49ers Rumors

Sherman Details Prior 2017 Achilles Issues

  • 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said he experienced Achilles issues during his final offseason workouts with the Seahawks, and the problem worsened in last year’s training camp. Once the regular season began, Sherman said he knew this was a significant issue. “We just kind of babied it as long as we could,” Sherman said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But you can’t baby it in a game.” The eighth-year corner did not participate in team drills yet with the 49ers but is expected to in camp.
  • Laken Tomlinson has the left guard spot secured, but the 49ers look to have a three-man competition going for their right guard position. And thus far, 2016 first-round pick Joshua Garnett has seen the most time there, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Garnett, who spent all of last season on IR in a partial effort to adjust his body to better suit Kyle Shanahan‘s zone-blocking scheme, split time with the recently signed Mike Person. However, Jonathan Cooper did not participate in San Francisco’s minicamp because of left knee surgery and will be a threat to start opposite Tomlinson this season.

Richard Sherman Progressing Well

  • New 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman continues to progress well as he rehabs from the torn achilles that ended his 2017 season, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Barrows writes that Sherman was limited this offseason, but should be a full-go for team drills when training camp opens.

49ers Sign Rookie Fred Warner

49ers rookie Fred Warner says he has formally signed his contract (Twitter link via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee). With the BYU linebacker officially in the fold, the Niners have only two unsigned draft picks left in first rounder Mike McGlinchey and second rounder Dante Pettis

Warner, a 6’3″, 236-pound ‘backer, started all 13 games as a senior and led his team with 87 tackles. Nine of his stops were behind the line and he also notched an interception and five pass breakups. Evaluators believe that his athleticism and fluidity will allow him to occupy something of a hybrid role with reps at both outside linebacker and safety.

Warner figures to be among the first outside linebackers off of the bench behind starters Eli Harold and Reuben Foster this year. He’s one of three notable newcomers to the LB group in San Francisco, along with free agents Korey Toomer and Jerry Attaochu.

The Niners still have some work to do, but they’re hardly alone in that regard. Roughly two-thirds of teams in the NFL still have at least one rookie left to sign, as shown on PFR’s tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Issac Bruce

On this date in 2010, the 49ers traded Issac Bruce to the Rams. However, this wasn’t a typical trade. The deal was facilitated in order to allow Bruce, then 37, to retire with his original franchise. 

Bruce started his career with the Rams in 1994, the team’s final season in Los Angeles. The second-round pick played sparingly as a rookie, but he broke out as an NFL sophomore in St. Louis with 119 catches, 1,781 yards, and 13 touchdowns, all of which went down as his career bests. In his 14 illustrious years with the Rams, Bruce amassed four Pro Bowl trips and eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in eight different seasons.

Sixteen years was enough for me,” Bruce said at his farewell press conference. “I think a lot was done. But that second training camp practice (in two-a-days) may have played a part in it. I was ready to move on and do something else other than playing football.”

After so many productive seasons in the NFL, Bruce had little left to prove. Bruce was the leading wide receiver in the Rams’ “Greatest Show On Turf” Super Bowl-winning season and left the team as its all-time receiving leader with 14,109 yards. His second act with the Niners was not quite as flashy with 835 yards in his first SF season and 264 yards in his 2009 finale.

The two years I was away, I kept tabs on this organization,” Bruce said. “I played against this organization, I played against its players. The funny thing is I found myself encouraging them when things didn’t look bright for them. I looked down and saw myself in a different colored uniform. It was honestly just to me personally — it just wasn’t right.

So, with the trade, Bruce returned back to the Rams and became the last member of the Rams’ first Los Angeles run to hang ’em up. Later, his No. 80 jersey was retired by the team.

Bruce was denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the second time in 2018, but he remains a likely candidate for induction down the road.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Re-Sign S Antone Exum

One day after J.J. Wilcox backed out of a one-year deal, the 49ers are moving on. On Wednesday, the Niners announced that they have re-signed safety Antone Exum

[RELATED: 49ers’ Reuben Foster Pleads No Contest To Rifle Charge]

Exum played in two games with the 49ers late last season after joining the club in November. The former sixth-round pick of Vikings registered three tackles in limited action. In his three years with Minnesota, Exum appeared in 27 games (two starts) and recorded 19 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble on defense.

Exum will push to make the Niners’ final cut as one of the backups to Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt. One backup safety spot is already spoken for thanks to the presence of third-round pick Tarvarius Moore, but the competition is fairly open after that. If Exum can display his special teams skills this summer, the odds may be in his favor.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On 49ers’ Reuben Foster

49ers linebacker Reuben Foster pled no contest to his last remaining charge, a misdemeanor assault rifle possession count (Twitter link via Robert Salonga of the Mercury News). Foster will serve 232 hours of community service and two years probation, during which he’ll be prohibited from possessing guns or ammunition. 

Legally speaking, this ties up the final loose end from Foster’s Feb. 11 domestic violence arrest. In May, the court dismissed the more serious felony charges against Foster after his ex-girlfriend recanted her allegations.

In terms of his standing with the league, however, much is left to be determined. Foster was faced with four charges in all and the league is still mulling a multi-game suspension for him, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Foster, who has been running with the first-team since returning to practice, is in line to start for the Niners in 2018. However, it seems likely that his season will be interrupted by a ban from the league office.

On the field, Foster has been a solid contributor for the Niners. As a rookie in 2017, he recorded 72 total tackles in ten games (all starts). In November, he earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month honors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

J.J. Wilcox Cancels 49ers Deal, Will Join Jets

J.J. Wilcox had a change of heart. After agreeing to a one-year deal with the 49ers on Tuesday morning, Wilcox has agreed in principle to a deal with the Jets, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). 

