General manager Trent Baalke said he’s talked to Anthony Davis a few times by phone, but the offensive tackle’s future with the 49ers remains in limbo.
Davis, who retired in June because of health concerns, must be reinstated by the NFL before he can rejoin the 49ers, with whom he is still under contract. Davis, 26, has said multiple times on social media that he intends to be back with the 49ers this year.
“Until he reinstates, there’s really nothing to talk about,” Baalke said. “He’s not on the team.”
The 49ers struggled in pass protection in 2015, allowing an NFC-high 53 sacks, and right tackle was frequently problematic. Veteran Erik Pears, who had been signed to play guard, was moved to tackle and struggled. By the end of the season, seventh-round pick Trent Brown was the starter and seemed to show promise.
Baalke stopped short of calling Brown the starter for 2016.
“I think that Trent Brown is a young player with a lot of talent,” Baalke said. “He went up against some awfully good players last year. He’s certainly shown the ability to start and finish a game at a National Football League level and play at a high level. With that being said, there’s still a lot of growth that has to take place, (but we) certainly feel good about where he’s currently at and where we feel we can get him to.”
Baalke said he hasn’t seen Davis since the end of the 2014 season. Even though Davis is under contract, he’s not on the roster.
“Right now that contract’s being tolled,” Baalke said. “It’s just sitting there. It’s like the cloud, the Internet cloud. It’s just up there.”
Dial signs extension – One day after tight end Garrett Celek signed a contract extension, the 49ers announced Wednesday they signed defensive lineman Quinton Dial to a three-year extension.
Earlier in the day, Baalke said the team was interested in locking in its young talent to longer deals. Dial fits that description.
A fifth-round pick in 2013, Dial, 25, has started 21 games the past two seasons. He and last year’s first-round draft pick, Arik Armstead, are expected to start at defensive end in the 49ers’ base 3-4 defense this year.
Dial would have become a free agent after the 2017 season. He had career highs in tackles (73) and sacks (2.5) last year and also had two blocked field goals. But the defense was 29th in the NFL against the run, 29th in sacks and surrendered a league-worst 20 rushing touchdowns.
Miller’s place – New coach Chip Kelly didn’t have a fullback in Philadelphia, preferring extra wide receivers instead. So what does that mean for Bruce Miller, the 49ers’ fullback since 2011?
“I think Chip’s no different than any other coach – when you have a good player, you find a way to utilize him,” Baalke said. “... And I think that’s the mindset moving forward. Like any good football coach, they’re going to evolve. And they’re going to use the talent at their disposal to the best of their ability.”
Brooks’ future – Last year at this time it was believed the 49ers would part ways with outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who was benched twice in 2014, once for a sideline tirade and later for missing a meeting.
The team, however, had more salary-cap space than expected and Brooks returned. That seems to be the situation again this year, despite Brooks having just 6 1/2 sacks and being a distraction again when he threw his helmet during a game in Chicago and being benched briefly.
Asked about Brooks, Baalke only would say, “He’s on the roster.”
Hyde healing – Running back Carlos Hyde, who had foot surgery at the end of the regular season, has been working out in South Florida with former 49ers back Frank Gore.
“He’s not game-ready yet by any stretch.” Baalke said. “But indications are he’s healing nicely and we look forward to having him full speed as soon as possible.”