about 900k more from the cap than adding one.)

                So would you throw in Dawson too?

              3. Sacto, here are the figures I’m seeing on Boldin–not $2.3 mil. this year… 3/3/2014: Signed a two-year, $12 million contract. The deal contains $5.5 million guaranteed — a $4.545 million signing bonus and Boldin’s first-year base salary. 2014: $955,000 (+ $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses), 2015: $5.5 million (+ $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses)

                But nevertheless, using the numbers you proposed, instead of losing Dawson’s $2 mil, I’d lose Gabbert’s.

              4. Truth is, had Baalke signed Revis, everyone on this board would be ecstatic. Since he didn’t, everyone thinks he was really smart not to. So basically this board is just an opportunity to discuss how smart the Niners are, yes? If so, nothing wrong with that.

              5. Sure, it would have been very exciting to sign Revis. Who wouldn’t be excited to have a great CB? But just because it would be exciting doesn’t make it the only smart move, or even a smart move at all. Very few teams win the SB due to big money signings in free agency. It is generally bad or desperate teams that spend big in FA.

                Getting a good, smart and experienced SS next to Reid was important. I know you don’t like Bethea, so maybe that is why you are so upset. Personally I think Bethea is a great signing, so I’m excited. I’m also excited that they have been able to fill a bunch of other roles, making the draft full of possibilities. They could trade up, back, whatever and go for pretty much any position, and set themselves to be challenging for the title for years to come.

              6. Problem is: what if the players that are leaders of the team don’t like that the FO is paying someone who never played a down for the team much more than they are paying for our stars on defense?

                Then you would still be excited?

            2. Yes, we clearly do split there. I think if the 49ers went into the season with those guys having earned their roles as backups through a tough training camp battle they would be ok. If a draft pick comes and is better, or another guy already on the roster steps up and beats them out, then that is a great thing, but not something you want to rely on.

              Any draft pick or FA is a gamble to some degree. But Bethea fits the style of play the 49ers want from their SS. And the 49ers SS spot isn’t that easy to replace – its not like a TJ Ward or Kam Chancellor role of an extra linebacker. They need to also be good in coverage.

            3. Sully, go back to Scooter’s point. This team has more needs and more opportunities than just one impact player at one position. If they blow all the cap dollars on a Revis what is left to bring in some rookies in what forcasts to be a good draft class?
              So maybe none of those low dollar players pans out still there is money for the in coming signings of rookies and last minute veteran gems by way of trades and/or final cuts.
              Football is a game of high attrition so you want a lot of depth at every position even just to be good in 2014. Throw everything into one impact free agent and what if he gets hurt midway into the season.
              One thing we know about Baalke is he plans for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow…. He loads up on future draft picks when he can, grabs talented but injured players for the future, keeps some cash in the bank and etc. I like this about him; I don’t know if Harbaugh always does?

          2. Not to mention, Baalke is not going bring a player from outside the organization and make him the highest paid player over Willis and Bowman…..

            1. Thank you!

              I believe this is reason number one.

              No Defensive FA is coming to town earning more than Willis, Bowman and Smith.
              It’s just not happening.

            2. I agree Razor! The culture that the Niners have built (at least that’s what I think) is to take care of the players from within. It will be a hard sell to tell someone who’s been a good soldier for the team that we cannot give him what he wants because we just spent $9 million on a safety. Imagine the contract negotiations for guys like Aldon, Crab and CK? And those guys play the premium positions on the team.

            3. Razor, we can’t give an outside star a bigger salary even for just one year? Even to try and win a Super Bowl BEFORE Kaep chokes us out of $18 mil a season? Brady doesn’t seem to mind Revis’ annual salary exceeding his this year.

              1. We can. But we shouldn’t.
                It’s just bad business in the long run.

                Pats may go full win-or-bust mode because their window with Brady is closing.

                Niners can be a strong contender for the next decade. No reason to risk disrupting the team chemistry and/or roster-building culture to go all in just one year.

                Also, usually those big signings never work out.
                How many teams in the last 10 years spent 10+ million in one player in FA and ended up winning the Superbowl ?

        2. I think many here think that the signing of Revis would have mimicked what we got from Dion Sanders back in the glory days, a Superbowl win.

          Nothing is guaranteed in this league. Had we signed Revis and missed the Superbowl this season it would have resulted in a catastrophic signing. Just too much money to spend on a player that has a short stint on the team.

          I was hoping for a Revis signing but only if he put aside the big money contract for a chance at a SB. Perhaps now Revis has the best of both worlds, his big contract and a chance to make a deep ride into the playoffs with the Patriots.

          1. AES, times where very different then. The cap was a very different thing then. The GM back then was able to game the system and borrow heavy on the future.
            The Niner’s payed heavily for that in subsequent years. You could say that one year with Deon cost us many lean years later on.

            Furthermore the Niners truly were one player away from a SB. Free agency had not gutted them like it has to the secondary this year.

  8. Grant:

    Sorry, but you don’t know as much about quarterbacks and NFL quarterbacking as Jim Harbaugh. You can have questions about the Gabbert signing, but to call the trade weak (you realize that the 49ers gave up only a 6th round pick, right?) and to dismiss Gabbert as no better than Tebow is to substitute your judgment for Harbaugh’s, and there’s simply no basis for doing that.

    1. McCoy didn’t work out. They traded a sixth for him, too. A waste. If McCoy didn’t work out, why would Gabbert?

              1. You act as if McCoy was brought in to take Colins job…or that he had to fill in for him at some point last season. Did colin even miss a snap? That’s the life of a backup qb, do nothing, get paid and don’t expect much job security.

