Reuben Foster

Latest On 49ers LB Reuben Foster

Earlier this month, we heard that 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster is facing multiple felony charges and one misdemeanor in relation to a February domestic violence incident. However, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the victim has recanted her claim.

Elissa Ennis, Foster’s former girlfriend, released a statement through her attorney stating that the linebacker did not cause her injuries earlier this year. Rather, the injuries were a result of a fight with another woman. Foster intended to end their relationship after learning after the fight, and Ennis followed through in her threat to “trash his career.”

“(Foster) did not strike her, injure her or threaten her,” attorney Stephanie Rickard told Maiocco.

This doesn’t necessarily mean Foster’s off the hook. As Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group tweets, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office has already said that they’d prosecute the NFL player even if the victim didn’t cooperate. As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com notes, Foster is also facing a felony charge for possessing an assault weapon, which would seemingly be unrelated to the assault case. The NFL is conducting its own investigation, and they could ultimately choose to punish Foster.

The 49ers have already barred Foster from participating in their offseason program, and general manager John Lynch said he’d release the player if the allegations proved to be true.

“We do feel like patience is the right approach right now, that we are going to learn things through this legal process,” Lynch said (via Maiocco). “But I do want to be very clear, abundantly clear, that if these charges are proven true, that if Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won’t be part of our organization going forward.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Thomas, 49ers

Despite the Seahawks expecting Earl Thomas not to hold out, they still have him on the trade block, John Clayton of ESPN said during a radio appearance with KESN in Dallas (via the Dallas Morning News). Clayton added that the Seahawks would likely be willing to move their three-time All-Pro safety for less than a first-round pick, indicating they would probably trade Thomas for a package featuring second- and fourth-round selections and perhaps something in the 2019 draft. Clayton indicates the Cardinals could use a free safety but that the Seahawks were not going to trade Thomas to an NFC West team. The Cowboys moving Byron Jones to cornerback would open a spot there, and Thomas was vocal about being receptive to a Dallas deal, and they strike Clayton as the top suitor for the 28-year-old defender’s services.

Here’s the latest from Seattle, along with other West-division locales, heading into draft week:

  • Pete Carroll said this week the door wasn’t closed between the Seahawks and Colin Kaepernick, but Clayton said this partnership will be unlikely. The longtime ESPN reporter added the Seahawks did work out Kaepernick last year when he visited but did not offer him a contract because Carroll exited the interview with the impression the former 49er still wanted to be an NFL starter rather than a backup.
  • The 49ers covered their linebacker bases this week. After hosting Roquan Smith on a top-30 visit, they welcomed Tremaine Edmunds to the Bay Area for a 30 summit, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports. The 49ers scheduled the Smith and Edmunds visits weeks ago and not in light of the charges levied against Reuben Foster, per Barrows.
  • Foster’s plea hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 30, and Barrows reports that if no delays occur, jury selection for this case would transpire in late July. With the 49ers barring Foster from their workouts until this matter is resolved, that’s going to essentially nullify the second-year linebacker’s offseason. However, the alleged victim has hired representation, which could cloud this case.
  • The Cardinals visited Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk recently.

NFC Notes: Packers, Rodgers, Cardinals, Foster

The Packers could target an upgrade at inside linebacker in the form of Georgia’s Roquan Smith or Virginia Tech’s  Tremaine Edmunds. But as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out, the team would likely have to trade up from its No. 14 overall pick to land either of the players.

The Raiders are certainly players for Smith at No. 10 and if the Buffalo trades up from its No. 12 pick, that could also complicate matters.

Silverstein identifies two possible trades. The team could swap its first -and third-round picks for the 49ers’ No. 9 overall pick, also giving the Niners the 70th, 74th and 76th overall picks in the draft. Green Bay could also go after the Dolphins’ No. 11 overall pick.

A few other areas of need for the Packers include cornerback and a pass-rusher. But Silverstein notes it would be nice for the team to be able pair another three-down inside linebacker with more coverage ability than Blake Martinez.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Sticking with the Packers, the Milwaukee Bucks announced at their playoff game Friday that quarterback Aaron Rodgers had purchased a minority stake in the team’s ownership group. The Bucks pointed out that he’s the only active NFL with an ownership stake in an NBA team. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky goes into more detail on the motivation for Rodgers to make the move.
  • Cardinals coach Steve Wilks announced that his linebacking corps for the upcoming season will include Deone Bucannon, Josh Bynes and Haason Reddick, according to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss.
  • Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides an update on 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster and his domestic violence charges. The charges stem from a February incident with Foster and his girlfriend at his Los Gatos, Calif., home in February. Barrows reports that the victim in the case has hired an attorney, which could signal she doesn’t plan to cooperate with the prosecution.

