Answers to some 49ers questions

I’m sitting in a cushy leather seat at Gate 39 at the Kansas City airport, waiting for a delayed flight to take off to Indianapolis. To pass the time, I’ll answer a few questions from my Twitter mailbag.


Q: Do the 49ers have any interest in resigning Bly, or Dre being Dre ? @astand49

A: I think there is interest, but I don’t believe it’s a huge priority. This is a position I believe the 49ers are going to look to upgrade in the draft. With everyone back, Bly is a nickel cornerback. That would be a good role for a talented youngster . . . or maybe Tarell Brown takes it to the next level. But the real reason this is not a huge priority is Shawntae Spencer. When the 49ers signed Bly last offseason, they envisioned him as the starter, alongside Nate Clements. But Spencer surprisingly won the job, and performed very well after coming back from ACL surgery.


Q: Any new information regarding the situation w/ Nate Clements? @JustinG_Design

A: No, not at this time. The 49ers don’t have any urgent need to do anything with his salary. (There’s probably not going to be a salary cap, and the 49ers would be comfortably under the cap, anyway.) Clements fits into the team’s plans. But when the final cuts roll around, his scheduled $6 million salary could become an issue – depending on how well he’s playing.


Q: Any chance Walt Harris returns to Pro Bowl form in your opinion? @jamesgrenard

A: I don’t think so. Harris is getting up there in age, as it is. And now he’s trying to come back off a torn ACL. The 49ers have certainly not closed the book on Harris, who wants to finish his career on his terms. But it’s uncertain whether he’ll be back on the roster in 2010.


Q: What happens to the player’s contract when a team trades a franchised player? Meaning Aubrayo Franklin. @CurtSampson

A: The team that acquires a franchise player assumes the deal. But, remember, a non-exclusive franchise player can negotiate with other teams. Therefore, the new team would have a deal worked out in advance of a trade with the player.


Q: Can you give your odds of Franklin being traded for one 1st round pick in March? @sfckoskiA: I don’t think the odds are very good. Franklin is a seventh-year pro who has put together one very good season. I’m not sure there is a team willing to pay him a huge amount AND give up a first-round pick for his services. (But, hey, I’ve been wrong in the past.)


Q: Do you see the 9ers sticking with S. Hill as the backup QB? @OsFromNJ

A: It would not surprise me at all if the 49ers enter the regular season with Alex Smith as the starter, Shaun Hill as the backup and Nate Davis as the No. 3. I’m sure the 49ers would like to see Davis take that next step to become the backup, as Hill is in the final year of his contract. But I think everyone in the organization would be more comfortable right now calling on Hill to enter a game. But if Davis has a strong offseason, that could change.


Q: Who is the one position player – offense or defense – that the Niners would most improve by replacing with a draft pick? @greebs

A: The 49ers will head into this offseason in need or a new right tackle. Therefore, the answer is Adam Snyder. He’s versatile. He’s valuable. But the club has determined it’s best if he’s a backup.


Q: How interested are the Niners in Travis LaBoy? @thejetsblog

A: There’s interest. There was interest a year ago. I’m sure the 49ers wanted to give him a physical just to get a good understanding of his rehabilitation. LaBoy missed all of last season after reconstructive foot surgery.


Q: Best interview on this past year’s team? @HackLaSalle

A: This might surprise you because I would not consider him a “media guy” . . . but Spencer can be very, very good. You can tell he does not necessarily enjoy speaking to reporters, but it was a treat to hear him explain the nuances of his position. Some guys are funny. A lot of guys on the team are very accommodating. Spencer, when he wants to, has the ability to give incredible insight.


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The plane has arrived and I’ll be in the air shortly for Indianapolis. Be sure to check the blog and Twitter for updates throughout the next four days.


Thank you.


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