              2. Grant
                You slammed the Boldin for a 6th rd pick trade last year saying “he is old and slow” and ” identical to Crab” how did that trade work out for us? I say pretty good. And yes Shannon Sharpe was a sucess as a 7th rounder TWENTY THREE years ago since then 690 players were picked in the 7th rd and not more than a handfull of them made an impact on the team. so IMO the odds of reclamating a “bust” are greater than finding a “gem” in the 6th or 7th rounds. Ginn was a bust in Mia, Whitner was a “bust light” in Buf Rogers was a “bust light” in Was Dorsey was a “bust light” in KC. Did moss edwards and jacobs fail here as reclamation projects? Yes but those mentioned above had sucess and did not do anything to dissuade the 9ers to continue down that path

          1. I don’t think it is a stretch to think any 6th or 7th round picks this year will struggle to make the team. Not impossible of course, but unlikely.

          1. March 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm
            He’s on the street. The 49ers got nothing for him.
            ——————–
            When you renew your insurance policy, if you haven’t filed a claim during the term do you feel like you received nothing for the premiums you paid?

            McCoy was an insurance policy that was never used. If Kaepernick had gone down you would have seen the value in what we paid for him.

      1. Why not? You can go both ways with that question. The point is, with low risk options, very few have to work. If, after a year, they still like Gabbert then they have a a backup. If he is forced to play his second year and does well, then they have trade bait.

        Who can win for the 49ers this coming year if Kaepernick goes down?

      2. Grant,
        Have YOU ever traded a sixth? I’ll answer for you….., uh,….”NO”. You don’t get it! When a GM trades a 6th….do YOU REALLY think they will ALL work out? Hell, no! So what if McCoy didn’t work out…..the niner’s had a backup, didn’t they? And, again, I keep asking you to put some $ numbers to your “opinions”, but you don’t. It’s SO, SO EASY to live in a Virtual world. GM’s deal with the cap? You don’t even refer to it. Get, REAL, man…..your not making it unless you start to do some real analysis. It’s a RELATIVE world….get it…relativity. It’s NOT an absolute world. I can tell YOU all the players the NINERS should have gotten….but, guess what…..NO team could afford it.
        Start giving your opinions with cap space analysis or otherwise it is a total waste of time, especially when you criticize the decisions without having any clue as to what the alternatives really were. The niner’s FO and Harbaugh are doing a marvelous job, regardless of what your sometimes meaningless opinions are! Start assessing the real possibilities that exist, not the idealistic ones that you continue to opine about.

    2. CB, this forum is for people to speak their opinions about the moves the team has made. You could say to anyone that they haven’t the experience of Harbs, which is true.

      HOWEVER… And this is where the shift happens. Sometimes coaches/GMs develop cloudy judgement. It happens in every profession. And it especially seems to happen in major sports. That’s why sometimes we’re even more objective than the experts.

      For example, is it a plus or a minus that Harbs had recruited Gabbert? That’s an interesting question, because he may have an opinion on what he thought the kid could have been, where we’re simply analyzing what he’s actually done. Who’s right?

      1. That’s why sometimes we’re even more objective than the experts.

        I don’t want to be rude, but that’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

        1. CB, I’ll give you a great example. For some reason the Steelers continue to pay Polomalu the same as a guy like Byrd–they should have cut him, but their allegiance to him clouds their judgement. Just as your allegiance to anything 49er-related seems to cloud yours.

          1. Actually that example makes the point against yours.

            The Steelers keep paying Polamalu for what he have played in the past, when they should realize he is not playing like that anymore.

            You keep believing that Gabbert is garbage because for what he have played in the past, when you should realize that with a better coaching staff and much better players around him he may not play that bad anymore.

            Not saying it will happen but it is a plausible possibility and a 6th rounder is a small price for the chance to see if it happens.

        2. You mean like an infinite number of monkeys with type writers (computers please), and an infinite amount of time are sure to write Hamlet.

          How about this. If you accumulate an infinite number of guesses, then at least one of them will be right some of the time.

        3. I don’t mean to be rude either but we may arguably be more objective however we have a whole lot smaller data base to work from. We are outsiders looking in a small window at the guys with the high powered lenses. That leaves us to interpret the glimmers and reflections and thus puts us squarely in guestimation land.

  9. According to Matt Barrows, the 49ers are now just a little under 4 million against the cap. I’m beginning to wonder what Ballke has planned? Is an unforseen trade coming soon? A cut that wouldn’t leave signifigant dead money?

    1. They’ll be getting an extra $6.1 million in cap space come June 1 when Carlos Rogers goes off their books.

  10. How much input do you all think Harbaugh has had in these decisions? And since we’ve focused on suring up our defense through free agency, does that mean we’re taking a WR in the 1st rd.

  11. Grant, Gabbert might be a “waste of time and money”, but I’m fine with chucking the late draft pick.

    Replacing talent lost to free agency with late draft picks improves the 49ers compensatory 2015 position. The value of those 6th-7th rounders could actually be less then the value lost compensatory value… say from a 4th down to a 5th.

    For example… the 49ers are in line for a 3rd/4th round compensatory pick. Had the the 49ers acquired free agent talent instead of trading for Boldin, the upcoming compensatory pick would likely drop to a 4th/5th rounder. A major loss.

    If the 49ers are awarded a 3rd round compensatory, we can thank Baalke for chucking that 6th round junk pick on Boldin instead of shopping for more free agents.

    1. in short… when Baalke thinks a player’s about to get cut, he trades a late junk pick for him instead. The compensatory value is (often) worth far more then the 6th or 7th rounder.

      1. Good teams usually lose more free agent talent then gained.

        Baalke likes to replace the lost lost talent by trades because trades don’t affect the (semi-secret) compensatory formula.

        Trading junk picks (sometimes) affects a net gain in draft value. Clearly the Boldin deal did. That 3rd rounder is going to come in handy in this years talent deep draft.

