49ers hire Ken Norton Jr. as assistant head coach

Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. watches players stretch during an NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, in Napa, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The San Francisco 49ers just announced significant changes to their coaching staff.

Former Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. will be the 49ers assistant head coach/inside linebacker coach. Last season’s linebackers coach Johnny Holland now will coach only outside linebackers, and he is the 49ers new run game specialist.

Here is statement from 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan: “Ken brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to our team having spent more than two decades as a NFL player and coach. Throughout his coaching career, Ken has developed a tremendous understanding of our defensive system, making him a perfect fit for our staff. With four Super Bowl titles on his resume, including one as a 49er, Ken knows firsthand what it takes to become a championship caliber team.”

Norton will work under 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who worked under Norton from 2011 to 2013. Norton was the linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks, and Saleh was a defensive quality control coach.

Now, the 49ers have Saleh’s potential replacement in the building. If the defense under performs next season or the season after, the 49ers could fire Saleh and promote Norton Jr. to defensive coordinator.

Something similar happened to Norton last season. The Raiders hired John Pagano as the assistant head coach during the offseason, then fired Norton midseason and promoted Pagano to defensive coordinator.

Saleh probably feels tense.

This article has 233 Comments

  1. Dang — Shanalynch is creating a monster at 4949 Centennial.
    > Saleh probably feels tense
    Only in Grant’s vivid imagination of Baalkanization of the Niners! The person who does not indulge in conspiracy theories would see this appointment at as a way to give Saleh more breathing room as he focuses more on scheming and leans on Norton as a sounding board for the Seattle scheme. Norton also brings valuable experience as an ex-player. I won’t be shocked if Saleh is a HC candidate in a couple of years.

    1. I think it’s a GREAT hire! All the respect in the world for Ken Norton Jr. Another smart man and stand up human being. If Norton Jr. and Saleh can forge a working relationship, this could be another key cog in the engine. I want Ken coaching Reuben Foster! Yes please! He’s a linebacker’s linebacker!

      I see no reason Norton Jr. & Saleh can’t work together on the same defense. Both stand up guys.

    2. RIght, because Saleh has been so under-performing compared to Norton:

      Norton with Chokeland —

      2015 – 24.9 PPG
      2016 – 24.1 PPG
      2017 – 23.3 PPG

      Saleh with the 49ers —

      2017 — 23.9 PPG

      Yeah, I’m sure Saleh’s quaking in his boots.

  2. I don’t understand why time after time you come up with these stupid conclusions. He is LBs coach with a little more responsibility with the HC assistant title. Nothing more. He won’t be anyones replacement. If Kyle needs to fire Saleh he has ALOT more pool to get a better candidate. Someone like Fangio or Bradley if they become available. With that said Saleh did a great job considering the injuries and youth he dealt with. Good hire of KNJ as position coach. Great mentor for Rueben.

  3. I’m not sure exactly what this move signals, or if it signals anything other than the desire to collect more coaching talent and experience.

    But if I want to read tea leaves on a rainy afternoon
    – Malcolm Smith may be the forgotten man among some fans and media, but he’s not forgotten by the 49ers brain trust.
    – If Saleh has a (very) successful 2018 he could become the defensive equivalent of Sean McVay in 2019 by landing a head coaching gig in pros or college.
    – With Fangio possibly getting the Packers HC gig, Shanahan could be solidifying the long term defensive brain trust in their existing scheme.

    My hunch is this move is not an indictment of Saleh. I think it signals a deeper commitment to the system Saleh runs by bringing in coaching expertise from the same scheme. I also think it signals giving up on Fangio as 49ers DC any time soon.

    1. “giving up on Fangio”.. you people don’t get it. Kyle came in here with a specific defense he wanted to run, Fangio has no, 0,zilch experience in that defense. You guys are nuts. Kyle wants someone with the expertise in the defensive scheme they are running, the have brought in personnel for the D they are running, not a 3-4 personne, which happens to be fangios expertise.

      1. Its my understanding Shanahan tried to hire Fangio a year ago. The Bears were able to block it because Fangio had a year left on his contract. Lateral interviews can be blocked.

        If Saleh’s defensive didn’t work out, the 49ers could very well have pursued Fangio again. But Salah’s defense worked well this season, especially the latter half. Shanahan is (now) all in on Saleh’s defense. I think the hiring of Norton reinforced this.