West Rumors: Raiders, Bradford, Donald

Although the Raiders have signed a slew of veterans in free agency this year, they are still in need of help at linebacker. And they may be hoping a run on quarterbacks helps bring Roquan Smith to them at No. 10. They may not be willing to trade up for the Georgia-honed linebacker, however.

Roquan Smith is the guy. I don’t know that they would be willing to give away additional picks later to go up and get him, but he’s the guy they want,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said, via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. “… There’s a lot of love for Roquan Smith in that building.”

While NaVorro Bowman has been connected to the Raiders for months as a re-sign candidate, he remains a free agent. The Silver and Black signed Tahir Whitehead, and he’ll likely start at one of their second-level spots, with Kyle Wilber and Emmanuel Lamur in line to supply depth. But a long-term cog looks to be on the agenda as this draft approaches. The Raiders have not selected a first- or second-round linebacker who plays off the ball during the Reggie McKenzie regime, with Rolando McClain (Round 1, 2010) being the most recent such investment. Of course, McKenzie ceded some power to Jon Gruden this offseason.

However, the 49ers are a possible Smith suitor as well — with Reuben Foster facing possible prison time and Malcolm Smith coming off a season-ending injury — and met with Smith this week. He also visited with the Colts and Bears, each holding top-eight picks, in April.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions:

  • McShay’s also heard Tremaine Edmunds and Vita Vea‘s names linked to the Raiders. With four quarterbacks possibly set to go off the board before the Silver and Black’s selection window opens, they could have their pick of these three prospects.
  • While the Cardinals are going to ease Sam Bradford into action this offseason, Steve Wilks likes the early form the would-be starter is in. “I didn’t see anything (bad) out of his knee. Not one thing,” Wilks said, via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “Nothing is wrong with his knee. I thought he threw the ball well, ball-handling, he handed the ball off, rolled out, bootleg, all those things. He’s doing everything we ask him to do. We just want to make sure we don’t put too much on him too soon.” Bradford wore a brace on his troublesome left knee early in the week before shifting to a sleeve, per Urban.
  • Sean McVay is encouraged by the early dialogue the Rams are having with Aaron Donald. The team did not expect Donald, a holdout until September last year, to report to the first phase of its offseason program as he seeks a landscape-altering contract. “We feel good about the dialogue that has existed,” McVay said this week. “This is a voluntary offseason program with where we’re at. You know he’s a guy who’s going to work hard on his off-time, and that’s kind of where we’re at.” The Rams sound like they’re on the verge of authorizing a record contract for the reigning defensive player of the year.
  • Maurice Hurst visited the Raiders on Monday, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Adding the Raiders are “hell bent” on strengthening their interior pass rush, which has been a trouble spot for a while now, Bair identifies the Michigan defensive tackle as a candidate for Oakland’s Round 1 choice it the team trades down from its No. 10 slot.
  • Foster’s in a world of trouble for an alleged domestic violence incident earlier this year, facing three felony charges, but the 49ers linebacker saw a misdemeanor charge dropped this week. Foster won’t face a charge for the possession of a large-capacity ammunition magazine, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office announced (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).

49ers Bar Reuben Foster From Workouts Amid Legal Investigation

Reuben Foster‘s employment status with the 49ers is now tenuous because of the legal investigation that stems from three felony charges, and the linebacker will not be permitted to join the team until that matter is resolved.

On the eve of their offseason program, the 49ers announced Foster will not be participating in team activities while this investigation is ongoing.

Reuben Foster will not participate in team activities as he is tending to his legal matters,” the team said in a statement. “As previously stated, his future with the team will be determined by the information revealed during the legal process.”

The Alabama product is facing up to 11 years in prison for his alleged domestic violence acts for which he was arrested earlier this year. The former first-round pick is not yet eligible for the commissioner’s exempt list because the league’s investigation is also ongoing. This would have allowed him to work out with the team in the meantime, but the 49ers are making a preemptive strike in that regard, for the time being.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Foster, Mack, Vea, Bynes

Reuben Foster is not eligible for the commissioner’s exempt list at this point, Jim Trotter of ESPN.com tweets, so the embattled linebacker would be able to be in attendance on the first day of the 49ers‘ offseason program come Monday. Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area expects Foster to be there (Twitter link), despite circumstances that could well have Foster bound for an ignominious departure after a standout rookie season. Foster will become eligible for the commissioner’s exempt list once the league concludes its investigation into his alleged act of domestic violence — an incident that prompted authorities to charge the 2017 first-round pick with three felonies. Foster could face up to 11 years in prison. Conversely, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) would be surprised if Foster is with his teammates at 49ers headquarters next week, noting he will probably “stay away for a little bit.” Rapoport said he expects the 49ers to quickly waive Foster if, in fact, they learn the 24-year-old defender committed these crimes.