    1. And Browner to the Pats.

      That gives the Pats Revis, Browner, Dennard, Ryan, Arrington at corner and McCourty at safety. Peyton can’t be thrilled about that.

    1. makes you wonder why he didn’t take the 49ers deal that was presumably on the table- ?
      Personally, I would have liked to see him stay. Who knows, perhaps we get Rogers back on a 1 yr deal for 2.5ish……. I know there is a lot of bashing towards him, but that would certainly provide a cheap security blanket in the short term dependent upon how the draft shakes out. My $.02
      BTW- thanks for all of the college scouting insight by the contributors here. I am a season ticket holder, but don’t watch college ball, so before the draft I like coming here (other sites tend to seem to be written by 14 year olds yelling).

  12. “But Baalke is not sentimental about his players. “See you, Donte. Enjoy Cleveland.””

    TB revealed it when he said about Jonathan Martin, ““Any time we acquire a player we give him a clean slate . . ” To him, players are acquisitions, pieces in a game. It’s not personal with him, and if you were York, you wouldn’t want it otherwise.

    On the other hand, JH is the personal one. “Pay the man!” he said, in reference to Dawson. Which is why the players give their all for him.

  13. I mostly agree with the moves so far. Yeah, Gabbert is a bit underwhelming, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he doesn’t make the roster, the way the niners play the qb roster shuffle. But the real proof in the pudding still be how he drafts, especially if he can draft a good wide receiver.

  14. If it were their intention to have Gabbert slide into the 2nd qb role this year, it’s a head-scratcher to me. After their signed Kaep, he didn’t slide in. I have to believe they plan on grooming him.

  15. Grant,

    This is a perfectly picky point, but if he doesn’t, what will be your action to indicate that you’re not letting the Gabbert trade slide? And is that the royal we?

    “if he does, we’ll let the Gabbert trade slide.”

  16. Brown now a raider. We will have a new look secondary next year. Still believe we are taking a dominant pass rusher in the 1st. Unless tank can handle the fold

    1. It’s kinda crazy that about the same time last year that most people were worried about our secondary. And the only FA additions that made it to the 53 man roster were Namdi and Wright (unless I’m missing someone) and this is after the fact that Culliver was out for the year. And yet, the Niners secondary was in the top-five on most meaningful category, and that’s because we have a DOMINANT front-7!

    1. I think Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins, an improved Hightower, and Mayo returning is a pretty good start for that Pats front 7. I think they’ve surged ahead of the Broncos who, aside from Talib, have a pretty poor secondary–and of course NO 4-3 linebackers.

      1. It’s crazy that teams like the Pats, Broncos and Saints have all of a sudden invested a lot of money in the defensive side of the team. I think the Niners success in the last three years and Seattle winning it all last year might have something to do with it.

  17. As an insurance policy…they should bring in Mr. Miyagi to do that karate stuff on Culliver’s knee like he did on Daniel-san before the big match.
    .
    .
    .
    ~ALOHA~

  18. Baalke gets a B+ from me for now. The Gabbert move puts a sour slant on the FA signees imo.

    But I agree with Grant that Baalke has a winning team and for that reason we did not need to plunge in deep FA waters.

    The draft will have greater implications than FA because we will need to draft and groom players that can become stars 2-3 years down the road when the Bethea’, Martin’ and Cooks’ along with many of our current players under contract may be on move.

    The jury is still out on Baalke’ 2013 draft because he had the luxury of not having to plug any immediate holes on either offense or defense. Players like Dial, Carradine, and Lattimore will get their chance this year to show if Baalke’ throw of the dice (on injured players) comes up a winner.

  19. Man you guys are killing me here. Brown and now Dixon!
    I said this before; if they don’t sign Brown then CB is a priority which makes it a need in the draft. Best Available may have just gone out the window? I can hear the draft boards rearranging from WR to CB for Niners.

  20. Even if we had re-upped Brown there has been a strong sense that we would take a CB with our 1st or at worse our 1st pick of the 2nd rd.

    Brown is a talent, but we have Culliver back in the mix and the signing E.Wright shows that the Org has confidence in him as well.

    We still won some big games last year when Willis went out for a few games. People like D.Skuta and M. Wilhiote filled in admirably.
    We have enough big time players on our defense to keep this team playoff and who knows, perhaps SB strong.

  21. ESPN report Dixon will sign with the Bills tomorrow.

    Though he never developed into an effective full time back, Boobie was a high energy player with special teams value. His running was gradually getting better, but not enough to be retained.

    I don’t know what kind of offense the Bills run, but to me Dixon’s upright style is more suited to running from a deep I formation behind student body left/right blocking. Darting through little creases behind trap blocks and power plays was just not his thing. Hope he has a good career with the Bills.

  22. Baalke needs to deliver in the draft. In addition to CB, WR, and safety, the team needs help at ILB, center, offensive tackle, and DL.

    1. They don’t really NEED draft picks at some of those positions per se. For example:

      - Typically only have 8 OL on the roster, and already have Staley, Iupati, Kilgore, Boone, Davis, Snyder, Looney and Martin (+ others like Netter, Bykowski, Marquadt)
      - Typically only have 6 DL on the roster, and already have J. Smith, McDonald, Dorsey, Williams, Carradine, Dobbs, Dial and Jerod-Eddie – going to be a brutal TC at DL, especially if they draft another guy (unless they take Easley who will likely spend the year on IR)
      - At ILB, even with Bowman on PUP or IR, they have Willis, Wilhoite, Moody and Skuta can play there too (as well as Fleming coming back from injury)
      - At safety they already have Reid, Bethea, Dahl, Spillman and Ventrone

      Really the only positions they still have some needs at are WR and CB. They will likely still draft some guys at most if not all of those other positions, but hardly necessary.

