San Francisco 49ers Rumors & News

49ers Willing To Trade No. 2 Pick

Saddled with more needs than most teams in the NFL, the 49ers are making it clear they’re open for business regarding the No. 2 overall pick. A draft without a surefire No. 2 prospect, after Myles Garrett, has led John Lynch to consider trading down, per Eric Branch and Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.

We could stay pat right there and find a fabulous player, a game-changing player,” Lynch said. “It gives us a lot of flexibility to do some other things if we chose to be bold. There are going to be people that covet the pick we have, so there’s going to be some people that want to move up.”

This is the 49ers’ highest draft pick since the franchise held the 2005 No. 1 choice, taking Alex Smith with that opportunity. Lynch acknowledged in a recent radio interview with KNBR the No. 2 selection is a “tremendous asset.” Mock drafts don’t have a consensus for the 49ers at No. 2. Both ESPN.com’s draft expects, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, have the team going quarterback here (Insider links), Kiper sending Mitch Trubisky to San Francisco and McShay envisioning Deshaun Watson impressing the Lynch-led staff enough to invest in him at No. 2. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report recently mocked linebacker Reuben Foster to the 49ers here, and CBS Sports’ Rob Rang pegged Foster’s Alabama teammate, Jonathan Allen, to San Francisco.

Branch and Tafur note the 49ers would presumably be thrilled if the quarterback-starved Browns passed on Garrett, with the 49ers being devoid of a high-end pass-rusher. Cleveland’s trade out of the No. 2 pick last year would help provide a blueprint should the 49ers pull the trigger on a trade. The Eagles surrendered their 2017 first-rounder (No. 12), third- and fourth-round picks last year and a 2018 second-rounder for the right to move up and take Carson Wentz.

Kyle Shanahan acknowledged the 49ers won’t reach for a quarterback. Fronted by Trubisky, Watson and DeShone Kizer, this class has been among the more scrutinized quarterback rookie pools in recent memory. Another team viewing one of these passers in higher regard than the 49ers may be the circumstance that induces a trade.

The worst mistakes you can make is you take a guy who isn’t that good of a player, or worthy of that,” Shanahan said. “The expectations change. You put a guy in a position that is really unfair to him and you set your organization back. And then you’re trying to commit to a guy who … shouldn’t have been put in that position.”

The 49ers have been connected to veteran quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Jay Cutler and Jimmy Garoppolo, and Lynch recently met with Colin Kaepernick, who has an opt-out decision forthcoming. San Francisco has 10 picks in the coming draft.

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Familiar Staff Helped 49ers Land Earl Mitchell

Despite being released off a defense that ranked 29th last season, Earl Mitchell logged an extensive street free agency tour before signing with the 49ers. After a Broncos offer to Mitchell was reported last night, the new 49er said the Seahawks also made him an offer, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (on Twitter), before he opted for the Bay Area. The Seahawks joined the Falcons as fellow NFC teams pursuing Mitchell, who played four seasons with the Texans and three with the Dolphins. This is his third four-year contract.

That pact came partially because of Mitchell’s history in Houston. New 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina coached Mitchell with the Texans, and DeMeco Ryans being hired as defensive quality control coach meant a former teammate was going to be on staff. Both hires helped sway Mitchell, per Wagoner (on Twitter). New GM John Lynch also called Mitchell “a priority for us to sign.”

  • The Broncos lost an assistant offensive line coach who was affiliated with the organization for less than a month when John Benton agreed to become the 49ers’ O-line instructor. They plan to fill his position by bringing in a college coach of their top lineman, with former Boise State and Washington offensive line coach Chris Strausser set to succeed Benton, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Strausser coached Broncos center Matt Paradis — and Bears left tackle Charles Leno — during his time in Idaho before spending the past three seasons with the Huskies. Strausser has coached in college for more than 25 years; this will be his first NFL job.

49ers Notes: Front Office, Mitchell Contract

  • After spending 12 years with the 49ers, including the past four as their director of college scouting, Matt Malaspina took a job as a college scout with the Packers on Friday, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. In doing so, Malaspina became the second front office member to leave the San Francisco organization this week. The 49ers and assistant general manager Tom Gamble parted ways Wednesday.
  • In other 49ers news, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell‘s four-year, $16MM agreement with the club includes $6.5MM in guarantees, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.

49ers Sign Earl Mitchell

The 49ers are making a free agency splash well before March 9: The club has agreed to a four-year, $16MM deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). The team announced the signing of the veteran lineman Saturday.

Earl Mitchell (Vertical)

Mitchell, who will enter his age-30 season in 2017, came available when the Dolphins released him last week. The 49ers were among several teams to show interest in Mitchell, who also visited with the Seahawks, Broncos and Falcons. Mitchell would have made $4MM next season had the Dolphins retained him, but he’ll now rake in $5.5MM as a Niner, per Garafolo.

A seven-year veteran who went in the third round of the 2010 draft, Mitchell divided his career between Houston and Miami before reaching a deal with the 49ers. He has collected 100 appearances, 38 starts and 5.5 sacks to this point, and is coming off a season in which he only played nine games on account of a calf injury.

