Latest On Aldon Smith

THURSDAY, 9:38pm: The 49ers don’t currently plan to release Smith, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).

TUESDAY, 6:02pm: After talking with several sources involved in the 49ers decision making, Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News gets the sense that Aldon Smith won’t play for the club in 2014. That doesn’t mean that San Francisco will release the talented outside linebacker, but the Niners have reached a point of frustration that they haven’t shown towards any player in recent years.

The 49ers won’t cut bait with Smith right away since they’re on the hook for a guaranteed $3MM+ and want to wait and see what the NFL’s punishment will look like. However, 49ers owner Jed York, the York family, and GM Trent Baalke feel embarrassed, according to Kawakami’s sources, and Jim Harbaugh feels similarly. San Francisco knows how talented Smith is and it’s conceivable that the club could change course and welcome him back, but it would take a lot from the 24-year-old in a short period of time for that to happen.

On the flipside, Kawakami hears that the club’s weariness and frustration is mostly focused on Smith. Team management supports Colin Kaepernick through the “suspicious incident” that he had in Miami and they’re not planning to release Chris Culliver despite his felony and misdemeanor hit-and-run charges recently.

Extra Points: 49ers, Mack, Smith, Savage

After years of having one of the most ideal salary cap situations in the NFL, the 49ers are finally beginning to feel some strains from success, writes Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap. All things considered, the Niners weren’t expected to do much and they really didn’t in the end. Fitzgerald gives them a C for their work this winter while knocking them a bit for taking on Blaine Gabbert‘s $2MM salary and “wasting” some cap space. Here’s tonight’s look around the NFL..

  • Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack scheduled to visit the Falcons next week, a source tells Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Although Mack is viewed by most as a top-five pick the Falcons own the sixth overall selection, they are doing extensive homework on all the top prospects that could possibly be available to them and fill their biggest needs: offensive tackle and pass-rusher.
  • Former Titans quarterback Rusty Smith had a tryout with the Saints, tweets Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports. The Giants also auditioned the signal caller earlier this month. Smith, 27, appeared in three games for the Titans between 2010 and 2012, throwing no touchdowns and four interceptions.
  • Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage has been invited to New York for the draft and Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter) sees that as a sign that he’s a virtual lock for the second round.

East Rumors: Eagles, Barr, Johnson, Cowboys

Chad Ochocinco Johnson, who last lined up in the NFL for the Patriots, is headed north of the border to join up with the Montreal Alouettes. Johnson, who totaled 766 receptions for more than 11,000 yards and 67 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons, was signed by the Dolphins in 2012, but was released that summer following his arrest due to a domestic incident. The 36-year-old recently worked out for the Alouettes and GM Jim Popp indicated over the weekend that talks between the two sides had “escalated”. Here’s the latest out of the AFC and NFC East..

  • Eagles‘ biggest need at this stage of the offseason is finding a pass-rusher and the best case scenario would be UCLA’s Anthony Barr  falling to No. 22, writes Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was considered a likely top 10 pick earlier in the draft process, but Berman hears that it’s conceivable Barr could slip into the 20s. Meanwhile, the depth of the wide receivers in the draft has been well documented and it’s not a stretch to say the Eagles will come out of it with potentially two wide receivers.
  • With Chris Johnson‘s speed, the Jets offense can be a whole different animal, writes Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Johnson isn’t a panacea for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s offense, Mehta writes, but he still possesses the ability to turn garbage into gold in open spaces.
  • The Cowboys hosted about 50 prospects at Dallas Day, including 4 quarterbacks: North Texas’ Derek Thompson, SMU’s Garrett Gilbert, Missouri’s James Franklin, and TCU’s Casey Pachall, tweets Gil Brandt of NFL.com. Missouri’s Donovan Bonner and Matt White were also in attendance, tweets Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram.

Texans Exercise Fifth-Year Option On J.J. Watt

The Texans have officially exercised the 5th-year option on defensive end J.J. Watt for 2015, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deadline to do so was on May 3rd, but Houston decided not to wait.

Yates adds that the Ravens have done the same with cornerback Jimmy Smith and ditto for the Chargers and defensive lineman Corey Liuget. The Jets are believed to have done the same for defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson.

The 6’6″ Watt is coming off of a season in which he registered 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks, seven pass deflections, and four forced fumbles. The season prior to that was the 25-year-old’s monster breakout season – he racked up 69 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 pass deflections, and four forced fumbles en route to his first Pro Bowl. Watt has also been tremendously durable over the course of his three year career, playing in all 16 games in each campaign.

We heard in late March that the Ravens would pick up Smith’s fifth-year option, but the Ravens were hoping to work out a long-term deal with him. Smith will earn $6.898MM in 2015, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). His salary is guaranteed only for injury at present. It will become fully guaranteed for skill if he’s on the roster for the first day of the 2015 league year.

Liuget, 24, is coming off of his second consecutive productive season for San Diego, racking up 12.5 sacks between 2012 and ’13. Wilkerson and the Jets have both been open about their desire to work out a new long-term pact but in the interim, the Temple product will have to settle for a $6.97MM salary in 2014.

North Rumors: Bears, Ravens, Mosley

The Bears met with Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, writes Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Sutton, considered a good fit as the 3-technique defensive tackle in the Bears’ 4-3 system, had 20.5 sacks in college, including 13 as a junior. Double-teamed as a bulked-up senior, Sutton had three sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception. More out of the AFC and NFC North..

  • Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley visited the Ravens, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. In 2012, Mosley had 107 tackles with two interceptions and a forced fumble before dislocating his hip in the national championship game and undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.
  • The Ravens aren’t making any immediate decision on Rolando McClain, so don’t expect any resolution over the weekend, cautions Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Earlier today, the Ravens reinstated the troubled linebacker from the reserve/retired list.
  • While the Jets’ Eric Decker is the highest-paid free agent at wide receiver, the LionsGolden Tate may be in a position to have a bigger statistical year, says John Clayton of ESPN.com (video link).
  • The Ravens haven’t brought in Boston College running back Andre Williams for visit or worked him out yet but they’ve talked to him a lot, tweets Wilson.

Ravens Reinstate Rolando McClain

The Ravens have reinstated linebacker Rolando McClain from the reserve/retired list, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. McClain has not seen the gridiron since November 25, 2012 when he faced the Bengals as a member of the Raiders.

McClain, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 draft, has yet to realize his potential, to say the least. Despite his physical gifts, McClain has been unable to put it all together on the football field thanks to poor decision making and inconsistent effort. Off the field, he has had several run-ins with the law, including a gun charge in late 2011.

Yesterday we heard that McClain had a workout with the Ravens and it went poorly, to say the least. The 24-year-old (25 in July) was unable to finish his conditioning test and didn’t participate in some of the drills the team put him through. McClain’s reinstatement is far from a guarantee that he’ll be in purple and black in 2014, but it does leave the door open. As Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter) notes, the move will allow him to take part in the Ravens’ offseason workouts, which start on Monday.

West Notes: Fuller, Rams, 49ers, Chiefs

Let’s round up the latest draft items related to teams in the NFC and AFC West….

  • Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller will visit the Rams next week, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). A report last Friday indicated that Fuller would be working out for St. Louis at some point.
  • Thomas adds in another tweet that the Rams will also host Missouri Western TE/FB Reggie Jordan for a local visit next Friday.
  • The 49ers hosted Miami offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson for a visit this week, and Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com suggests that it may have been to gain more information about a prospect with possible character concerns. Henderson was suspended three times in college for violating team rules.
  • UTEP edge defender James Davidson has a visit on the docket with the Chiefs, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who refers to Davidson as a potential sleeper.

Minor Moves: Colts, Jaguars, Menkin, Raiders

We’ll round up Thursday’s minor transactions right here, which today includes a former NFLer signing with a CFL club and an exclusive rights free agent signing his ERFA tender. Any additional minor moves will be added to the top of the list throughout the day:

  • The Colts signed free agent fullbacks Stephen Campbell and Cameron White, according to Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star (on Twitter).
  • The Jaguars have re-signed exclusive rights free agent Jordan Todman, according to Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (via Twitter). The running back received a $645K ERFA tender from the team last month.

Earlier updates:

  • Offensive lineman Nate Menkin, who played his college ball at Mary Hardin-Baylor and joined the Eagles and Texans after going undrafted, has signed with the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). 2014 will be the first season for the RedBlacks, an expansion franchise.
  • Raiders linebacker Kaelin Burnett has signed his ERFA tender for the 2014 season, the team announced today (Twitter link). Burnett played primarily on special teams for the club in 2013, recording 11 tackles in kick and punt coverage. The 24-year-old will be in line to earn a $570K salary this year.

Jaguars Cut Russell Allen, Three Others

The Jaguars have released linebacker Russell Allen, who started 13 games for the club last season, according to Jags PR coordinator Tad Dickman (via Twitter). Dickman adds that the team also waived wide receiver Jabin Sambrano and defensive ends Will Pericak and D’Aundre Reed.

While the other three players didn’t see regular-season action for the Jaguars in 2013, Allen was a key contributor on defense, playing 601 snaps and providing nearly league-average production at the outside linebacker spot, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The 27-year-old, who logged 64 tackles and a sack, saw his PFF grade buoyed by solid play against the run.

Allen will immediately become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any club, while the other three players will have to clear waivers. The release of Allen also creates $2.5MM in cap savings for the Jags, though it’s very unlikely they’ll need or use that space this year.

Extra Points: Easley, Murray, Lions, Visits

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who tore his ACL in September, held a personal Pro Day to attempt to prove his health to NFL teams today, and Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com (Twitter links) reports that at least 17 clubs were in attendance. According to Barlis (via Twitter), Easley feels like his knee is at “about 80%” and that he’ll be fully prepared for summer mini-camps. In his ESPN.com piece on Easley’s performance, Barlis adds that the former Florida Gator will visit NFL clubs for seven straight days starting on Sunday.

Here are a few more notes from around the NFL, including one additional update on Easley:

  • Easley is drawing “heavy interest” from the Seahawks, Bears, Patriots, and 49ers in particular, and looks like a second-round pick, tweets Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net.
  • Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links) adds the Lions, Chiefs, Dolphins, and Rams to the list of teams who have met or will meet with Georgia signal-caller Aaron Murray.
  • In addition to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, whose visit was previously reported, the Lions are also hosting USC receiver Marqise Lee and Mississippi State defensive end Denico Autry today, says Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (via Twitter).
  • Jason Fitzgerald’s evaluatons of each team’s free agent periods continued today at OverTheCap.com with pieces on the Redskins, who received a C grade, and the Eagles, who got an impressive grade of B+.
  • Towson running back Terrance West, who has had private meetings with the Cardinals and Dolphins, will visit the 49ers, Falcons, and Bills next week, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Steelers hosted Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower, and Rice cornerback Phillip Gaines for pre-draft visits today, tweets Bob Labriola of Steelers.com.
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