      1. Scooter, this puts things in good perspective, thanks. Your safety suggests they need much better depth and an eventual successor to Bethea. Not saying you don’t know that, because, the Bethea issue aside, if Reid goes down — concussions — no one wants Dahl in there. To me, that, CB and WR are their biggest draft needs. Their OL is overrated and it’s believed Iupati is being difficult to extend, so I can easily see them drafting up at guard, unless they think Looney is the answer. (Wonder why they don’t switch Davis and Boone.) Re CB, it’s obvious TB really wants Sherman-type guys, but this year they are not in round 1, so will he draft a CB there? The more I think about it, the more I think that if he trades up in round 1 it will be for a safety — just a guess — and that he will do most if not all of his drafting in rounds 2-4.

        1. Yeah, I get the feeling the 49ers are ok with Dahl and Spillman as the backups. I doubt they see safety as that big a need as to take one in round 1 – Reid and Bethea are both signed for a few more years. Especially given the safeties in the draft this year aren’t great. I think they’ll take a safety later on. Someone like Dezmen Southward that has crazy athletic talent and should be a demon on special teams.

          As for CB, I think both Gilbert and Fuller will be attractive prospects to Baalke in the first round. Gilbert is that big, fast CB he’s after, and Fuller provides a good sized CB that can play outside or slot.

          At this point I’m definitely thinking CB or WR in the first round.

            1. I would say probably because he is a FS, and everyone has been focused on SS.

              I’m not the biggest fan of Reynolds though. He does some thing well, but he seems to take himself out of the play too often – either moving the wrong way initially or taking a poor angle. That sort of thing will lead to some big plays against the team in the NFL. Might be able to coach that out of him, but at Stanford he’s already had pretty good coaching…

        1. Last year (before the draft) they lost Dashon Goldson, Alex Smith, Delanie Walker, Randy Moss, Ted Ginn, Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky-Jean Francois, Mario Manningham for most of the season due to a knee injury, Leonard Davis and David Akers.

          Before the draft they replaced them with FA signings or trades for Craig Dahl, Anquan Boldin, Colt McCoy, Dan Skuta, Glenn Dorsey, Marlon Moore, Adam Snyder and Phil Dawson.

          I may be missing a few people, not sure. I haven’t included post draft acquisitions. Aside from the acquisition of Boldin for a 6th round pick, none of those acquisitions were big name players. They were just filling holes left by departing FAs and trying to take away major needs leading up to the draft.

          It is the same approach they have taken this year.

          1. Boldin, Skuta, and Dorsey were all solid pick ups last year. Drafting Reid made up for the loss of Dashon. I’m hopeful that they’ll find a solid CB in the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also draft a OLB/pass rushing specialist or an ILB in the early rounds.

  23. I do know 1 thing. I wish the Niners had picked up Peanut Tillman for 3.5 mil this year and 3 mil next year. He’s a playmaker at corner and he could have taught our young secondary a lot. He knows all the tricks of the trade and he could’ve started opposite of Brock. He’s better than brown and he gets turnovers big time. That guy is good!

    1. Age issue? The guy doesn’t want to move his family to the West Coast? I think there is too much we don’t know.

      1. He’s old, had most of his success in a cover 2 scheme, missed most of last season due to injury, and when he did play he was awful.

    1. I think it’s the Broncos who know their window is shut and locked after THIS season with all the FA’s they are going to lose next year. Pats still have a few years left.

    1. CFC, this is definitely a pure business decision by Brown and his agent. They obviously think that the market will be better for him next year. I wonder though if he asked the Niners for only a one yr deal before signing with the raiders? Like you said the money offered per yr was almost the same. If not, maybe he is partly blaiming the Niners FO for that money he lost last yr.

    2. It’s about guaranteed money. His whole salary in Oakland is guaranteed. Not sure how much of the niner’s contract was guaranteed. Also, he doesn’t have to move. He gets to stay here. He might be still upset about his agents mistake of telling him of his off season training regimen that costs him millions.

      1. He hired a new agent. The 49ers deal was a long term deal that would have made him the starter on a SuperBowl contender. The annual salary was $200,000 less then the one year guarantee deal by the Raiders. He chose 200k in guaranteed money for one year instead of signing on to be our starter for the long term. You really think he made the right choice?

        1. CFC,

          I get the feeling the Niners may have pulled their offer. Brown made a statement that the Niners told him they wanted to go younger and bring in some other guys.

          1. That could be, Im going off of MM’s article that mentions that the 49ers made an offer of 3 yr/10M and Brown rejected it.

            1. I get the feeling the Niner’s thought they had this one in the bag and were caught by surprise by move taken by Brown and agent. Now they have a hole to fill.

  24. Note to Coach Harbaw:
    no matter what kind of material Baalke
    gives you for 2014/2015,
    if you fail (again) to bring home a Lombardi trophy,
    then you suck eggs.
    Pete Carroll sez: I got mine… already.

  25. Coffee
    Brown also figures he will start for Oakland which he would not do for the Niners. If he plays well he can then get a bigger contract next year. Makes sense if he performs.

      1. Brown lost his job to Brock, and Cully is physically akin to Patrick Peterson, so it’s reasonable to say Brown wouldn’t have started.

        1. That is news to me too. I never heard that he lost his job to Brock. I think he would have been the starter or at the least competing for it.

          1. he didn’t lose his job to brock……T Brown was our top cb………..i see TB trading up in the 1st round to get a cb………

            we need an elite cb,…….. brock and culliver are not elite….

  26. I have to believe that if the Niners we sure he was going to be their starter they would have paid him what the Raiders did or close to it. So either they didn’t offer him starters money because they want to improve the position thru the draft or Brown wanted to play for the Raiders. If that is the case then good luck to him.

