San Francisco 49ers

49ers Q&A: Who’s the priority for a contract extension?

Carlos Hyde is one of several prominent 49ers the team could end up targeting for contract extensions.
Carlos Hyde is one of several prominent 49ers the team could end up targeting for contract extensions. The Bee

Aaron‏ @Tnniner Do they wait till after the season to start extension work and who do they try to extend? Tartt looks incredible might be tough for Reid

ANSW: I think they wait until December so that they get a long look at the players in question. I think Trent Brown (FA in 2019) has to be high on their priority list considering how hard it is to find top offensive tackles -- right or left -- these days. I agree that Reid's (FA in 2018) future rests squarely on Tartt's (FA in 2019) development. It's also notable that there are three interesting rookie safeties in the 49ers farm system now: Lorenzo Jerome, Adrian Colbert and Chanceller James. The last two have the size to play the strong safety spot. Carlos Hyde (FA in 2018) is another conundrum. On one hand, they have no obvious heir apparent on the roster and Hyde has looked very good so far. On the other, Shanahan-led teams rarely spend either big money or big draft picks on the position. Other notable players scheduled for free agency in March: defensive end Tank Carradine, center Daniel Kilgore, guard Brandon Fusco, cornerback Dontae Johnson and defensive end Aaron Lynch.

Kevin‏ @shortywest87 Think Hoyer being the unquestioned starter had the opposite effect and was more pressure? Looked loose for the first time end of last game.

ANSW: That might be a good read, Kevin. In previous seasons, he had nothing to lose when he went into games in that he wasn't considered the team's top starter. He could only impress. Now he has an opportunity like never before with plenty to lose. It's only human nature to be tight in a situation like that. Perhaps the Rams game knocked him back in sync. (Notable given the question: Hoyer's lone playoff game, with Houston during the 2015 postseason, was the worst game of his career: 0 touchdowns, four interceptions, 15.9 passer rating).

Sean‏ @gamerollerb I thought a few losses would bring out "arrogant Kyle" we kept hearing about. It hasn't. Did they accept this as a throwaway szn off the bat?

ANSW: Yes, he's been way more normal than advertised. In fact -- and I'm acknowledging this is early and that things can change -- he's the most normal 49ers head coach I've ever covered. And it's not close. My colleague/competitor/protégé Chris Biderman asked a good question the other day. (I'm so proud of you, Chris. Your first good question!) Bieds noted that we've only seen Shanahan angry once this year -- after a Week 2 preseason loss. Shanahan said he was fuming then because he was "extremely disappointed and embarrassed" with the team's performance. He's not happy with the 49ers' regular-season record, of course, but effort and hustle and toughness -- the type of things that would really dishearten a coach -- have not been the problem. To answer the second part of your question, I think it’s obvious that the final record is not the priority this season. Everything they are doing in 2017 is geared for the future.

Avocado‏ @TacoBellionaire Robinson the biggest disappointment so far? Does he lose his job to Witherspoon before end of season?

ANSW: Neither Robinson nor Dontae Johnson have looked very strong, which could make for a very long day in Arizona on Sunday. Of course, they haven't been helped much by a three-sack pass rush. … As for Witherspoon, the 49ers know he's a bit of a late bloomer but were willing to take a risk that the eventual bloom could be something special. I'd put him in the same category as quarterback C.J. Beathard: Barring injury, I don't think he makes an appearance until later in the season.

Faithful For Life‏ @scienceguy49 Has there been any consideration about playing J.Ward @ CB once the defensive backfield is all healthy? Reid SS Tartt FS Ward CB Robinson CB.

ANSW: Unless there is an epidemic of injuries at cornerback, I don't think that is in the cards.

Rob Carter‏ @roberob916 How concerned should we be about the play of Navarro Bowman? Are his mistakes physical or mental?

ANSW: There's no two ways about it: Bowman looked bad against the Rams. I have to think it had everything to do with -- considering his age and the toll his injuries have taken -- playing two games within four days. I thought Bowman was very good against Seattle, not very good at all against Los Angeles. Let's see how he bounces back against a pass-centric Arizona team with a lot of small, shifty running backs. It could mean a lot of three-safety formations. Does Bowman or Ray-Ray Armstrong go to the sideline? The good news for Bowman: The 49ers are scheduled to play at 1:25 p.m. or earlier on Sundays for the rest of the season.

Elvin Pritchard‏ @ElvinPritchard Who should the Niners take with the first overall pick in the '18 draft??

ANSW: I watched two guys on Saturday, N.C. State edge rusher Bradley Chubb and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who stood out, especially the latter. I'd say pass rusher, cornerback, tackle and, depending on what they do in free agency, quarterback are the priorities. I list tackle because (see: above) they've become so hard to find. If the 49ers find an heir to Joe Staley, they might have to snap that player up and stash him at guard for a few seasons.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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