In his previous trip to free agency, in 2014, Mitchell landed a richer deal – four years and $19MM – though he did it as an in-his-prime player fresh off a 14-start season. While the full details of his new pact aren’t yet known, Mitchell has landed an impressive payday in the wake of both an injury-shortened season and a release. He’ll now join a 49ers defense that finished last season 28th in DVOA and will attempt to turn things around under new coordinator Robert Saleh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jim Harbaugh On Jed York, Colin Kaepernick

  • Speaking of the state of Michigan, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh took a shot at 49ers CEO Jed York on Thursday in a podcast with Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News. Harbaugh quipped that he deserves “an endurance medal” for working with the much-maligned York for four years, from 2011-14. San Francisco was a powerhouse under Harbaugh, as it went 44-19-1 and earned a Super Bowl berth, but the two sides parted ways over his poor relationship with management. The polarizing Colin Kaepernick was Harbaugh’s starting quarterback for most of the coach’s tenure in the Bay Area, and Harbaugh told Kawakami that “there’s no doubt” Kaepernick is still capable of being a No. 1 signal-caller. Kaepernick’s time with the Niners could be on the verge of ending, though he did have a positive meeting Wednesday with new general manager John Lynch.

49ers, Executive Tom Gamble Part Ways

The 49ers are continuing the evolution of their front office, as the club announced today that assistant general manager Tom Gamble is leaving the organization.49ers Helmet (Featured)

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick Meets With 49ers Brass]

“The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service,” said general manager John Lynch in a statement. “He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”

San Francisco is now fielding one of the more intriguing front offices in the NFL, as Lynch — a first-time decision-maker fresh off a television career — is leading management alongside first-time head coach Kyle Shanhan, who will hold sway over the construction of the 53-man roster. The 49ers have also brought in former Denver staffer Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel, while former Lions GM Martin Mayhew is now on board as a senior personnel executive.

Gamble had spent most of the past decade with the 49ers, with the lone break coming in 2013-14 when he became the Eagles’ VP of player personnel. A longtime NFL executive, Gamble had held a variety of roles with San Francisco, including directorships in both player and pro personnel. Gamble was promoted to assistant GM last summer, but reports last month indicated he’d have to work to keep his job under the Niners’ new regime.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colin Kaepernick Meets With 49ers Brass

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick reached out to new general manager John Lynch soon after the latter was hired, and today Kaepernick ventured to Niners headquarters to meet with Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan face-to-face, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Lynch later called the talk a “really positive discussion,” per Maiocco, but wouldn’t divulge any further information about the content of the summit.Colin Kaepernick

[RELATED: 49ers Sign K’Waun Williams]

Kaepernick, who is currently without an agent, holds an opt-out provision that would allow him to hit the free agent market this spring. While reports have varied, Kaepernick may still be deciding whether to exercise that clause in his contract. Whether or not he does could end up being moot, as the 49ers may simply release Kaepernick if he doesn’t opt out, especially given that the club has already been linked to a number of other quarterbacks.

If he does reach free agency, the 29-year-old Kaepernick would hit the market along with other signal-callers such as Mike Glennon, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brian Hoyer, while passers like Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, and Tyrod Taylor may also soon become available. Among that group, Kaepernick is among those with the most recent success, as he tossed 16 touchdowns against only four picks in 2016.

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49ers Sign CB K’Waun Williams

It’s official. The 49ers have signed free agent cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement.K'Waun Williams (Vertical)

[RELATED: DeMeco Ryans Joins 49ers Staff]

In addition to the 49ers, the Jets, Dolphins, Vikings, and Lions all expressed interest in Williams, while the Jets are known to have offered the 25-year-old a free agent pact. The Niners have landed Williams, however, and will add him to a cavalcade of cornerbacks that already includes Tramaine Brock, Jimmie Ward, Keith Reaser, Rashard Robinson, and others.

Williams, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Pitt in 2014, appeared in 26 games (10 starts) with Cleveland from 2014-15. Playing mostly in the slot, Williams didn’t manage any interceptions, but did post 10 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and two sacks during his time with the Browns.

Cleveland waived Williams in the midst of a spat regarding an ankle injury, and though he was subsequently claimed by the Bears, Williams failed his physical in Chicago and hit the free agent market once again. Williams never played in 2016, and still has an outstanding grievance against the Browns.

The pact was first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com first reported that San Francisco had offered Williams a contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Hire Three Coaches

  • The Vikings made a “strong push” for free agent cornerback K’Waun Williams, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, but ultimately lost out to the 49ers. Williams, 25, didn’t play in 2016 while dealing with an ankle injury, but would have given Minnesota another slot option given that Captain Munnerlyn is a free agent. Per Goessling, Williams’ relationship with San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley heavily factored into his decision to head to the Bay Area.
  • The 49ers announced that they’ve hired Stan Kwan (assistant special teams), Vince Oghobaase (asssistant defensive line), and Adam Stenavich (assistant offensive line). While Oghobaase is a holdover from the Chip Kelly regime, Kwan and Stenavich are new additions. Kwan was relieved of his duties as a Saints assistant earlier this year after spending four years in New Orleans.