  4. well maybe Norton’s the guy to show Foster how to hit with reduced impact on the hitter…
    yet maintaining major impact on the hittee…

  5. So what’s going on here? I thought Ken Norton was an idiot who screwed up the Raiders defense and they dumped him because he was a failure. Supposedly Pagano improved the Raider defense immediately. So what is the truth?

    1. Considering the Raiders defense, basically, was the same all three years at an average of giving up 24.1 PPG, I can’t say he’s been some kind of success, but he’s not an unmitigated failure either. The ‘meh mediocrity’ of the Raiders defense was not all his fault as the Raiders don’t have a tremendously talented defense though they some talented pieces.

      OTOH, our defense was far less talented than any of Norton’s and yet Salah pulled off 23.9 PPG. Which, in my book, puts Saleh head-and-shoulders over Norton.

      1. I got the feeling that Norton was a scapegoat (or sacrificial lamb) for general coaching shortcoming, attrition due to injuries, and especially lack of talent at DB positions at Oakland.

  6. Spot on Brodie2Washington! To me you can’t have enough guys like KNJ around this team. Always one of my favorites. Great addition! Bravo!!!

    1. Juanhunglo – Thanks! I admit I cheated by identifying several spots, figuring one of them has to be on.

      I think KS/JL are just covering their bases for the future, and adding a defensive mind that fits the system and has experience with Malcom Smith. We forget how high Lynch and Shanahan were on Smith before the injury. Perhaps their highest profile free agent next to Garcon.

  7. Norton Jr. is a teacher.

    http://www.raiders.com/news/article-1/Raiders-Name-Ken-Norton-Jr-Defensive-Coordinator/52e30969-1f77-416b-90bc-3ee9eb55ae7b

    “Norton, Jr. tutored LB Malcolm Smith, who was named Super Bowl MVP after posting nine tackles (five solo), a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery.”

    “With Seattle emerging as a dominant defense in 2012, Norton, Jr. was instrumental in the development of 2012 second-round draft pick LB Bobby Wagner, who secured his role as the team’s starting middle linebacker and finished second in the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. Wagner led the team with 140 tackles (86 solo) as a rookie.”

    We’re lucky to have him. Foster gets to learn from one of the best. Great hire by Shanahan.

    1. Some guys are just better position coaches than coordinators.
      Like how some coordinators are not good head coaches.
      Overall I like the hire.

  8. Grant. What happened _49we webzine broke this story an hour before you did. Are you on the outside or last to be notified

  9. Grant,
    You are nothing if you are not Mr. Half Empty. A far more likely scenario is that the 9ers brought Norton in as a possible replacement for Saleh when his D continues to improve by leaps and bounds and he becomes the next hot name in the HC chase.

  10. Maybe potential replacement if Saleh goes on the coaching carousel after another solid performance in 2018. Saleh has exceeded expectations. Unless there is some rift brewing already that we don’t know about yet this is a move to get out in front in case of losing Saleh..

  11. Saleh probably suggested the hire having worked with Norton.
    It appears clear they want to upgrade the coaching of the Middle Linebackers and Norton should provide that.
    It also shows the Niners will spend money on adding coaches.
    Good hire.

  12. I doubt Saleh feels any different. If anything, happy to have another good coach added.

    Norton is also assistant HC. Does that mean Jon Embree may be moving on?

  13. Saleh is the Golden Child of Defense, the only way he leaves is as a Head Coach. Get him a fierce Leo and a shutdown corner, maybe it’s Jimmy Ward, and watch what happens.

    Nice to have Kenny coaching ILB.

  14. No Way does “Saleh probably feels tense” !!! This was likely his suggestion ! He has a young player that could be a superstar in Foster, and he needs special attention. Great hire also by keeping him from returning to the seahawks.

    1. Yeup that’s just Grant being Grant trying to create drama because he’s bored and doesn’t have anything else to write lol

  15. Apologies if this has been posted before. Bill Simmons postulating that the Jimmy G trade was initiated by BB because the locker room was fracturing and beginning to favor Jimmy G.

    “Here’s the problem with that,” Simmons said. “First of all, as you said, Brady knew from 2001, he knows what it’s like to be the other guy. But then second, you know Brady is 40 years old. He also has nothing in common with basically anybody in that locker room anymore. He’s much older than anyone else on the team except for maybe two or three guys. Jimmy G learned from him. He’s the first guy to leave — first guy to show up, last guy to leave just like Brady was. He’s hanging out with the offensive linemen just like Brady used to in 2002. He’s throwing to all the receivers all the time just like Brady did.”

