NFL free agency live blog: Day 1

This is the live blog for Day 1 of free agency. I’ll update this with news and analysis.

9:08 NFL.com just reported the Browns are “getting close” to signing Donte Whitner.

9:21 If the 49ers don’t spend any of their cap space on Donte Whitner, on whom will the Niners spend a signigicant chunk of that space?

9:53 Sports Illustrated expects the Bucs to aggressively pursue Josh McCown as soon as free agency begins today at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. The Texans also are interested in McCown. That suggests Houston is not inclined to draft a quarterback with the top pick in the upcoming draft.

10:35 The Raiders are “strong players” for Darrelle Revis, according to the Chronicle which cites league sources. If the Bucs cut Revis this afternoon, there is nothing wrong with the Raiders signing Revis. Oakland has plenty of cap space. But the Raiders should not trade draft picks for Revis, unless it’s a sixth or seventh-rounder.

11:42 Phil Dawson just this: “Very excited & grateful for the opportunity to return to my team & be a part of chasing the quest for six! Go niners!”

12:39 The Sacramento Bee is reporting that the 49ers are interested in free agent Antoine Bethea to possibly replace Whitner at strong safety if Whitner signs with another team. Bethea played free safety last season for the Colts.

12:42 Ian Rapoport just tweeted this: “When the Browns reach a deal with Donte Whitner, I’m told it’s expected to be four years for an average of $7M per year.”

12:52 Bethea played strong safety in 2012 and gave up a 92.2 passer rating , but zero touchdowns according to Pro Football Focus.

1:04 Adam Schefter just said on ESPN that the 49ers have reached an agreement with Antoine Bethea and the Browns have reached an agreement with Donte Whitner.

1:11 The Sacramento Bee reports Bethea has agreed to a four-year deal with Bethea.

1:21 The 49ers just annouced they have released Carlos Rogers.

  1. Good Morning Mr. Cohn. Thank you for this blog and I look forward to your news and analysis….Go Baalke, Go!

  2. NFL.com just reported the Browns are “getting close” to signing Donte Whitner.
    ———————–
    Suits me.

    *ring ring* *ring ring*

    Good morning Mr. Clemmons, book a flight to San Francisco please.

      1. Words; make a case and show example. The guy had 93 tackles which is more then Reid had at the same position. Reid had 11 passes defended and Clemmons had 8. The bigger stat would be the 4 int’s for Reid vs 1 for Clemmons but if he was good at catching the ball he’d be a receiver. Clemmons is 6’1″ 215 lbs so he’s got the frame to play the position and SS is his natural spot anyway.

        I don’t mind being proven wrong but you have to actually show something other then just your opinion.

  3. You mean the cheapest ownership in the entire professional sports industry is going to shell out big contract dollars for Donte Whitner? I have serious doubts about that. The same rumor mill is saying that the Browns will sign Revis.
    Just fodder for the fire. I’d bet the farm neither ends up in Cleveland.

  4. 9:21 If the 49ers don’t spend any of their cap space on Donte Whitner, on whom will the Niners spend a signigicant chunk of that space?
    ——————-
    Aldon?

  5. #24 would sure look good in red and gold.

    Unlikely, but would bring the ’94 feel this season has full circle.

    1. The huge advantage to Revis is exactly what Seattle has with Sherman. He can singlehandedly shut down a SIDE of the field, allowing help to roll over to the other side. At that point we really could focus most of our draft on offense.

        1. Right. Going for the ring instead of the $$ would change his legacy. See Deion.

          Don’t forget, he still made about $10 mil more by spending one year in TB than he would have if he stayed in MY.

          1. First he has to make it to free agency, and yet another report involving the Browns who are contemplating trading for him….

          2. We know the team allocates specific amounts to each position, what are the chances that Revis’s asking price is anywhere near the cap of what the 49ers are willing to pay a CB?

              1. So the only way Revis signs is if he finds Jesus and compassion in his heart or takes a $5M dollar salary with an $18M dollar bonus for winning the SB.

              2. I’d be willing to spend $6-7 million for Revis, but, then again, I’m reckless with money.

      1. There’s no way in hell Baalke goes outside the organization and makes that player the highest paid player on the team, that I do know….

          1. Enter the Rai-duhs for Mr. Revis’ island….Revis has also informed Bucs he will not reduce pay to facilitate trade….

            1. Revis will go to the highest bidder. He’s always been a guy who’s about the money first. Fun to fantasize about him doing a Deion and coming here, but he’s not that guy.