    1. The 49ers DID offer the better deal, they offered nearly the same salary but over 3 years instead of just one! Not only that but it was a similar long term salary on a team that could win the SB which brings bonuses itself. Everything about the 49ers deal was better and suggested they wanted him to be their starter. He took the one year deal because he wanted a guaranteed salary for a year while he tried to build up his stock for a bigger FA strike in 2015.

      1. Yes he took the gamble and maybe some bad advice from an agent as well. I mean good luck with that move TB. Your stock likely won’t go up if the Raiders have another bad year.
        As I said before I think this illogical move caught the Niner’s by surprise.

  27. So he thinks playing for the Raiders will get him a better deal as a FA. So why didn’t the Niners simply give him a one year deal if they wanted to keep him?

    1. Because they already offered the better deal and it was what they were willing to pay him. If he wanted to make a poor decision they can’t force him to sign and since they aren’t the Raiders they aren’t going to make a poor business decision just to keep him.

      1. Clearly the Niner’s wanted to lock him in too a longer contract because they value his playing skills. A three year contract to me also says he would most likely have been a starter. They respected his game skills, they underestimated his common sense.

        This one hurt and brings CB need front and center.

          1. Browns first contract with the 49ers was 3 yr/$ 7.125m. Their second offer(3yr/$10M) was a 40% raise for a player that missed significant time last season and although considered good would hardly be called elite. I think their offer was more then fair.

            1. Not to mention the man hours of coaching it took to get him where he is today….He was by no means a finished product coming out….

            2. It was reported (MM) that Brown turned down 17M over 4 (1M more than what Brock accepted) during the season. Looks like he should have taken that deal.

        1. As someone who watches very little college football and no youtube “film” on draft prospects, I’d be very interested in detailed breakdowns of the WR/
          CB/S in this draft as a post, instead of sprinkled in with your comment responses. It’s a little harder to keep track of these guys when your descriptions are in the comments.

          1. @Greg
            May I suggest you google 2014 NFL draft prospects and surf around? You will need to form your own opinions on the accuracy/usefulness of the various sources. I try to read a lot and form my own guesses from the totality. Then voices on here shape my guesses further.
            This careful study and analysis has lead me to never guess right on Baalke except for Aldon Smith. Got that one; nothing since.

            1. I was interested more in Grant’s opinion. It’s basically impossible to find the detailed analysis he gives in his responses in the comments section. Would be much easier to find if it was in a blog post.

    1. Yes, good call. Gilbert, Fuller and Roby will all probably interest Baalke in the first round.

      There are a bunch of later round guys too that fit their “preferred” ideal of big CBs that can run – some of them with experience at safety that they may try to convert. Keith McGill, Marqueston Huff, Dontae Johnson, Jaylen Watkins, Brandon Dixon, to name a few.

            1. Wright had been injured and hadn’t gotten much practice time since coming off the PUP list. Cox had a full offseason and most of the season (bar a few weeks at Seattle) to learn the playbook. If they preferred Cox over Wright, Cox would currently be on the roster and Wright would be the one looking for a job.

              1. You really think the 49ers signed Wright with the intention of him being the No.1 slot cornerback?

              2. No, I think they signed Wright with the intention of letting him compete for the slot CB role. They’ll draft someone to play the slot as well. I just disagree the person HAS to start day 1.

              3. And if they do feel they need to draft a CB to play the slot from Day 1, then Fuller is the one they will take. Gilbert and Roby don’t have much experience in the slot as far as I am aware.

              4. Stranger things have happened Grant. How much money would you have put on Brock being a starter after beginning the season as the fourth best CB on the roster?

              5. Wright could earn it, but I doubt the 49ers will give him the job before training camp starts. Seems if the 49ers were interested in Thurmond, the 49ers are looking for an upgrade over Wright. If the 49ers like Fuller or Roby or Verrett, why pay for Thurmond?

              6. And if they do feel they need to draft a CB to play the slot from Day 1, then Fuller is the one they will take.

                It’ll be Verrett.

              7. “It’ll be Verrett.”

                Doubt it. Look at the guys the 49ers have used in the slot the past few years. Rogers and Cox are both 6’0″ and Wright is 5’11″. They want their slot CB to be able to match up against big and small slot WRs, and be able to help against the run. Fuller would be the pick.

                If they don’t mind having Wright start for a bit, then Roby would probably be the pick. He’s got the mindset for the slot, just not the experience.

              8. “Seems if the 49ers were interested in Thurmond, the 49ers are looking for an upgrade over Wright.”

                I think they are simply after competition for the spot. They don’t want to head into the season with Wright the undisputed starter. At this point I think they will go down the draft route to get their competition for Wright, but the guy they go for will also be a boundary CB, like Carlos Rogers was. Gilbert, Fuller and Roby are the 3 most likely picks in my opinion.

              9. Sadly, yes. I really was hoping for one of the top WRs this year…

                Oh well, at least there is good depth at the position. At this point I am thinking they’ll move up to mid 2nd to take one of Matthews, Robinson, Adams or Benjamin (whoever is left), and then take a guy like Herron in the 3rd to add the speed receiver.

                They could also look at a guy like Jacoby Ford in FA on a cheap 1-year deal.

              10. WRs:
                Boldin
                Crabtree
                Patton
                (Matthews)
                (Herron)
                (Osgood)

                CBs:
                Brock
                Culliver
                Wright
                Cook
                Morris
                (Fuller)

                Who doesn’t fit? Osgood, right?

              11. Doesn’t look half bad does it?

                If they go with just 5 CBs, then I’d say Cook will struggle to make the team unless there is an injury or he plays lights out in TC.