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/bill-simmons-floats-theory-on-why-patriots-traded-garoppolo/ar-BBI8qdm?li=BBgET5V&ocid=spartandhp

    1. Cubus, I remember reading where Jimmy was in the huddle when Brady was suspended, and he was saying, “forget about Tom, this is my team now”….

      1. To understand that quote we’d need to know the context.
        Did he just say it… was a reciever talking about what Tom would do?… did he say something slightly different where he was trying to get the team come together in Tom’s absence? Or did he say exactly that as he felt he was better than Tom?

    2. That’s interesting. Obviously we’ll never really know. But it’s interesting and a real possibility as it fits Belichick’s profile.

    1. He’s a good one for sure and not a lot of carries even though he’s a Sr. due to sharing time with Chubb and the freshman this year.

    2. He won’t make it to third Razor. He will test really well too. If we want him we have to use the Saints second rounder to get him. Really good player.

      1. I agree.

        If the Saints continue to advance in the playoffs I wonder if a late second round pick will be enough.

        Maybe I’m valuing the RB a bit too high, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him gone by the time we pick at the tail end of the second–he’s an incredible back.

        Opinions on Darius Phillips (CB) would be greatly appreciated.

      2. RAW, you could be correct, but given the depth at the position in this draft, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was still there in the 3rd round.

    3. Michel is third on my list of RBs I would like to see the 49ers acquire this off-season via free agency or the draft. The two I have ahead of him are Dion Lewis and Kerryon Johnson.

    4. Good call Hammer. He’s Freeman 2.0 only bigger and faster. Good lateral quickness and explosive cutback ability. A huge get if he’s there in 3 Rd.

  16. Saleh has nothing to worry about. Norton was a terrible DC and will now go back to being a position Coach where he belongs. Norton is a good man. It takes a lot of humility to work under a guy who was working for you not that long ago. Good addition but he’s not a DC candidate anymore after that run in Oakland.

  17. Geez just what Alabama needed, a bowling bowl who can throw and nobody can tackle. For as good a HC as Saban is, it’s recruiting where he really laps the field. Heck of a Championship game.

    1. Funny how that works, they once said that same thing about Pete Carroll….such an amazing recruiter.
      Why is it we have to subscribe to read comments of most articles, but there’s one mixed in time to time where that isn’t an issue.

  18. Like most of you I love the hire, I can still visualize him pounding on the goal post honoring his pops. He also helped mold Malcolm Smith into a Super Bowl MVP, no coincidence that they are reunited and he is slated to start next year….there’s history there, and the obvious task of the tutelage of Foster. Honestly it could prove to be a genius hire, if egos are put aside for the good of the team, the team, the team.
    First time posting since past wkend, I must say Rams got what they deserved…..they ducked us to preserve their confidence and instead lost the momentum they built up all year. I’m glad we throttled them, was concerned about a let down vs their back ups……bet next time they will play out their season. Owe it to the paying fans at the very least, especially in your home stadium……McVays first blunder all year cost them the season.
    The west will be ours next year, book it…..and maybe more.

  19. Good hire , will help with all the new faces , Ilb postion . His biggest assets are he played , and coached , he was hired to take some of the weight of doing all the game planning off RS . And help with keeping the players focused. And on assignment . Imo.

  20. Let’s see – the raiders spend a bunch of free agent money and early round draft picks on D. Ken Norton gets fired because the Raiders D was trainwreck. Niners new D coordinator performs well with a shaky secondary and virtually no pass rush. Grant has now concluded that Norton is a potential replacement for Saleh?

    Nice logic pathway Grant.

  21. This article comments stream reminds me of the Chicago Cubs fans, LOL! You know how when the visiting team knocks a homer into the stands, and the hometown fans throw the ball back onto the field? Reject!!!
    The blog readers cried Reject! on the ‘Saleh is probably tense’ line

  22. It’s a good hire. Norton knows the defense Saleh is running and he has a ton of credibility as a player and coach. If Saleh is uneasy about the hire then he really shouldn’t be the Defensive Coordinator. I don’t see any downside whatsoever to improving the coaching staff.

  23. Saleh is nervous? Please. Norton is a position coach, not a coordinator. Saleh has as much reason to fear Norton as Washington’s DC had to fear the hire of Jim Tomsula. A great position coach who has failed as a DC is not a threat to an up and coming DC like Saleh.

  24. If the 49ers want to hire any other former players Ken Dorsey is available as QB coach.

    I wonder if he still has his Accord.

  25. Why would he be the new DC? Because he did such a good job in Oakland with better players? Grant is always trying to start something.