              1. That’s right. There’s no way he’s coming to the 49ers, so there’s no reason for me to even think about the possibility and get my hopes up.

              2. Until he goes somewhere else you can think about it all you want CB. We have about an hour or so until reality hits.

              3. [fingers in ears]

                Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala,

              4. Lol, 55 mins and counting. We have time to not only think about Revis coming here, but we can throw Byrd in there too just for the hell of it.

              5. This was supposed to go here.

                Per Matt Maiocco:

                “The 49ers feel very good about this being a strong draft for defensive backs.”

    2. I’d love to see Revis come here, but I don’t get the feeling he’s a guy who will give up big dollars to win.

      I’d love to see Vontae come and join his Bro if Revis doesn’t.

      Neither is likely to happen but fun to think about. I have a feeling the Niners are planning something though. Opening up that much cap room has to be for a reason you would think.

        1. That’s what this time of year does to the mind Coach. It’s all about dreaming of the possibilities even though the likely outcome will fall far below the hopes and dreams.

          Truthfully, I’d be happy to see Brown and Whitner brought back and then move on to the draft, but even that is unlikely.

    3. Why not 3 for 24? better team, more endorsements and prime time games. Plus a chance to win the super bowl.
      His addition would be huge. hammer, how would we use him, like Deion or have him shadow the #1 reciever?

  6. So you guys really dislike Byrd at $8 mil? Put him in centerfield and move Reid over to Whitner’s spot, closer to the LOS? I think that would improve our coverage quite a bit. And Byrd is a west coast guy.

    But, of course, I’d be trying to sell Revis on a head-to-head with Sherman. Endorsement city.

  7. I’ve done two mocks with 31 other fans so far which one would you rather have..

    Most recent post-combine:
    1. Kony Ealy, DE/OLB, Missouri
    2a. Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
    2b. Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S, FSU
    3a. Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
    3b. Dominique Easley, DE/DT, Florida
    4. Rashaad Reynolds, CB, Oregon St
    5. Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville

    Pre-combine after these trades:
    Cleveland trades #45 to San Francisco for #56 and #94.
    Green Bay trades #53 and #85 to San Francisco for #61, #77, and #126
    1. Allen Robinson, WR, PSU
    2a. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
    2b. Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
    3. Dominique Easley, DE/DT, Florida
    5. Marcus Martin, C, USC

      1. Honestly I was planning to take Fales or Logan Thomas in the 5th but I thought both Martin and Smith were too good of values to pass up. If we went pass the 5th, I probably would have taken Connor Shaw in the 6th or 7th. I think he is a bit underrated.

        1. I doubt the 49ers will wait that long to draft a QB.

          Connor Shaw is small and has a weaker arm than Christian Ponder.

          1. I don’t think it would be too shocking if they bring in a veteran QB to back up Kaep rather than spending a high pick on a prospect. I’ll disagree with you on Shaw, he really flashes great ball placement at each level(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQOypGFtz5U#t=204 ) when his footwork is right and I think he has at least functional arm strength. As for size hes about the same size as potential top 10 pick Manziel and I think he has room to add weight. Anyway I found Shaw fairly impressive while watching tape of Ellington, I think he could be a quality backup.

          2. Ya kno..Grant …

            I dunno if you’re old enough to remember this
            or not … but …

            there was a time …
            some said …
            “The Joe” … didn’t have a strong arm … either

            …. just sayin’

      2. Grant is there any feeling out there that the M. Vick rumor has any validity? If it does then theres your #2 and if the CK renegotiation has legs then i believe there wo’nt be a QB drafted.

        1. Makes no sense. Why spend money on an old free agent backup when the Niners can draft someone younger and cheaper than Vick, someone with a future.

          1. Hey there bud the niners don’t want a QB of the future they have one! They will sign a vet QB to back up kaep.. Niners don’t need a garbage prospect like fales… He is just like Tyler Wilson garbage!

        2. Coach,

          I think Peter King just threw it out there as a good fit if Vick doesn’t find a starting job and I agree with it if the money is right. He’d be a great backup for a couple of years while they bring along a young QB at the 3 spot. I can’t see anyway they are looking for a draft pick to be the backup this year.

        3. Not necessarily Coach. Makes sense to have both, a vet and rookie as backups.

          The more I think about Vick the more it makes sense. Harbaugh clearly places little value on accuracy with his QB’s.

    1. I’d go with the second draft. Top 3 picks are all good players at thin/soon to be thin positions. Easley in the 3rd would be a great pick too. Martin in the 5th is a round lower than I think he’ll go but that too would be great.