              12. Not half bad at all.

                1. Kyle Fuller
                2. Jordan Matthews
                3. Deone Bucannon
                4. Robert Herron

                The 49ers’ top-four picks?

              13. Right now, I’d go:

                1. Fuller/ Roby
                2. Matthews/ Robinson/ Adams/ Benjamin
                3. Hyde
                4. Herron

                What is interesting though is that post the first few days of FA, CB would appear to now be one of the top needs remaining for quite a few teams. Will Roby or Fuller be available at #30?

              14. Very interesting. Hyde makes sense.

                And that’s true, Roby and Fuller could be gone at 30. What would you do in that case?

              15. If CBs are gone before #30, and Baalke doesn’t trade up, I’d go back to the plan of taking the best WR available and get a CB later on – one of the ones I mentioned earlier in the thread.

                I’m betting Baalke moves up for a CB though. He doesn’t like to miss out on his guy.

              16. Another guy I could easily see the 49ers taking with one of their first 4 picks is DaQuan Jones. Yes, they already have lots of bodies on the DL, but Jones would be a great fit able to play any position along the line in the base 3-4 and as a DT in the 4-man front.

              17. You don’t think Martin is more of a 4-3 LDE? I’m not sure which position he’d play for the 49ers. If anything he’s more like Carradine, so I don’t think he really fits…?

              18. He’s just as effective, if not more so, when playing from variety of alignments or from a two-point stance. He was best when used in a variety of ways in a single game, not kept in a traditional end role. He’ll probably never be a full-time stand-up rusher, but he thrived moving around pre-snap and rushing from an up position….

              19. That would seem to suggest he’d be better off transitioning to OLB for the 49ers, and playing end on 4-man fronts. I still think he provides better value for a 4-3 team than a 3-4 team.

              20. It will be interesting to see how they use Peppers. He’d be wasted playing as a 3-tech or 5-tech on base downs, and they have Mathews, Perry and Neal to play the OLB/DE roles that Aldon and Brooks play for the 49ers. I imagine he will be part of the OLB/DE rotation in the base formation, and then play significant time on passing downs as a DE/DT.

                I could see Martin playing a similar role if the 49ers took him. Probably wouldn’t get used extensively in the base formation, but would play as a DE/DT in the 4-man front. Similar to what the Seahawks do with Bennett.

              21. Bingo Scooter. That’s exactly how I was envisioning him fitting into that defensive rotation. Bennett is a good example….

              22. I just can’t see Roby or Fuller being available when the 49ers pick at 30. Both Philadelphia and San Diego pick before us, and they both need a quality CB. I believe that Roby and Fuller will land with them.

                I know the type of CBs (let alone players) that Baalke likes to target Scooter, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Verrett’s stock falls in the second round due not only to his short stature but his torn labrum that will keep him out of action until the beginning of training camp at the earliest. If he does indeed fall that far, then Baalke should go get him.

            2. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Wright can’t be the starter in the slot. I think Baalke will still draft a CB to defend the slot, but Wright could very easily hold onto that position.

              1. Baalke prefers Wright. He’s already set him up for success by making Cook his competitor….

    1. How many drops did he have as well as what kind of routes was he running. Was he mostly targeting him down field where the completion % is naturally lower anyway?

  28. Bashaud Breeland is the guy Baalke should target in the second round. He should trade up for Evans if he gets past Detroit….

    1. I see Breeland improved his 40 time from 4.62s at the combine to around 4.55s. If history is any guide, Baalke covets two things in his CBs – size and speed. I don’t know that Breeland is the CB that Baalke will want.

      1. I think he’d be a steal, especially with Donatell working with him. He’s fast on the field and has the length, long arms. Plays his best in press, and the bonus is he’s a monster gunner….

        1. I really like him too. But will Baalke?

          The only other CB I can think of that has been on the roster in recent years that didn’t run a sub-4.5s 40 was Perrish Cox. And he had value as a slot CB. I just don’t think Breeland has the speed Baalke wants on the perimeter.

          1. He’d be a first round pick had he stayed in school. Maybe Baalke should watch that interception against Syracuse. Length and long arms that extend sometimes make up for world class speed….

            1. Yeah, don’t have to convince me razor, I’ve been a fan of his for a while. Just pointing out he doesn’t appear to meet the criteria that Baalke looks for in a CB.

              1. I know what I’d prefer.

                But, coming away with Roby/ Fuller & Matthews/ Robinson/ Adams/ Benjamin would be pretty darn good too. And it would provide a CB that fits Baalke’s blueprint and can play either inside or outside.

              2. The fact that the 49ers believe this draft is deep at cornerback leads me to believe they won’t take one in the first round. Maybe that’s what they want me to believe….

              3. I really think he’d be better off adding that speed element to the offense, if Harbaugh is serious about more 3 wide receiver sets allowing Kaepernick to show what he can do….

  29. Remember 2011…when everyone wanted the 49ers to get Nnamdi and they waited and waited, and a few days went buy and they then signed David Akers and everyone was up in arms? And then the next day or so they signed Braylon Edwards, and then they signed Carlos Rogers, and Donte Whitner, and Jonathan Goodwin. And all the media “experts” were up in arms, poking fun at the niners “Baalke’s big splash is a kicker?”. And then the 2011 season happened, Akers won many big games, Rogers was a pro bowler, Whitner was a quality starter, Goodwin shored up an amazing Oline and Edwards was cut after being hurt.

    That right there should make everyone kind of shoosh. It seems to me that the guys know what they are doing. Would you rather be the Raiders or the Redskins of the worlds…always paying huge amounts for guys that never live up to it?

