San Francisco 49ers Rumors & News

ESPN Hires Chip Kelly

It doesn’t sound like we’ll be seeing former Eagles and 49ers head coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines for a college or NFL team this season. Kelly has signed on with ESPN as a studio analyst, according to a press release from the network. Chip Kelly

[RELATED: Chip Kelly Did Not Have Interest In Alabama’s OC Job]

Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective — as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I’ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations. Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

It’s a multi-year contract for Kelly and ESPN, though deals for coaching types typically come with out clauses. It’s unlikely that Kelly will break his pact in the coming months, but he’ll probably have his hat in the ring for opportunities in 2018, whether that be in in the professional or collegiate ranks. A report back in March indicated that Kelly was looking to find work in the NFL as an assistant, leading him to TV.

Kelly, 53, coached the Eagles for three years before a trying 2016 season with San Francisco. The offensive-minded coach went 26-21 as the coach of the Eagles but his 49ers went 2-14 last year. Before jumping to the NFL, Kelly amassed a 46-7 record at Oregon. He’ll be providing insight on both NFL and college games for ESPN.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Adam Peters Was Key In 49ers' Reuben Foster Pick

  • Vice president of player personnel Adam Peters was one of the driving forces behind the 49ers’ drafting of former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, writes Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Before Peters’ hiring in January, general manager John Lynch asked the former Broncos executive whom he’d select with the 49ers’ first-round pick (No. 2 overall). “Without hesitation, he said ‘Reuben Foster,'” stated Lynch. The draft didn’t quite work out the way Peters imagined it then, as the Niners ultimately traded down to third overall and selected ex-Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with that choice. But San Francisco ended up getting Foster at the end of Round 1, after it moved up to No. 31 overall. “A lot has transpired then and (Peters) loved Solomon Thomas, too, I don’t want to get that mistaken,” said Lynch. “But he was a huge champion of Reuben Foster. Like I said, so much transpired from there to there. But (Peters) was big on that one. I know that.”

NaVorro Bowman On Competing For Snaps, Trade Rumor

  • Coming off the second major injury of his career, a torn Achilles, longtime 49ers starting inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman will have to compete with free agent signing Malcolm Smith and first-round pick Reuben Foster for snaps, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan (Twitter link via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle). Bowman, a three-time first-team All-Pro who has started in all 68 of his appearances since 2011, vowed Monday that he’ll relegate Smith and Foster to the bench (via Branch). “I won’t be on the sideline. I’m going to tell you that now,” declared Bowman, who revealed that he spoke with GM John Lynch regarding a recent trade rumor. “He mentioned that it was a rumor,” Bowman said of Lynch. “Things were misinterpreted. And I also heard about the guy who reported it who wanted some type of attention. … But the NFL knows what type of player I am. Injuries are part of the game. I’ve done everything I needed to get back to where I am today. I’m ahead of schedule. I don’t feel anything in my Achilles or my knee. And guys can see that out on the field.”

Reggie Bush Still Wants To Play

Reggie Bush isn’t done yet. At least, he hopes he isn’t. The former No. 2 overall pick says that he intends to play in 2017. 

That’s my plan,” Bush said (via NFL.com). “Going into year 12, I still feel like I have a lot left to prove, a lot left to give this game before I’m done. I don’t want to put a number on how many years I have left. I think once you get past year 10, you just gotta take it one year at a time and go from there. I’m still excited, still looking forward to playing football again this season, still staying in shape, still working out. I plan to be somewhere in September.”

Bush, 32, appeared in 13 games for the Bills last year, but he didn’t do a whole lot. He finished out the season with seven catches for 90 yards plus 12 carries for negative three yards and one rushing touchdown. Bush doesn’t have anyone beating down his door after that performance, but he says that he has “spoken to a few teams.”

For what it’s worth, Bush understands that he won’t be receiving the kind of lucrative offers that he was getting as a free agent prior to the 2013 season.

I think it depends. If you’re in it for the money, then it’s possible,” Bush said. “But I started playing football when I was eight years old, and it’s always been a strong passion, and it’s always been a passion that’s never gonna leave. For me at this point, I’ve made plenty of money and it’s not about the money for me. I want to get a chance to go out there on the football field and just continue to play the sport that I love to play. I’m so passionate about football and I love it, and I’m not ready to hang it up yet. I want to make sure I exhaust everything before I hang it up so I don’t have any regrets once I do hang it up.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Notes: Carthon, Wray

  • The 49ers have tabbed Ran Carthon as their new director of pro personnel, general manager John Lynch announced Friday. Carthon served in the same role with the NFC West rival Rams over the previous five seasons, before they dismissed him last month.
  • In other 49ers news, the team worked out defensive lineman Carlos Wray on Thursday, tweets Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Wray was among three defensive linemen whom the 49ers auditioned, along with the previously reported Kedric Golston and Cedric Reed. A former Duke Blue Devil, Wray signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent last spring, but they waived/injured him in July.

Bucs Didn’t Consider Colin Kaepernick

On Friday, the Buccaneers signed Ryan Fitzpatrick and the deal drew eye rolls from those who believe that the unemployed Colin Kaepernick is more deserving of a roster spot. Not only did the Bucs choose Fitzpatrick over Kaepernick, but it turns out that they did not consider Kaepernick for the No. 2 quarterback job at all, a source tells Mike Florio of PFT. Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick threw for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2016 while Fitzpatrick tossed 12 TDs against 17 picks. Even the advanced metrics preferred Kaepernick as he earned a 61.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus, besting Fitzpatrick’s less atrocious 42.1 posting. Neither player set the world on fire last year, but by almost any measure, Kaepernick had the better year and his offense was by no means better than Fitzpatrick’s.