      I don’t think they go QB until late either. My guess is they bring in a vet as backup and draft somebody in the 6th or 7th to develop as the 3rd guy like they tried to do last year. The one caveat to that could be if they get the supplemental pick in the 3rd in which case maybe they draft somebody like Garappolo a little earlier knowing they have an extra day two pick.

        1. You don’t know that Grant. He’s being hyped up by draftniks but he’s still a small school QB who has a lot of developing to do. If he is there in the 3rd and the Niners have the extra 3rd round pick I could see it and that is likely why Harbaugh worked him out. You always want to be prepared for any possibility.

        2. Grant how many players on avg do the 9ers\Harbaugh workout that they then do’nt draft? I’m guessing here but is’nt it pretty common

        3. OK, I’ll play.

          1. To keep other teams guessing. It’s that time of year.

          2. Harbaugh was intrigued by Garropolo’s tape and wanted to see him in person. If teams pass on him enough times maybe the 49ers grab him for value.

          3. Harbaugh wants time with and a close look at as many quality QBs as possible. It gives him a sense of the QB talent in the league, and he may need to acquire a QB in the next 2, 3, or 4 years.

          4. Sends a message to Kaepernick that he can be replaced.

          No. 4 is doubtful because it isn’t Harbaugh’s style.

          1. Drafting a QB in the second or third round sends a stronger message, and it gives the 49ers a better fallback option.

        4. There’s a lot to like about Garropolo. We could easily take him at 32 and fill our other needs later. Especially now that our starting safeties are sorted out.

  8. SF’s opening cap room to sign some B level FAs on day 2 or 3. See 2011-13. The rest of the cap room will be devoted to draft picks, possibly a Kaepernick extension, and a 2015 roll-over.

    Unless Revis will take a 1 year – 5M “Deion” deal, he’s not coming to SF. Same with Jairus Byrd who will want top FS money (9M? 10M? per year). Baalke is very boring, but extremely effective in the FA market.

    There is a possibility we have Nolan Carroll at CB and Chris Clemons at SS after it’s all said and done. Is that so bad?

    1. That is a much more likely scenario and I agree with it, but right now it’s all about having some fun dreaming of possibilities. Reality will hit soon enough.

  9. Yes, my mistake. Thank you, G.

    As for a mock, what about something like this:

    1. Verrett, CB (best pure coverage corner in the draft)
    2a. Bishop Sankey, RB (a back that can put some fear into a defense running inside or out)
    2b. Paul Richardson, WR (serious deep threat)
    3a. Terrence Brooks, FS (great range, ball-skills and instincts)

    Then we start working on QB and the other positions.

      1. I’m pretty sure the 49ers are encasing Dawson in carbonite until August to make sure he doesn’t injure himself.

      2. Jack i think it will. The Eagles did’nt resign Akers for a reason. Dawson has never given anyone a reason not to sign him other than money.

  10. Looks like this year is going to be a musical-chair type of free-agency with safeties. I just wonder who is going to be sitting in the 49ers chair when the music stops, lol.

  11. Herm Edwards was on Mike & Mike this morning. He was giving his opinion on Revis. He explained why ‘shutdown’ CBs aren’t really as necessary these days because the game has changed and QBs aren’t throwing to the outside as much as before. Really cool stuff . Edwards is fascinating to listen to. Such a brilliant football mind.
    .
    ~ALOHA~

  12. So the Harbs will be in Levi’s this year but still wearing those goofy khaki’s? I cringe every time he stuffs that clipboard in back of his pants, how nerdy is that?? Even Alex tried to pull that it out of there…look→http://ww1.hdnux.com/photos/15/55/43/3594492/47/628×471.jpg

    1. High top – I’m for Toby Gerhart but only so much cash to go around. Creative financing?? As you know, Niners have other priorities as well.
      Hey btw, I met Toby’s brother Coltin Gerhart a couple weeks back. He was the QB at H.S. where my wife teaches. He’s playing baseball now and he’s a stud outfielder (5 tool player). I know his baseball coach and he asked me to stop by practice when I can and work with the hitters and outfielders. I will be there later this week or early next week and try to take a picture with him at practice. I’ll ask about Toby, without being too nosey. :) I think Coltin is going to Arizona State and will play safety, not QB. Not sure if he’s playing baseball at ASU?

