San Francisco 49ers

49ers mailbag: What lies ahead for Reuben Foster?

Sean Morgan‏ @gamerollerb Safe to assume that since they haven’t cut Reuben yet after hearing his side, that they won’t cut him as long as he was telling the truth?

ANSW: Is Foster safe? No. But I agree that Monday was the bewitching day. One day after Tramaine Brock was arrested for suspected domestic violence in April, the team felt it learned enough about that situation to cut him. The current one? The 49ers either feel they don’t have all the information about Foster’s situation or they don’t feel his actions on Sunday morning warrant him being terminated from the club. That’s not to say things could change as more information becomes available or that Foster isn’t skating on paper-thin ice. Beginning now, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office takes over the case and decides whether to formally charge Foster and, if so, what to charge him with. That brings its own investigation. Will new details arise then? Would they change Foster’s status with the team? Still, if they were going to cut him, Monday seemed like the most probable day. And that didn’t happen.

Jon J.‏ @JonathonJ1997 Hey Matt du you think the 49ers will do what Dallas did with Dez in order to help Foster stay out of trouble?

ANSW: Just to catch everyone up, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant agreed to a series of guidelines from the team following some ugly incidents early in his career. They include things like no alcohol, strict curfews, a round-the-clock security team, team drivers, no strip clubs, etc., etc. I can’t imagine the 49ers do anything quite that draconian with Foster. You can’t babysit someone and expect him to become a mature adult, after all. But there’s also a sense that Foster is someone who badly needs structure. There were no issues – well, aside from the Love & Propaganda incident -- during the season and two immediately after the season ended. As I’ve mentioned before, the 49ers were very much concerned about Foster before his January arrest in Alabama for pot possession. It’s one of the reasons the team wanted to hire Ken Norton Jr. – to have a big personality who could add more discipline to Foster’s life. He’s down to his final strike.

ANSW: I assume you’re referring to Malcolm Smith and not Roquan Smith. … Yes, that’s probably the best guess. I’m sure Malcolm Smith can play “Mike” though his most natural spot is “Will.” Both Elijah Lee and Mark Nzeocha trained there last season as well. Nzeocha would have entered the game had Coyle had to leave last year.

Os Cruz‏ @ThatOsCruz I mean... how about Tremaine Edmunds, though? Love ya, Matt!

ANSW: To me, Edmunds makes more sense than Roquan Smith. Edmunds (and Alabama’s Rashaan Evans and Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch) is someone who could play strong-side linebacker if Foster were in the lineup and, if Foster were suspended or worse, could step in and play “Mike” linebacker as well. To me, Smith is more a “Will” linebacker. It will be interesting to see what he weighs in a couple of weeks at the Scouting Combine.

Jerrod Robinson‏ @bathebay Will Reuben (and maybe Rashard Robinson) make the 49ers rethink their draft strategy a little? As in make them less likely to take guys with off field issues

ANSW: I can only assume the answer is, yes. However, there are plenty of cases of players who had no issues in college having problems in the NFL. Bruce Miller comes to mind.

Danny Tundra ‏ @dannyTundra77 Do you think Paul Posluszny would be an option to play Middle linebacker if Reuben is suspended? Saleh coached him for 2 years in Jacksonville & is a free agent now.

ANSW: I know that Saleh really liked Posluszny – I checked your spelling of his surname; good job! – when they were in Jacksonville. My guess, however, is if they were shopping for a “Mike” in free agency they’d want a younger player who could fill in on special teams. I’m also not sure Posluszny, 33, would want to join the team unless he saw a clear-cut opportunity for a starting position. The 49ers’ “Mike” spot is very much muddled right now.

Timothy‏ @PettitTimothy With all the injuries last season, who do you think will be the “comeback player of the year” next season?

ANSW: Malcolm Smith looked awfully good during the 2017 offseason.

Jeff Stoefen‏ @j_s_stoef With the Foster situation, does franchising Reid (to play LB) become more of a realistic scenario? Seems like it would be a reasonable stop gap option.

ANSW: I don’t think the 49ers would make a big effort to re-sign Reid, much less franchise him, if they don’t think he is one of their top 11 players on defense. But it’s another reason to re-sign him if he lingers on the free-agent market.

Kevin‏ @shortywest87 Is there any hope of having a pass rush next season? All the other holes (interior OL, cb) can be filled, but I don’t see a good option in FA or the draft with where they’re at. Can’t be a good D” without it.

ANSW: When it comes to the draft and pass rushers, there seems to be a big gap between Bradley Chubb and everyone else. Is No. 9/10 too high for Harold Landry? Can the 49ers expect to draft someone worthy at pick No. 59? My guess is that all the best pass rushers would be snapped up by then. Which makes free agency a more sure-fire way to improve the position.

mark‏ @mlnga Instead of signing a big name WR in free agency would the team consider a TE, like a certain one from Seattle?

ANSW: I personally think that would be a great signing. You’d A.) Be better in the red-zone; Graham had 10 TDs last year, B.) Give Jimmy Garoppolo a big target like Tom Brady has/had in New England and C.) Rob a rival of one of its weapons. On the other hand, Graham is 31 and the 49ers probably want to see what a couple of their young tight ends, George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, can do in Year 2. My guess is that the team views Graham as a let’s-make-a-title-run type acquisition and feels they aren’t quite there yet.

Rob Carter‏ @roberob916 If reports are correct about 49ers and other teams interest in Dave Amerson, how much do you think his salary will command?

ANSW: I was the only one who reported the interest, and I have it from two sources. There is interest. The question is “how much” interest? I don’t know the answer there, but the fact that no visit has been set up yet may be telling. The bottom line is that the 49ers need bodies at cornerback. The scuttlebutt around the league is that the 49ers will make a big play at the position in free agency. But it would make sense to have options in case Plan A falls through.

Will Cuberos‏ @wcuberos In the annual selection of collegiate players, do you believe the 49ers will select a linebacker from Georgia?

ANSW: Will found a loophole.

Alex‏ @ADualThreatQB What celebration would you pick for the 49ers 1st TD next season? (Bonus points for originality)

ANSW: When I used to play pick-up games (before I got old), I had an elaborate touchdown celebration I dubbed, “The Birth of Football.” It involved a football, a towel and a midwife. I’ll let your imagination do the rest, but it was quite moving, quite dramatic. Tony-worthy stuff. I’m willing to choreograph.

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