However, there are plenty of reasons why the Buccaneers probably went with Fitzpatrick without first mulling Kaepernick, and none of them pertain to Kaepernick’s social positions. Fitzpatrick was an above-average starter as recently as 2015 and he had two under-the-radar quality seasons before that with the Titans and Texans, respectively. Kaepernick, meanwhile, is now two years removed from being a respectable starter. There’s also the matter of playing styles to consider. Fitzpatrick is a pro-style quarterback who can fit the offense designed for Jameis Winston if he’s called upon. Kaepernick, however, would be better suited for a playbook with more designed runs and an offensive line that’s accustomed to the blocking schemes needed for a mobile QB.

The Bucs didn’t think about signing Kaepernick, but as we learned earlier this week, the Seahawks are taking a hard look at him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Audition DT Kedric Golston

The 49ers worked out veteran free agent defensive tackle Kedric Golston, according to a source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). This marks Golston’s first known audition of the offseason.

Golston, a sixth-round pick of the Redskins in 2006, wound up spending eleven seasons in D.C. Unfortunately, his 2016 season ended after two games when he suffered a season-ending hamstring injury. Over the course of his Redskins career, Golston appeared in a total of 142 regular season games with 53 starts.

Throughout his career, Golston has alternated between defensive tackle and defensive end. In 2016, before his unfortunate injury, the plan was for Golston to be a run-stuffing nose tackle. It’s not clear where the Niners would use him in their 4-3 set, but as he approaches his 34th birthday, he might not have the speed to play as an edge defender.

The Niners seem to be exploring veteran defensive line options this week. On Thursday, SF took a look at former University of Texas standout Cedric Reed.

Joe Williams Could Overtake Carlos Hyde As 49ers' Top Back

  • Rookie fourth-rounder Joe Williams will have a legitimate shot to overtake Carlos Hyde as the 49ers’ No. 1 running back in 2017, opines Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. The John Lynch– and Kyle Shanahan-led Niners traded up in the draft for Williams and are quite bullish on the ex-Utah star, notes Maiocco, who also points out that Hyde is entering a contract year. San Francisco, then, isn’t tied to Hyde for the long haul, and its new regime has no built-in loyalty to the three-year veteran. It’s worth noting that Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reported last month that the 49ers’ bigwigs aren’t enamored of Hyde.

49ers Work Out DE Cedric Reed

The 49ers are auditioning defensive end Cedric Reed today, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Reed previously spent time with the Bills and Dolphins but has yet to appear in an NFL game.

[RELATED: 49ers Tried To Trade Into Mid-First Round For Reuben Foster]

Reed was a prominent player for the University of Texas in his final two seasons on campus. Although he had 74 tackles and ten sacks as a junior followed by 69 tackles and 5.5 sacks as a senior, he went undrafted in 2014 and has been looking for steady work ever since. Reed was among the final cuts in Miami last year, so he’s certainly a guy who’s worth consideration for the 90-man roster.

In other 49ers news, we recently learned that the Niners tried to trade up to the middle of the first round to draft Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. Fortunately for them, they were able to land Foster near the end of the first round instead. Meanwhile, the trainer for former Niner Colin Kaepernick says that the quarterback absolutely still wants to play.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Tried To Trade Into Mid-First Round For Reuben Foster

We learned several weeks ago that the 49ers were willing to make Alabama LB Reuben Foster the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft if edge rushers Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas were already off the board. Ultimately, of course, San Francisco grabbed Thomas with the No. 3 overall selection and dealt its No. 34 and No. 111 overall picks to Seattle to move up to No. 31 and select Foster, the third-ranked player on its board.

Reuben Foster (vertical)

But as Peter King of The MMQB writes in his piece detailing 49ers GM John Lynch‘s 24 hours up to and during the draft, Lynch and Co. were trying to land Foster long before that. The team did not believe Foster would fall past Baltimore’s selection at No. 16, as the Ravens had an apparent need at middle linebacker and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has a perceived proclivity for selecting Alabama players. The 49ers therefore offered Baltimore a second-, third-, and fourth-round selection to move up to No. 16, and Newsome countered with the second-rounder and both of the 49ers’ third-rounders.

The 49ers declined, but they kept trying. They offered the same package they offered to Baltimore to the Redskins, who held the No. 17 overall selection, but Washington declined as well (for what it’s worth, John Keim of ESPN.com says Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was unaware of the trade proposal, but it’s likely that team president Bruce Allen would have rejected the deal before it reached Gruden anyway). Lynch also called the Giants before they made their No. 23 overall choice, but he was rebuffed by New York GM Jerry Reese. Lynch finally, and unexpectedly, got his man eight picks later.

We now know that Foster could miss the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder injury, so it’s not surprising that he fell as far as he did on draft night (his watered-down urine sample and pre-draft argument with a hospital worker did not help his cause either). And, as our Dallas Robinson pointed out in the post linked above, it’s not a great look for Lynch and the 49ers staff that they were willing to use the third overall pick — or to trade significant draft assets to get back into the middle of the first round — for a player who ultimately fell to the end of Round 1.

However, by getting Foster in the first round, they can keep him under contract for five years, so it will be easier for them to treat 2017 as a medical redshirt season if necessary. Plus, if Foster can stay healthy, he and Thomas could form a fearsome duo in the middle of San Francisco’s defense for years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.