The Questions of Summer

The offseason work is done for the 49ers, and writers such as I are trying to wring every last syllable of information out of the notebooks we’ve kept over the past couple months. But the writing is on the wall. We’re about to hit the NFL’s deadest dead zone, not to emerge until the marathon grind of training camp at the beginning of August.

In all probability, there will be little to report and digest over the next month. Maybe nothing at all, at least nothing of consequence (thanks in part to safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, who ended speculation by signing a five-year deal with the Rams this morning).

To bridge the gap, here are a few questions that might get answered before rookies report to Santa Clara on July 30.

Will the 49ers add to their roster before camp?
They might, but don’t expect any marquee names. Last year they claimed FB Brit Miller off waivers from the Panthers on July 7, and signed DL Babatunde Oshinowo and OL Matt Spanos right around camp reporting day. In 2008, the timetable was very similar; the Niners claimed QB Kyle Wright off waivers from the Vikings on July 7, and signed WR Robert Ortiz around reporting day. So yes, Mike Singletary could add a piece or two, but it may not be Terrell Owens or the equivalent.

Will the 49ers sign any more of their 2010 draft choices?
So far, the team has reeled in sixth-round picks RB Anthony Dixon and Kyle Williams, and seventh-rounder CB Phillip Adams. Yes, others will probably land in July. TE Nate Byham, for example, is said to be pretty close. If the 49ers can sign T Anthony Davis and G Mike Iupati before the start of camp, it will be a positive signal.

Will there be news on NT Aubrayo Franklin?
Don’t bet on it. Seems like the odds are against an immediate long-term deal for the 49ers’ franchise player, and I wouldn’t expect him to pop up with a public statement vowing to report to training camp, or to boycott it. Barring those extremes, count on Franklin showing up for camp, but doing it with no July fanfare.

How about TE Vernon Davis?
Interesting topic. Logic dictates that Davis will be the next 49er to get a big contract extension. But when? The team would probably like to wrap up their Pro Bowl tight end before the start of the regular season, but that doesn’t mean it will happen by August 2, the first day of training camp.

Will everyone be healthy by training camp?
You would hope. The only lingering injuries by the end of OTAs and minicamp were to DL Kentwan Balmer (shoulder), CB Will James (pubic bone) and WR Brandon Jones (ankle). Balmer had gotten a few repetitions in team period, and James was working in individual drills. Jones was out of action. But you’d have to expect all three to back by Aug. 2. The thing is, we may not get any clues either way until then.

Can the 49ers keep their noses clean before camp?
The team had a nice string going before DL Ray McDonald was cited for a DUI on June 15. That’s not the type of summer news an NFL team wants to make, and Singletary – and management – would much prefer to stay out of the police blotter for a while.

What will we talk about for the next month?
The toughest question of all. I’m thinking, I’m thinking…

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