  13. The Browns really want people to forget about their inept owner and front office by stating their interest in every FA available. The Browns apparently will sign 4 dozen FA’s and then fire their accountant for going over the cap and forfeiting draft picks taken away by the league. Their excuse will be that they are still learning what it’s like to own and operate an NFL team, and that doing so while trying not to go to prison is hard.

    1. rocket:

      Haslem told his negotiators to make sure that every free agent and rookie contract contains performance bonus payments (called “rebates” for some reason) and then to underpay the rebates.

    1. Bethea is a smart guy with range who isn’t a blow up hitter, but always seems to be in the right place to make a play. An upgrade over Whitner in coverage, a downgrade in run support.

        1. Given the similar contracts, obviously our FO preferred Bethea over Whitner–and it’s not because Bethea is a better hitter.

          1. Given the similar contracts, obviously our FO preferred Bethea over Whitner

            Are the numbers in for Bethea’s contract?

    2. For what it’s worth, Bill Polian had Bethea ranked number two on his FA list. Most have ranked him ahead of Whitner.

    1. I disagree with the article’s assertion that Bethea isn’t good enough in deep coverage anymore. That’s his specialty.

      1. If they sign a guy like that, it tells me their first pick is going to be a safety. Not knocking the guy. The strategy might work fine.

  14. Here’s my problem with Pro Football Focus… “Bethea played strong safety in 2012 and gave up a 92.2 passer rating , but zero touchdowns according to Pro Football Focus.” If he played SS, then what position did the 220 pound LaRon Landry play? It certainly wasn’t FS.

      1. You are such a raider fan great it hilarious.. You want to talk about it good start, niners signing a bad ass safety in bethea… A stud

    1. I think they’re in a position with the rules of the salary cap where they have to spend money. They needed a tackle and went after one. the Raiders are just doing what they need to do.

  15. Getting Bethea makes good sense. One of the guys I mentioned they’d likely look at, but didn’t think they’d move so soon. Four year deal is longer than I expected, but it means safety is no longer a need at all. A good thing for a weak safety class.

    Anyone know what the financial terms are?

    Razor, I guess I wasn’t wrong about the 49ers looking to sign a replacement for Whitner in FA ;-)

  16. eeehhh 4 yrs for 26 mill…..i dont like that contract for a 29 yo saftey..better off adding the million for whitner

    1. it’s probably structured to be a two to three year deal with the signing bonus stretched out to 4 years.

  17. PFF’s Antoine Bethea, Safety

    Antoine Bethea has been an extremely productive player for Colts ever since he was drafted in the sixth round back in 2006. Last year wasn’t a banner season for the safety, but he still played all but 31 snaps all season. The problem is when you are paying a guy a Top-10 safety salary and he plays like an average safety with a -2.9 grade for the season, there is a value disconnect. The one area Bethea did excel at last season was his tackling. He had the seventh best tackling efficiency among safeties at 15.7.

    2013 Cap Hit: $5.8m
    2013 Jahnke Value Model: $1.1m
    Value Differential: -$4.7m

  18. Donte gone. B.S.U. product returning home to Cleveland dumpster fire. Interested to see Bethea work out there as he is a pass coverage guy and not a hard hitter. Should help some. That said, NFL Draft. 3 DBs at least.

  19. Would have rather kept Whitner but Bethea has been a quality player for awhile now and he’ll definitely have more success with a viable pass rush in front of them.

  20. Holy Blaine Gabbert! Guess those rumors of Harbaugh checking him out on his pro day way back when were true.

    1. Well, that settles the QB spot then. All they need is a CB or 2 and they’ll be heading into the draft with no needs at all.

    1. Nice. That leaves us brock, wright, cully, maurice, possible FA, and 1st to 3rd rounder. Decent. I would like to see brown or cox back though.

  21. And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is full of racism and misogyny, but you didn’t read me calling for you to censor your comment.

    Besides, the Leave Britney alone video is a uniquely effective response when the Kaepernick fans get emotional in their support of him.

    Has anyone ever complained about the cursing in the video?

  22. CfC:

    Your use of my wording suggests that you resented my comment telling Grant he did the right thing in removing the references to Sullyball’s brother. If so, why?

  23. No man, I didn’t resent your comment at all, I used it to poke you since it’s your turn to do this dance with Grant. If I thought deleting it was wrong I would have said so. I thought you’d get a chuckle out of me throwing it back at you, that’s all.

  24. Meanwhile, on playgrounds across the US and the world, children are learning and repeating the same words to their parents when they get home — and then go to their rooms to play video games of death and destruction. But, hey, at least they didn’t learn it here, lol.

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