San Francisco 49ers

49ers mailbag: Is the team further along than most believe?

Wide receiver Pierre Garcon remains with the San Francisco 49ers following Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon remains with the San Francisco 49ers following Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. The Bee

Andrew Green‏ @androog w/ the injured players coming back (garçon, ward, tartt, M. Smith), they are essentially gaining a free FA class without spending a dime of the $100m. I feel they have less work to do than maybe a lot of people think. Thoughts?

ANSW: Jed York is interested in hiring you as VP of Money Saving. When can you start? … I agree with your reasoning. Not only did the players you mention miss a lot of time last year, they all should be 100 percent healthy when practices resume in the spring. That is, there is no bleeding over into 2018. More than that, Jimmy Garoppolo seemed to turn players we initially suspected were water into wine. (Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, etc.). That suggests that the team – the offense, at least – doesn’t necessarily demand marquee players. Having said all that, however, there still are big gaps to fill along the offensive line, at cornerback and potentially at running back. The 49ers will tackle the bulk of these in free agency.

James Wiebe‏ @James_Wiebe Hey Matt, This FA cornerback class looks loaded. Do you think the 49ers should pay big money to someone like Kyle Fuller, Trumaine Johnson etc. or some of the lower profile guys like Rashaan Melvin or Quinton Dunbar? Also: Should they bring in competition for Kwaun Williams?

ANSW: The scuttlebutt among NFL agents is that the 49ers will go after a cornerback in free agency. And Pierre Garcon already is putting on a full-court press when it comes to recruiting one. Will it ultimately be Johnson, Fuller or Malcolm Butler? I don’t know. … As far as Williams, everybody will have competition in training camp, but Williams played very well in 2017 and is the rare (only?) player rewarded with a contract extension by the new regime so far.

Os Cruz‏ @ThatOsCruz Matt, you mentioned that the coaching staff does not place high value on the SAM position when discussing Edmunds as a draft prospect. Do you think they are content with Harold?

ANSW: Of course, the 49ers probably would dispute the notion that SAM is not valued as highly as the other spots. (It’s like admitting that you like one of your kids more than the others; you can think that but can’t acknowledge it. Also, “Hi, Mom!”) Some very high draft picks – from Bruce Irvin to Vic Beasley to Myles Jack – have played or now play SAM on other teams that use SF’s defense. It seems, though, that in Beasley’s and Jack’s cases, their teams would prefer they play elsewhere, that other spots on the field put them in better position to be playmakers. … As for Harold, I think the 49ers are content with him. There was a thought as the 2017 season wound down that they would give him a chance at Leo in the offseason. Conversely, it seems as if Pita Taumoepenu might be given a look at SAM when the offseason begins.

From Brian Thesing (via something called email (?)) The 49ers seeming interest in Running Backs is intriguing. How should we consider last year’s fourth-round pick, Joe Williams? In very brief opportunities in the pre-season, he flashed speed and quickness but was quickly shelved on IR all year. Is he in the plans going forward? What about former Tampa Bay 5th rounder Jeremy McNichols from Boise State?

ANSW: Both guys will be part of the mix, but the 49ers can’t count on either at this point. After all, neither handled a single regular-season carry as a rookie. Williams’ readiness when the offseason program begins – what kind of shape is he in, etc.? – will be a big initial marker. It was clear from the get-go last year that Matt Breida was hungrier than him.

ANSW: Here’s my prediction:

Ward: Starting FS

Tartt: Starting SS

Colbert: Third safety; plays a handful of defensive snaps each game, is special teams stalwart.

Reid: Playing elsewhere in 2018.

Kenneth Andersen‏ @Andersen49ers What went wrong with Aaron Lynch ? talent or off field issues ? (or both)

ANSW: Put it this way: Talent never has been Lynch’s issue. Put it another way: Hans Straub may have been right, after all.

Anthony Cristina‏ @NinerFan47 Who do you think the 49ers would prefer at corner in the draft, Josh Jackson or Denzel Ward?

ANSW: Can we morph them? (Paraag looking into it). Something to keep in mind: None of the outside cornerbacks the team brought in last year, either through FA or the draft, was under 6 feet tall.

Jerrod Robinson‏ @bathebay Looks like the one thing Jimmy G didn’t take from Brady is taking a pay discount? I don’t blame him, but just wondered if he’d do a team friendly thing.

ANSW: A couple of things: 1.) The 49ers have scads of cap space; the Patriots do not. 2.) Brady already has made a ton of money; Garoppolo has not. 3.) Brady’s wife is tremendously successful and filthy rich; Garoppolo is single.

Alex‏ @ADualThreatQB Which Movie would you pick to describe the contract negotiations between Jimmy G and the 49ers?

ANSW: “The Man with the Golden Arm” has an appropriate title and it stars a handsome Italian American, Frank Sinatra, whose character is from Chicago. Of course, it’s about a heroine junkie who has trouble kicking his addiction, so maybe we’ll stop with the title and lead actor.

Total Niners‏ @TotalNiners Are the 49ers concerned about @JimmyG_10’s footwork, not bringing his back foot forward to use his hips and core on longer throws? Is this something Jimmy thinks he needs to work on?

ANSW: That’s like asking, “Does the Mona Lisa need her eyebrows shaped?” Jimmy is perfect. Don’t. Touch. Jimmy.

Karames Harden‏ @KareemMuller Hey, Matt, love your amazing work. Here’s a hypothetical I ran by my fellow 9er fan buddies: let’s say tomorrow Belichick said “I’m done with the Pats” and let it be known he wanted to reunite with Jimmy G, what do you do, Matt? What do YOU do?

ANSW: Your friends are very lucky to have you.

Rob Carter‏ @roberob916 Is there anyone in the draft based on needs they would consider selling the house for? I like Chubbs is he worth giving up several picks?

ANSW: I like Chubb, too. But the consensus seems to be he’s not as talented a pass rusher as Myles Garrett. So I’m not sure he’s trade-up worthy. (Ask me again after free agency).

Chris Biderman‏ @ChrisBiderman Are raw red onions the devil’s dandruff?

ANSW: Ah, I see Chris is back. Looks like you went with a bigger picture of your face for your avatar photo. You sure that was a smart move?

Mike Skidmore‏ @Skidpants HEY MATT, ANY CHANCE The Rapper in your iTunes library?

ANSW: My iTunes library skews more to Spin Doctors than Dr. Dre.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at