The 49ers’ defense has already lost a pair of standouts, linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, to retirement this offseason. Defensive linemen Justin Smith is mulling his own future and could end up taking the same path as his two ex-teammates. Head coach Jim Tomsula hasn’t gotten word on Smith’s plans for 2015 and isn’t pressing the 14-year veteran for an answer, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
“We all want Justin Smith to come back and play football. You know? But he’s earned the right to make that decision and take the time that he needs,” Tomsula said Friday, per Maiocco.
If Smith does retire, Tomsula says the 49ers have in-house replacements lined up. “For four years –- you see the D-linemen we’ve brought in –- we’ve been making preparations.”
Nevertheless, losing Smith would seem to be another notable blow to San Francisco’s defense. In 2014, his age-35 season, Smith totaled five sacks (giving him 87 for his career) and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked him the NFL’s 11th-best 3-4 defensive end out of 47 qualifiers.
Here’s more on the 49ers:
- Star linebacker NaVorro Bowman missed all of last season after tearing his ACL and MCL in the 2013 NFC championship game, but he’s nearing a comeback. Tomsula said the three-time First-Team All-Pro should be ready to go for the team’s upcoming on-field activities, writes Cam Inman of the Mercury News. “When we can get on the field, Bow is going out on the field,” said Tomsula. “I haven’t gotten into the specifics on how much. Obviously we’re not going to throw somebody out there and go 100 reps. My understanding is, yes, he’s moving great.”
- Tight end Vernon Davis skipped 49ers offseason activities last year because of unhappiness with his contract and subsequently produced one of the worst seasons of his nine-year career. Now, with one year left on his deal, Davis is in attendance at the team’s voluntary workout program, according to Maiocco. “I’m here this year because I want to get better,” said Davis, who stated that Willis’ retirement “put everything in perspective for a lot of guys around here.”
- The 49ers are one of eight teams that Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker is scheduled to visit with prior to the upcoming draft, tweets Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko. In a mock draft posted earlier today, our own Rob DiRe has Parker going 11th overall to Minnesota. The 49ers have the 15th pick.