  26. Dear John,

    Round 1 – Quenton Nelson – OG
    Round 2 – Sony Michel – RB
    Round 3 – Cedric Wilson – WR
    Round 3 – Harold Landry – Edge
    Round 4 – Quenton Meeks – CB
    Round 5 – Dakota Allen – ILB
    Round 6 – Dalton Schultz – TE

    Now that this is settled, I’ll let you handle round 7.

    Jack

    1. No way Landry is making it to the 3rd round!! Might want to switch Landry in the 2nd, if he even makes it there with a RB in the 4th. and a CB in the 3rd at the latest

    2. After the playoffs, I highly doubt Sony Michel makes it to the 2nd round. I’d love the 49ers to get him but I can’t see him sticking around for 60 picks.

    3. Jeez Jack – Nelson, Michel and Wilson are all guys I outlined in my mock offseason a week ago! No arguments from me.

      1. I didn’t see that one Scoot, but you did clue me in to Wilson. I like what I see, nice size, does a good job of blocking out the defender, and has NFL/49ers bloodlines.

        1. Yeah, that’s what I like about him too. Bit bigger than his dad was :-P

          Seems to do a pretty good job with his routes, though room to improve. Would like to see him fill out his frame a bit but all in all I like him in the 3rd round.

          He was a QB in high school. I like WRs with that sort of background.

      1. I poured all the info into my disco ball and that’s what it spit out. Haven’t fired it up in a while so might need to take it in for a tune up.

  27. Lotta love for Landry here, but his production fell off this year. I watched him in the bowl game and wanted to like him, but not so much that game.

    1. Brotha, they’ve doubled him, chipped him with TE’s and RB’s, along with other strategic techniques all focused on stopping #7. He had an ankle injury that made him MIA for 4 games. He still was able to total 38 tackles, 8.5 of which were for losses, and he also had 5 sacks in 8 games. Not too shabby. Trust me when I say, there’s no way in hell he’ll slide into the 3rd round….

      1. Exactly.
        Watching tape on all of the top prospects. His get off and bend are the most impressive I’ve seen. He is a situational rusher but considering sub-packages are used more than base defenses now days… I’d be shocked if he made it to day two let alone the 3rd round.

      1. Nick,
        I generally don’t pay attention to the numbers because that’s often a product of the offensive system. I was impressed by his size/speed combo, his physicality and how he fought for the ball while going for it at the highest point.

      1. perhaps “specializing” on the OZ run scheme, as he’s got OLB duties on the D to boot… showing the “RB room” the best ways to evade OLB’s on “stretch runs”…

      2. Cubus
        I think it’s a way of distributing the work-load amongst the D coaches, having someone drill down in a micro-focus on an aspect so the DC can blend the elements.

  28. Also, so much love on Saleh. What happened to the majority that said he was a place holder for Fangio? And any other d coordinator for that matter? It should be a lot of crow being eaten around here. But instead, the majority talk about him like they never doubted his prowess to lead. Apparently Grant still doubts him. Especially since the Niners just hired his replacement.

        1. Nope, I still think my criticism was valid. He changed the offense and the team improved. Kudos to him for growing.

          1. He ran the ball more. I wouldn’t call that changing the offense, just putting more emphasis on an existing part of the offense,

            1. Simplified some of the concepts too for Garoppolo. The offense could concentrate on doing their job better. I think that helped too.

              Look, I am overjoyed that the team turned things around. I didn’t see it. Neither did anyone else for that matter (evaluation season).

              Can it be sustained? Who knows? Hope so. It’s been tough last couple of years watching games, knowing the team wouldn’t be able to hang with the opposing team.

              Garoppolo was a great big surprise and a nice one. Prime can preen his feathers on that one. Let’s hope he continues to improve.

              1. “Look, I am overjoyed that the team turned things around. I didn’t see it. Neither did anyone else for that matter (evaluation season).”

                Most people thought we would start slow and get better later on due to the time it takes to learn the scheme. The learning curve was frequently mentioned to counter the people who were critical of KS.

                “Can it be sustained? Who knows? Hope so.”

                I hope so too. I think it will be sustained because we have a good HC/QB combo, plenty of cap space, a promising draft class (for the most part), and decent draft position this year.

              2. “The learning curve was frequently mentioned to counter the people who were critical of KS.”

                Who’d have thought that learning curve would include Shanahan?

                Good to see the improvement. Next up: Red Zone

                Fingers crossed

              3. “Last 3 games.
                San Francisco : 60.00%”

                Already know that. One of those was also against backups.