Here’s the latest from some other West-division cities.

  • Khalil Mack has not shown up for the first week of Jon Gruden‘s return to the Raiders, but Reggie McKenzie remains confident a contract agreement will come. “This is going to be a big contract and all sides are trying to make everything work,” McKenzie told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair). “It’s about the end result. One thing I know is that we love Khalil Mack and we want to make him a Raider for life. We’ll get through all the other stuff. We understand the business part of it. Everybody is aware of everything and nobody is surprised. Everything, on all sides has been positive.” Wyche reports Mack and Gruden have spoken recently, despite the superstar defensive end’s absence, and McKenzie understands Mack may stay away from the team until a deal is completed.
  • Vita Vea is eligible to attend both the Seahawks‘ and 49ers’ local pro days, which do not count against teams’ top-30 visits, but he will instead meet with the Redskins next Wednesday, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee tweets. The mammoth ex-Washington Huskies defensive tackle went to high school in the Bay Area. He’s visited several teams and is a surefire first-round pick.
  • Cardinals linebacker Josh Bynes received $1.25MM in guaranteed money via his latest deal with the team, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic notes. Despite a new coaching staff coming in and the Cards set to turn to a 4-3 setup, Bynes signed to stay in Arizona on a three-year deal. The base value of that contract is $5.575MM, per OverTheCap, but it could max out at close to $10MM. Bynes started 19 games for the Lions between the 2015 and ’16 seasons and was a Cardinals starter in just one 2017 contest. But Steve Wilks sees the 28-year-old former UDFA as a viable candidate to start at middle linebacker.

Latest On 49ers’ Reuben Foster

49ers linebacker Reuben Foster is facing multiple felony charges and one misdemeanor in relation to a February incident, according to a press release from the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office. If convicted, he’ll face more than eleven years in prison. 

[RELATED: Former 49ers CB Dontae Johnson Signs With Seahawks]

Foster faces charges of domestic violence with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily injury, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime, and possession of an assault weapon, all of which are felonies. He is also charged with misdemeanor possession of a “large capacity weapon magazine.” Foster will be arraigned in California on Thursday afternoon.

Per the DA’s office, Foster’s victim “told responding sheriff’s deputies and Los Gatos police that Foster dragged her by her hair, physically threw her out of the house, and punched her in the head eight to ten times.” In response, the 49ers released a statement indicating that Foster will be jettisoned if he his found guilty of the more serious charges:

The 49ers organization is aware of today’s disturbing charges regarding Reuben Foster. We will continue to follow this serious matter. Reuben is aware that his place in our organization is under great scrutiny and will depend on what is learned through the legal process.”

Foster made an impact right out of the gate as a rookie in 2017, tallying 72 total tackles in ten games (all starts). In November, he earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month honors and appeared to be on track for a promising NFL career. Right now, his football future is very much in jeopardy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On 49ers, Reuben Foster

While speaking at the NFL owners meetings, 49ers CEO Jed York seemed to indicate that linebacker Reuben Foster‘s spot on the team was safe following a pair of offseason arrests. But York also suggested that Foster is on thin ice with the organization. 

“From my conversations with John (Lynch) and Kyle (Shanahan), I know Reuben is very cognizant of where his position is right now,” York said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “And his time with the 49ers could potentially be over if he continues to do things outside of the team that aren’t what we want him to be a part of.”

There is still a decision to be made as to whether Foster will face criminal charges from the Santa Clara County District Attorney stemming from his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence in February.

“We have to wait until that happens but that will obviously be something that we get together and discuss whatever comes down when those issues come up and figure out where we move from there,” York continued.

Foster was also arrested in January in Alabama for possession of marijuana.

“We’d love Reuben to be on this team,” York said Wednesday, per Branch. “And we’d love him to participate for us, but if he’s not doing things off the field that allow us to be able to rely on him — or he’s doing something that we’re not comfortable with off the field and it’s proven that’s what’s going on — I think the guys have said then you’re just going to have to move on.”

Foster had a productive rookie season for San Francisco after being selected with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 draft out of Alabama. He started 10 games, collecting 59 tackles, and Pro Football Focus graded him as the top rookie linebacker in the NFL.