    1. I would love to have as much kap room as the raiders, but we are already past our rebuilding efforts. W. are legitamte contenders. Year in and out now. We have to capitalize on our talent now. NO team is 100% successful through the draft. So we have to pick our spots. We have a chanceto win a super bowl this year while we have kap at a low number and crab 100% healthy. He’s not gonna be here next year because somebody will outbid us. So my only thing is, go all in while we can. Win with what we have built by adding a missing peice. Nobody we can get in this draft is our missing peice to our super bowl. I love this team til death do us part, but i hope we are building for now as well as the future. I dont want to be alwayson the “verge” of winning. Me as well as all of u want to win dammit. But oh well. Go harbaugh, go balkee. Get us #6

      1. Teams that build through F/A never produce. Going all in for a player or two, while a nice sentiment to the fans, typically backfires and, in many cases, cripples your team. When was the last time the Pats went “all in” for a certain player? Never. They went somewhat in for Revis, but his contract is structured in a way that it won’t send the team into salary cap hell. What the Broncos are doing though, thats idiotic. Its like they see that Peyton has 1 year left and they are going all in for a title or bust…and if history has proven anything, it will bust because teams that lose the SuperBowl almost never get back to the Super Bowl, let alone win it.

        Build through the draft…restock players with smart scouting and drafting. In f/a you get guys whose value is low and with your superior coaching and scheme, you turn them into quality starters. Look at a lot of the guys who were with the niners recently and how their careers have panned out when they left. I hope SF turns into NE West…who really were just SF East.

    1. I can’t help but be less than enthused about the possibility of signing Sanders. Good speed and acceleration, but he flattered to deceive at the Steelers. He’s not the deep threat his speed might suggest, he has a history of dropping the ball, and he’s injury prone. There is a reason a team in need of WRs is willing to let him test the market.

  30. @Hammer, you jumped the gun….ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Broncos are expected to sign free agent Emmanuel Sanders.

  31. With low money in cap and bein shunned by free agents..I think this means were gonna go all out in the draft.and make moves before trade deadline in the middle of the season..Hopefully some of the practice squad guys can show something..

  32. These are the best options remaining on the free agent WR market from what I have seen:

    James Jones
    Kenny Britt
    Miles Austin
    Jacoby Ford
    Darrius Heyward-Bey
    Josh Cribbs

  33. I’m convinced that Baalke’s strategy is to get other teams to panic and drive up the price on WR and CB in the free agent market. Then, better prospects fall in the draft and he can grab them at a lower price. Broncos, pats, and these others aren’t going WR/CB early. They paid FA’s a bunch, they’re going to play.

  34. Now that we have a better idea of what the 49ers are likely to need through the draft, time for an updated mock! First off, I still see CB and WR as the top two needs in the draft. I no longer see safety as a need though.

    Trade 1 (30) and 2 (29) for 1 (24) and 3 (22) from the Bengals. The Bengals probably have the most to gain of any team in the early 20s through trading back to #30 – they are the most likely to simply go BPA and there will still be good value at #30 to make swapping their 3rd for a 2nd worthwhile.

    1 (24). Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State. Roby fits Baalke’s desire for bigger CBs that can run. He has great speed, is good in press coverage and hits well. Has the skills to play the slot too.

    Trade 2 (24) and 3 (30) for 2 (14) and 4 (18): The Steelers are down a pick in the 3rd round, and I’m assuming they’d be happy to switch their 4th rounder for an extra pick in the top 100.

    2 (14). Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt. Matthews is a pro ready prospect with great size and decent athleticism. A noted very hard worker – won’t fail for lack of trying.

    3 (13). DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State. Jones would be a nice fit for the 49ers backing up across the line, and eventually replacing either McDonald as the 5-tech or potentially the starting NT. Good size, length and ability to get push against double teams. Good bull rush. 49ers already have lots of bodies at the position, so this would make for a brutal TC at the position, but I think the DL depth can be improved.

    Trade 3 (22 – from Bengals) and 4 (29) for 3 (15) from Ravens. Ravens are down a 4th rounder. Moving down 7 spots to regain a 4th would seem to make sense.

    3 (15). Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson. Even with the addition of Matthews, the 49ers would lack speed at WR. Bryant has speed to burn as well as + height for the position. He’s a natural athlete with strong hands to bring in contested catches downfield. He needs to clean up his route running and concentration, but he has the raw talent to be a very good deep threat WR.

    Trade 4 (18 – from Steelers) and 7 (27) to move up to around 4 (12 – 15).

    4 (12 – 15). Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana. Tripp would play ILB for the 49ers. Good speed and tough. Willing to take on blockers and attacks runners and holes hard. Good play recognition and good in coverage.

    4 (comp). Bryan Stork, C, Florida State. Smart, durable and experienced centre for one of the most explosive offenses in college football.

    5 (30). James Wilder Jr, RB, Florida State. Would look to earn the role replacing Dixon as the short yardage back.

    7 (28). James Franklin, QB, Missouri. Fits the mold of athletic, developmental QB in the same vein of BJ Daniels last year.

    7 (30). Shamiel Gary, SS, Oklahoma State. Good size and is pretty good in coverage. Closes well on the football and gets himself into good position to make plays on the ball. Also a pretty good tackler and can hit.

    1. Round 1 Pick 30: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (A)
      Round 2 Pick 24: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota (A)
      Round 2 Pick 29: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (A)
      Round 3 Pick 13: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State (A)
      Round 3 Pick 30: Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas (A)
      Round 4 Pick 29: Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming (A)
      Round 5 Pick 30: Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville (B-)
      Round 7 Pick 27: Dezmen Southward, SS, Wisconsin (C-)
      Round 7 Pick 28: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma (C-)
      Round 7 Pick 30: Cairo Santos, K, Tulane (C)

      1. Razor, thanks for taking the time to put this together. I have a few questions about your picks:
        1. I assume you would want Gilbert to start some time this year. If so, where would you play Brock and Culliver? And who would be your slot receiver? Wright? Culliver?
        2. I assume Southward, as a 7th rounder, is not your guy to eventually replace Bethea. Are you thinking that would be Culliver?