    1. I would have welcomed Fangio a year ago. The Bears blocked the interview.

      Once Saleh was hired I wanted the 49ers to stick with him (unless the defense flopped).

      Totally happy Saleh’s system did well. I was worried about finding someone that can play the difficult single high safety role. Turned out the 49ers had two (Ward and Colbert). This defense will be scary if they can find an edge rusher and corner.

      I hope Fangio of he gets the Packers head coaching job. He deserves a shot.

      1. B2W,
        Good piece.
        But all the back and forth on whether Norton was hired to replace Saleh or that Saleh should be tense over the move is all based on innuendo and guesswork.
        And even if any of this turns out to have some truth to it, for my part, it’s a FO issue NOT mine.

        The energy put into unsubstantiated arguments get’s as somebody already said, “silly” and the only winners in this argument is the PD blog.

    2. C’mon. Saleh looked awfully shaky early on, and I’d still prefer Fangio over him. He did well enough to deserve another term, but let’s not get carried away with the crow. I certainly caveated my assertion on his performance….

      1. His #1 stated goal for this season was fixing the run defense over last year (which is why our draft crush is even here). Which he did. And, to pull a Grant 😆, if you take away the Dallas game, they allowed 106 per, which would put them in the top 10.

        Now on to whole…

      2. Honestly, it was about his performance or him being better than Fangio. It was about the scheme Kyle wanted to run. And Fangio can’t run it.

          1. Nothing funny about a man who has ran his d his entire life, all of a sudden willing to learn someone else’s defense. It would be like asking Kyle to all of a sudden give up his offense to learn chip Kelly’s offense just to put it in play for another coach. Good coordinators don’t do that. Unless in your mind they do

    3. I never bought in to the Fangio conspiracy theory and I argued against that theory twice. I will eat a morsel of crow though. I wasn’t happy with Saleh after the losses against the Eagles and Cowgirls. But then the D got better as they got healthier (Foster and Thomas).

      1. 1. There were “Fangio will 49ers DC in 2018 no matter what happens in 2017” people.
        2. There were “Fangio could be 49ers DC in2018 if the defense sucks in 2017” people.
        3. There were “I like Fangio, but we already committed too many personnel to the Seattle system to change. Stick with it. Even if Saleh falters get a DC from a similar system.”

        I was in the 2, then 3 mindset.

        Now I’m very happy with the D. Colbert emerging was huge. Add a corner and edge, this D will be fun to watch.

        1. Yup, I specifically railed against 1. I said if the plan was for Fangio to be here in 2018 no matter what, then why not hire someone with a similar scheme like Ed Donatell. And I reminded people that Gus Bradley was the first choice, not Fangio.

          We haven’t went after Bradley or Fangio in 2018. Which makes Grant’s Saleh is tense comment look pretty bad.

      1. At his age, I just can’t see him giving up a comfy, “cushy” job for a job with big unknowns and the headaches of dealing with prima donna NFL players and front office executives.

        1. cubus,
          Bingo!
          The culture and lock-room atmosphere between college and the pros are completely different.

          In college, when there is an issue between coach and player that player can transfer out with virtually no harm or backlash on the coach.
          In the pros, when there is an issue between coach and player, the player can garner support from other players in the locker-room that has the potential for the coach’s dismissal, ala Chip Kelly (just one example).

          Why would Saban put himself in this situation when he is getting a nice paycheck and able to have full control of the Alabama football program?

  29. Off topic, but I had a little time, so I just rewatched the TD that Jimmy G threw against the Seahawks. It’s even more impressive now that I’ve had a chance to rewatch. Twenty-five yards in the air with DL bearing down on him and three defenders around the receiver. But it was the cool calm with which he moved to his left and then threw a perfectly placed ball that was most impressive.

    Nothing new or which hasn’t been stated before, but if we don’t sign this guy long-term, I might give up football and watch VD curl.

    1. Cubus,

      Right after that Seahawks game I was moved to comment as follows :)
      Mood_Indigo says:
      November 26, 2017 at 6:26 pm
      When Ted Robinson went something like “And he rolls to his left,… and throws the ball…”, his voice sounded suddenly like that of Vin Scully describing the Catch. In that fraction of a second, I was confident that it would be a TD. I take on these hallucinations as a good omen about the future. I’m ready for Garapallooza to begin…

      Razor and I bought sizable chunks of Jimmy G stocks right away when the price was low, and I think it will look good in my portfolio for a long time :) Eastcoast9er took both of us to task for our irrational exuberance. Grant and other doleful fans (more like Nattering Nabobs of Negativity) hammered us optimists for the next several weeks with dark and negative thoughts ! The bottom line is that Jimmy G passed my eye test over the first 3 games as a superior (top 10) pocket passer in the league.