Apparently, Wilcox decided that he wants to play for Jets head coach Todd Bowles. One source tells Schefter that the safety got “stage fright” after verbally agreeing to sign with San Francisco.

Wilcox, 27, was initially set to spend the 2017 season with the Buccaneers, but they shipped him to the Steelers after signing T.J. Ward in September. He played in 12 games with Pittsburgh, but he ultimately was unable to carve out a role in the secondary or on special teams. By the end of the year, he wound up as a healthy scratch due to his tendency to commit penalties while on special teams. All in all, he finished out with 12 tackles in 12 games.

Wilcox may have an easier path to the 53-man roster in New York than he would have had with the Niners. The Jets will start Jamal Adams at free safety with fellow rising sophomore Marcus Maye at strong safety, but after that things are fairly wide open with Terrence Brooks and Doug Middleton among those looking to lock down reserve jobs.

However, penalties and minor mistakes hurt the Jets last season, including a close loss against the Panthers in November. After the defeat, the Bowles stressed the importance of playing smarter. In keeping with that theme, Wilcox will have to reign in his playing style in order to avoid more yellow flags.

There were about two or three plays where we had gone over things countless times that we should have known better, certain guys should have known better,” Bowles said (via USA Today). “And that’s a lack of concentration from a discipline standpoint and that has to get better.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Joe Staley

On this date in 2009, the 49ers signed Joe Staley to a sizable extension, despite the fact that he was only two seasons into his NFL career. The six-year, $42MM attachment raised some eyebrows around the league, but then-GM Scot McCloughan had no doubt that it would benefit the team. 

Joe Staley is the type of player we want to continue to add to this football team,” McCloughan said. “He’s a tough, versatile, no-nonsense type of guy who wants to do whatever it takes to help his team win football games. Joe is a consummate team player and has been completely unselfish in the way he has approached his role on this team. We know what he means to the success of the 49ers and getting this extension done puts us in a very nice position for the future.”

In the first two years of his career, Staley carried cap numbers of $1.02MM and $1.22MM. Staley’s new deal tacked on an extra six seasons at an average annual value of $7MM per year, giving the 49ers a total of nine years of club control after the time of signing.

The deal was a huge gamble at the time, but McCloughan saw tremendous potential in the former first-round pick and also anticipated some serious advancement in the left tackle market. He was right on both fronts. Before long, Staley’s contract went from bloated to bargain. Today, 18 left tackles – more than half of the league’s starters at the position – make more than $7MM per season.

Nine years ago, not every GM in the league would have bet big on Staley after he allowed 16.5 tackles over his first two seasons. But, with talent and determination, Staley persisted and blossomed into one of the league’s best left tackles. In a 2010 game against the Rams, Staley played through a broken left fibula as he did not want to let his teammates down.

The X-rays were negative, so I went back out there,” Staley said afterwards. “Then I got kicked again, and I knew it was broken, but I stayed in for a couple plays.”

Staley’s six-year, $42MM deal turned into an below-market deal rather quickly. In 2014, the Niners gave Staley another early extension to reward him and keep him in the fold through 2019. Then, this past April, the Niners gave him another pay bump, giving him $17.5MM over the next two seasons.

Still, Staley’s pay does not quite match his performance. For reference, Giants left tackle Nate Solder is the kingpin at left tackle with an average of $15.5MM per year. Even with the raise, Staley will average roughly half of that over the next two seasons. Last year, Pro Football Focus had Staley ranked as the second-best tackle in the NFL in 2017 while Solder placed at No. 32.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers, J.J. Wilcox In Talks

[UPDATE: Wilcox backed out of his deal with the 49ers in order to sign with the Jets.]

Safety J.J. Wilcox is signing a one-year deal with the 49ers, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Financial terms of the deal are not yet known. 

Wilcox, 27, was initially set to spend the 2017 season with the Buccaneers, but they shipped him to the Steelers after signing T.J. Ward in September. He played in 12 games with Pittsburgh, but he ultimately was unable to carve out a role in the secondary or on special teams. By the end of the year, he wound up as a healthy scratch due to his tendency to commit penalties while on special teams. All in all, he finished out with 12 tackles in 12 games.

With the Niners, he’ll try to clean up his special teams play and push to make the team as a backup to Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt. One backup safety spot is already locked up by third-round pick Tarvarius Moore, but the competition is fairly open after that.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Great Dwight Clark Dies At 61

San Francisco 49ers great Dwight Clark died at the age of 61 on Tuesday after a battle with ALS, his wife, Kelly, announced Monday (on Twitter). Clark, who was selected to two Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowl titles in his nine-year career with the 49ers, announced in March 2017 that he had been diagnosed with ALS. 

Following his retirement, the 49ers retired Clark’s No. 87. He then went on to serve as the general manager and director of football operations for the Cleveland Browns from 1999-2002.

The one-time All-Pro grew to fame after hauling in one of the most famous catches in NFL history, leaping to bring in a six-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the NFC Championship game in the 1981 playoffs to lead the 49ers to a win over the Cowboys. The play would go on to be known as “The Catch” as the 49ers went on to defeat the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.

The 49ers released a statement following the announcement of Clark’s death:

“The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark. We extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight’s wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one the most beloved figures in 49ers history.”

Former and current players from around the league, including Clark’s former teammate, Jerry Rice, and Bay Area native, Tom Brady, also passed along their condolences. Clark was originally drafted by the 49ers in 10th round of the 1979 NFL Draft out of Clemson.