NFC West Notes: Wilson, Cardinals, Foster

Yesterday, we learned that Seahawks QB Russell Wilson could be in line for a new contract with an AAV of $30MM as early as next offseason (he is under club control through 2019, and Seattle does not revisit deals that have more than one year remaining). While that report raised some eyebrows, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (who penned the above-referenced article) tweets that Wilson’s current deal — which he signed in 2015 — has an AAV of 15.31% of the 2015 salary cap. A $30MM AAV on his next contract would represent 15.87% of the projected 2019 cap, so it would be a reasonable benchmark for Wilson to shoot for. Given that, and given Wilson’s accomplishments in the league, a $30MM/year deal does not seem especially far-fetched.

Now let’s take a look at a few more rumors from the NFC West:

  • Just like 2013, Steve Keim‘s first year as the Cardinals‘ GM, Arizona has a void at quarterback. During a recent interview on 98.7 FM, Keim addressed that need (article via Vince Marotta of ArizonaSports.com). He indicated that the team would be active in the free agent market, which is as rich in QB talent as it has been at any time in recent memory, and he did not rule out the possibility of a trade. Of course, whether they do so via free agency, a trade, or the draft, the Cardinals will need to acquire at least two signal-callers this offseason.
  • As Matt Maiocco of NBCSports.com observes, when the 49ers have released a player due to off-field issues in the past, they have done so immediately. The fact that San Francisco has yet to release Reuben Foster in light of the recent domestic violence allegations levied against him indicates to Maiocco that the team has not seen enough concrete information to cut ties with the former Alabama standout.
  • In the same piece, Maiocco reiterates that the 49ers will look to re-sign LB Brock Coyle, assuming the team is confident that Coyle will make a full recovery from his offseason shoulder surgery. Maiocco is also more optimistic than other writers that the 49ers will be able to retain DE Tank Carradine .

Extra Points: Carrie, Foster, Johnson, Tags

Two of the top wide receivers expected to be available on this year’s UFA market may not be locks to leave their previous teams. The Jaguars and Rams face decisions on Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins, respectively, and Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com expects both wideouts to be franchise-tagged by the March deadline. The Jags have both Robinson and Marqise Lee as free agent WRs, and Robinson has posted the best season of any wideout in this UFA class. But the 24-year-old pass-catcher’s 2015 campaign (80 receptions, 1,400 yards, 14 touchdown catches) thus far serves as the outlier, and Robinson didn’t have a chance to rebound from a lesser 2016 slate (73/883/6) — albeit with a worse Blake Bortles showing that year — on it after going down in Week 1.

Watkins being tagged would be notable since the Rams also have Lamarcus Joyner as a tag candidate. Joyner may be the best safety on the market, if he reaches free agency. The Rams also have an Aaron Donald contract to prepare for, so it’s a complicated offseason for the reigning NFC West champs. The receiver tag is expected to come in at $16.2MM, and Watkins’ L.A. work thus far would not justify that price. That could also complicate matters for the Jags, who have Bortles’ fifth-year number of $19MM set to vest come March. A Robinson tag would add a considerable figure to the Jacksonville payroll.

As teams continue to prepare for the Combine and free agency, here’s the latest from around the league.

  • Derrick Johnson confirmed on Instagram he will not be back with the Chiefs next season. This news emerged earlier this week and will conclude a 13-season run for Johnson, who will end his Kansas City career as one of the franchise’s best defenders. However, Johnson wants to play a 14th season. The 35-year-old linebacker may have regressed a bit but could be an interesting fit for a linebacker-needy team on a one-year deal.
  • The 49ers spoke to Reuben Foster in person and by phone this week, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. The linebacker is being investigated for an alleged domestic violence incident, leading to his second arrest of the offseason, that occurred last weekend.
  • Despite his Raiders contract having expired, T.J. Carrie met with the new Silver and Black coaching staff this week, Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Carrie functioned as a full-time starter with Oakland last season. The Raiders released David Amerson earlier this month and could well move on from Sean Smith free of charge soon. Pro Football Focus’ No. 22 corner in 2017, Carrie is coming off his best season and would be an interesting name to on the market. But the former seventh-round pick told Kawahara he would like to stay with the Raiders. “I’m a hometown kid. I’m a Bay Area kid. I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else than Oakland,” Carrie said. “… I’ve loved and I’ve dreamed of playing for the Raiders for such a long time. And now that I’ve had the opportunity to play there for four years, I want to finish there.”
  • The Lions hired Erik Kunttu to run their video operations department, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com notes. This hire proves interesting because it adds to an unusual pipeline. Counting Matt Patricia, there are now seven members of the 2018 Lions’ staff who were on the 2001 Syracuse staff, per Meinke. Patricia spent three seasons serving as an offensive graduate assistant at the then-Big East program, and then-Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni will join Patricia in guiding the Detroit defense.