      1. Yep, I was pretty much there with you guys although not as vocal. He passed my eye test after that TD pass in the Seattle game. It’s kind of like porn; while it might be hard to describe, you knows it when you sees it. Even the analyst announcer in that Seattle game was gushing about Jimmy G, saying things like you can really see the difference, looks like a young Tom Brady, etc. etc.

        1. I was hearing Niners’ players and NFL ex-players like Brent Jones, Steve Young, Tim Ryan and analysts like Greg Cossell praising JimmyG’s qualities without reservation, and then coming to read the we-can’t-believe-our-eyes scenarios from some fans on this blog. The contrast was just too funny.

          What makes JimmyG and high-potential franchise QB is not just his passing skills and decision making on the field, but his actions off the field. Players know when a teammate is faking it with regard to leadership and JimmyG’s intensity and leadership is not fake. Nor is his even temperament, friendly personality, reputation for positive outlook, focus, and strong work ethic.

    2. > .. but if we don’t sign this guy long-term, I might give up football and watch VD curl.
      I do not think you will meet such a terrible fate. Unless there is an unexpected development on Don Yee’s side, I expect both sides to wrap up a 5-6 year deal before FA starts in early March. Niners have much to lose and nothing to gain by invoking the franchise tag and dragging out negotiations into TC.

      Make no mistake, the single biggest factor on which Niners’s success (and franchise’s value) for the next 10 years depends is the Shanny-JimmyG partnership (the second factor is Lynch and his FO working closely with Shanny). Niners cannot afford to take the franchise tag route because (1) it will eventually mean paying JimmyG at least 20-30% more than they would pay by wrapping up the deal over the next 8 weeks (2) FA’s will more likely to come if there is long-term assurance of JimmyG era, (3) fan sentiment and ticket sales will continue to improve. There are probably more reasons.

      1. I actually think JimmyG doesn’t sign till Cousins signs his with whoever. Its a possibility that Cousin is going to set the bar for QB signings this year. If I was JimmyG I would wait to see what Cousin got. It might require to franchise him till its settled.

        1. Cousins has nothing to do with Jimmy’s contract, Jimmy’s contract will be based off of his 5 wins,and
          and how he brought the niners back to being a good team, and what he can bring to this team for the long run.

    3. Cubus – Agreed. I like Kevin Lynch, but I strongly disagree with his “Lets do a year under franchise tag, then extend…” campaign.

      – Branch says he wants to see more long passes before offering a long term deal. But there are plenty of long passes in his Pats and college footage . Its a matter of opportunity and getting timing down with his receivers. Not saying Garoppolo has a cannon for an arm, be he has enough arm to punish defenses that squat on underneath routes.

      – Extending or franchise tagging are both gambles. Franchise tagging gambles on Garoppolo not having a great year, thus limiting demand (and contract price) in 2019.

      If the 49ers franchise tag and Garoppolo has a great 2018, Yee’s contract demand will skyrocket, and the 49ers will have $24m less (fully guaranteed) to bid for his services in 2019.

      I think odds are Garoppolo will be successful enough in 2018 to demand a higher contract a year from now. Extending now is the cheaper option.

      – Signing Garoppolo now gives the 49ers draft flexibility. A nice consolation prize for dropping 8 draft slots. Its wonderful to have a top ten pick with the quarterback position already filled. The perfect draft leverage scenario.

      Would you want to give up coveted draft leverage to save a few million in cap space?

      1. The elephant in the room – Garoppolo might want the franchise tag no matter how he feels about the 49ers.

        Say market demand is $60m guaranteed, and two year’s franchise tag is $51m . Garoppolo/Yee might do the simple math:
        A) Extend now, get $60m guaranteed in 2018.
        B) Refuse any extension offer for two seasons, extend in 2020. That secures $110m guaranteed in 2018-2020.

        Not saying that will happen. My hunch is they get a long term deal done this year. But I am holding out the possibility that Garoppolo might prefer to franchise tag for a few years no matter how he feels about his current team.

        1. It’s an excellent point Brodie. Any smart person should look to maximize his earning potential, and a strong case can be made that Garoppolo would do better to play under the franchise tag in 2018, and look for a big deal next offseason, or perhaps even later.