        1. George, thanks but this was a draft I did at first pick. I don’t expect Gilbert to be available at 30, or even Hageman and Hyde. Gilbert would compete for his place, and probably take the slot and punt return duties. Yes, Southward has all the physical traits Baalke looks for and Donatell would have plenty to work with for a future Safety and current special teams ace…..

          I still think a speedy wide receiver is the priority in the first round. Either OBJr. or Cooks. I think Baalke could trade up realistically for OBJr., and still have enough left to get back into bottom of the first round for Roby or Fuller if still available….

      2. DT – we are over stocked with DLine
        RB – possible but not that high
        C – just signed kilgore and doubt OL will get any attention in rd 3
        SS – rd 7?
        K – not a chance

    2. Nice one, Scooter. A lot of trades, but who knows? One (of many) loose thoughts rattling around in my noggin is good old J.Jones. It seems to me he likes to hunt, not graze, at the draft. He can get locked-on a player. If his high choice isn’t there, he could be a trade partner again. It would be pricey so Trent would have to be mad for somebody.

    3. No trade mock:(1) Brandon Cooks WR speed and hands;(2) Dominic Easley -our red shirt DL beast of 2014 (Tank Carradine and Easley a daunting pair for our future DL);(2b) Donte Moncrief-WR Grant and I disagree here but Moncrief in the right program will be a dynamo ,paired with Cooks -watchout!;(3)Travis Swanson C imo best center in the draft;(3b)Jaylen Watkins CB;(4) I’m stealing one from Scooter here-LB Jordan Tripp I have viewed him as an OLB but not just Scooter see him as having ILB capability and they might just be right!;(4-comp)Craig Loston SS future pair up with Reid a tandem again!;(5)M Huff- FS;(7)Spencer Long OG redshirt;(7b) Tre Millard TE/RB utility man.

  35. Baalke’s decision not to chase most of these overpriced, underperforming FA’s just shows why the Niners (and Seachickens) are built for the long term and a couple steps ahead of everyone else. I get what the Pats and Bronc’s are doing, but man, they are mortgaging their future. Not to mention, neither has drafted particularly well in recent years.

  36. Thurmond signing with the Giants and Sanders never showed up to meet with the 49ers and will sign with the Broncos.

              1. Don’t know. I always got the sense that Antonio Brown got the bulk of the snaps in the slot.

              2. Here we go Grant, (14.3%) out of his total 537 routes in the slot position. Steelers used him primarily outside. I still was wary of this guy due to the foot injuries, and figured Patton is close to the same type of receiver…..

              3. Sanders is a better fit for the Broncos than the Niners. Peyton can elevate talent, make Sanders better.

          1. Guess not. As long as your QB hasn’t already decided to throw it at the #1 CB in the league before snapping the ball.

              1. I was the worst gosh darn QB that high school sports has ever seen and even I would have thrown it to Patton. Partly because that’s about as far as I could throw it but that’s not the point.

              2. I don’t understand why the coaching staff doesn’t get more blame for that decision. They (staff) wasted like 20 seconds to call that play to get a one-on-one matchup in the endzone to go to the Bowl. I think disagreement with that strategy starts and ends with the staff.

              3. Wasn’t great? How about hardly present. You could have drawn up a more clever play. And you could have called a timeout.

              4. Didn’t matter if it was the best plan in the world if your QB doesn’t execute the play what difference does it make?

              5. I disagree that there was no plan, they (staff) thought worst case its 2nd and 10 from the 29 with 2 timeouts. Basically 3 more plays to score a TD. Plus, attacking the end zone that early might have opened up the underneath or running lanes for Kap (with 2 timeouts). I would have preferred a hurry-up underneath play and then a timeout before attacking the end zone, but that doesn’t mean that there was no planning or strategy involved in what they did.

                And the crux of the decision is that it was against Sherman who you have avoided the whole game. I’m just saying that most of that decision was made by the staff when the took all that time to call that play. And it did take an incredible play by Sherman to stop. Now please work on some student body right sweeps for next season. I want Mr. 25 to have several opportunities to learn why you don’t call people out after games.

              6. Well the staff thought wrong. There was a much, much worse worst case scenario they could have prevented by calling timeout and talking through the situation with Kaepernick.

              7. It’ll just make beating those guys next year that much sweeter. I went to every home game in 92 and 93, just made 94 that much better.

  37. Do we know which of the 7th rounders that the Dolphins will receive? I know it’s conditional but which pick did it start with?

    1. Anyone? I have a player that might go un-drafted that I’m going to burn a 7th on and I don’t want to use the one we gave away.

  38. @ArianFoster
    And for those wondering, I’ve been medically cleared by my doctor
    —————————-
    And should be good to go until someone grazes him and he’s out for 6 weeks.

  39. 2015 (1st)Round pick + 2014 (3rd)Round #77 & James, for Miami’s 2014 (1st)Round #19

    They would still have these quality picks plus, in what is widely considered a very strong draft class….

    19.
    30.
    56.
    61.
    93.

  40. Another reason TB is so cool: Looks like Roby could be –

    1. Perfect for the slot/nickel
    2. Slide in right away?
    3. Available without having to trade up

    From nfl.com:
    BOTTOM LINE Smallish, quick-twitch, speedy, physical cornerback with an intriguing combination of urgent athleticism, ball skills, tackling ability and scheme versatility. Appeals to zone and man teams, should be able to contribute readily as nickel slot defender and special-teams contributor and has a ceiling as a No. 2.

  41. I’m such an idiot :) Thanks for pointing that out CFC! I was wondering why GRANT wasn’t responding to my question :)

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