          Then again, he’s holding a very strong hand now and he’s only 26 years old, so he’ll likely have an opportunity to sign more than one big deal before he’s past his “prime”.
          Then again, there is value in a large chunk of guaranteed compensation now.
          Then again
          ……….

          Any way you slice it, life is good for Jimmy G, and life is good for the NINERS! Good times!

          1. I’m leaning the same way you are Brodie. I think there’s a good chance that they get a deal done at some point during this offseason. But I’m not sweating it either way. This marriage seems to have everything possible working it’s favor, and I don’t think it’s likely to break up anytime soon. If Jimmy elevates his game a step further next season, and the 49ers have another successful offseason, the 49ers are going to be a contender next season. I am absolutely convinced that, with Garoppolo in the house, the 49ers will be in the playoff picture come next December!

            ShanaLynch have been pushing all of the right buttons, including the recent coaching hire to bring Ken Norton Jr. into the fold, in a very smart capacity as assistant HC/Linebackers coach, giving them two defensive coaches with a wealth of knowledge and experience with the exact defensive scheme they are modeling their defense around and have structured the defensive hierarchy in the kind of way that should allow both Saleh and Norton to maximize their potential and get the very most out of their defensive personnel (if they can find a shutdown corner and a dynamic edge rusher this offseason …… look out!)

            They really do have a championship foundation in place. It’s simply a matter of putting the final touches on the offense and defense, so …… to be honest, I can’t think of one single reason why Jimmy wouldn’t want to hitch his wagon to this franchise for the next 10 years.

          2. 49reasons – Very good points. Alot has to do with timing. Garoppolo could earn seemingly less by extending now. On the other hand, it lands him a third contract at 31 and a fourth contract around 36. Still prime earning years.

            If he franchise tags in 18/19 he hits his third contract at 33, not 31. Might be better to extend now, force and new contract (or lucrative franchise tag) at age 31.

              1. 49reasons
                He’ll likely get tagged. Beating some playoff teams that had nothing to play for is hard sell for me. The big money will come next off-season when he is able to put a larger sample size on the negotiating table.

    4. Cubus..
      I was there and I will say it until my dying day. That td throw ends their dominance and birthed the next future HOF Qb in SF.
      Friends laughed about me saying it. Well non Niner fans. Because I was excited about that play in a blowout game. Don’t care what anyone says. The Seahawks didn’t want to give up that td, so I will be rubbing that in for years to come. Not a doubt in my mind.

    5. “Twenty-five yards in the air with DL bearing down on him and three defenders around the receiver.”
      ~ cubus

      That was an amazing throw, but my concern is that throwing into triple and double coverage will fail more often than succeed. I hope that Jimmy can improve on this aspect of his game in 2018.
      As Grant noted in his post game grades, Jimmy lucked-out on passes that should have been intercepted but were dropped by the DB. These type of forced throws can turn a close game into a heartbreaking loss as well as removing Jimmy’ demigod status back to a regular QB (lol).

  30. One of the reasons I’m not squeamish about the team doing a long-term deal with Jimmy G, despite only 7 games, is that he has played well in all of those games. There was no “he played well in 3 or 4, so-so in 1 or 2 and looked like a 7th round rookie in one or two games”. Add to that all of the accolades from analysts who know what they are talking about and the risk seems low. Having said that, he still needs to improve in some areas.

    However, I see no other way to shave off two years from the rebuild other than to continue on with this franchise QB that dropped into our lap like manna from heaven. What other realistic alternative is there? Draft a rookie QB and hope for the best. I’m not a fan of either Darnold or Rosen. Mayfield got exposed in the playoff game and I haven’t seen enough of Allen or Rudolph. I think it would take several years for any of these guys to get a handle on Shanahan’s offense.

    1. Don’t worry cubus. JG isn’t going anywhere. I really see little reason to think he won’t sign a long term deal at some point either this offseason or next.

  31. Well, here’s another good move that the FO made. On Rotoworld.

    “Jets CB Rashard Robinson has been arrested for drug possession and careless driving.

    Robinson was pulled over and found with “THC infused Peanut Budda Buddah Candy.” They’re not exactly earth-shattering charges, though Robinson was also arrested in 2015 at LSU. Robinson played sparingly for the Jets after coming over in a deadline deal from the 49ers.

    1. “The New York Jets knew about two incidents cornerback Rashard Robinson experienced when he was with the San Francisco 49ers, but traded for him anyway, according to a report from the New York Daily News. Robinson is hot on the heels of a December arrest for drug possession, and many in New York are asking why the team traded a fifth-round pick for him earlier this season in the first place.

      Citing 49ers sources, the report states that Robinson had “an embarrassing and troubling incident on a 49ers flight earlier this season,” and also that he “got into it with coaches on the sideline in his final game with San Francisco.” These were considered the “final straw” on top of his excessive penalties.”

      https://www.ninersnation.com/2018/1/9/16872360/rashard-robinson-arrest-trade-jets-49ers-report

      1. Shanny laying down the law. From the below link, Shanny spent an hour with Staley, ultimately getting Joe to continue his career. The team never quit. But Grant calls him a glorified OC. SMH.

        1. Shanny-John is a good combo.
          While all this played out, Kyle could ask: John, do I/we have to put up with this sh%#?
          JL: Hell no! You done?
          MR was decent in 2016, but in TC he had yuge ‘Tude and negative performance. Still don’t get it for his decline. Wasn’t sorry for the trade.

        2. Trading Bowman was part of this too. Like the most electrifying man in sports entertainment used to say, “know your role, and shut your mouth”

          1. “Trading Bowman”?! Bowman was released at his own request out of respect for his services in the past. Contrast that with Steelers not letting Harrison go until his third request. Bowman did not complain loudly and often about the reduced time although he made several oblique references to his unhappiness with his reduced role, as most competitors do. IMO, Niners would have been perfectly happy living with his quiet displeasure for the rest of the season and playing him in the reduced role. I have not seen any report from beat reporters I trust that Bowman was a locker room malcontent.
            https://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2017/10/15/16478276/navorro-bowman-trade-saints-49ers-free-agency-raiders-nfl

            Fans are making Shanalynch look more ruthless than they really have acted. Robinson was acting out of control and forced Shanalynch’s hand. Robinson’s situation cannot be compared with Bowman’s situation.

            1. Trade. Cut. Whatever. Doesn’t change that they were moving him out and this came after him complaining about his role on the team.

              It was nice of them though to grant him his release instead of sending him to the Big Easy. Wonder if B misses not getting some playoff pay.

              1. > So you don’t find it odd that they were ready to trade him,
                No. The fact that they would try to trade him is not surprising because they did not see him in their long-term plans (and get a 6th or 7th round pick in the process) — not because he complained about the loss of his starting role. This is the same reason why many all-Pros have been traded in the past. In an interview to KNBR, Lynch specifically mentioned that he was quite sympathetic about Bowman’s unhappiness and complaints because he (Lynch) had been guilty of the same act at the end of this career. At no point, did I hear that Bowman’s complaints had gotten out of hand. Even in the trade talks, Niners wanted to trade him to a contender, not to a team like Cleveland. Even when the trade to Saints was pretty much finalized, Niners consented to losing a 7th round pick and honored Bowman’s veto.

                This entire exchange started with your statement “Trading Bowman was part of this too….“know your role, and shut your mouth””, and compared Bowman’s release with moving Robinson. Beyond both ceasing to be part of the team, the two cases could not be any more different.

              2. The quote was apparently a poor attempt at humor, however the decision to move on from Bowman was started because his representatives asked if they could seek a trade. Then later when Bowman decided he’d stay, the 49ers said “no, you aren’t all in so thanks but no thanks”

                Bowman would likely have finished the season out as a 49er had he not asked to not be there.

    1. I love Staley. Great warrior.
      Fun fact. I read somewhere that Staley finished the season rated #1 run-blocking tackle in the league (probably PFF-based).

  32. Bye Bye – Hyde….just watched J.Williams highlights again…….can’t see them signing Hyde to big money if we already have options on the roster …….

  33. Anyone else checked out the Jumanji reboot? Pretty good.

    Spencer looks a lot like our own Grant. The young Spencer, not the older Spencer. No one would confuse Grant for The Rock.

    Maybe it’s the hair.

  34. Wow major changes taking place up in the Emerald City. If Sarkisian rumor is true it could signal the start of an even bigger transition.

  35. Eric’s younger brother, Justin Reid opts for the draft:
    https://twitter.com/jreid_viii/status/950830954058272768
    Based on what I have seen of his development in the past two seasons, this kid has the potential to be very good in the Seattle scheme, probably as free safety, although he is versatile enough to play strong safety or even CB. He has football smarts like his brother, and has been coached up well by Duane Akina. I can see Seattle or Atlanta drafting him in the second round.

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