San Francisco 49ers

49ers mailbag: Why pay Jimmie Ward all that money to be a backup?

Kevin‏ @shortywest87 Why did they guarantee Jimmie Ward all that money? I know depth and versatility are important, but $9 million for a back up?

ANSW: I still haven't fully figured it out. The 49ers' outside cornerbacks are all giants — they cut the same tall, long-limbed profile. That is, except for Ward, who stands 5-10 5/8 inches. He stuck out at Tuesday's practice because he doesn't fit the mold, which is otherwise carefully followed on the roster. But I suppose the 49ers feel that cornerback is potentially a weak spot if Richard Sherman either doesn't fully recover from his Achilles or gets hurt again. Ward is an insurance policy — an expensive one at $8.5 million but one the 49ers can afford this year given their cushy salary-cap situation.

Nasir Texas‏ @nasirtexas With the emergence of Colbert, the drafting of Witherspoon and the additions of Sherman and Williams, has Jimmie Ward become, dare I say, expendable? Will he be amenable to coming off the bench?

ANSW: Well, he'd be well compensated for coming off the bench. And if he indeed is the top backup at five different spots, a scenario that Kyle Shanahan on Tuesday said was possible, there's a very good chance he wouldn't be on the bench for long.

Errebo-Hansen‏ @ErreboHansen When can we expect the judge to make her ruling regarding #ReubenFoster?

ANSW: His hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today. So … 3:35? It's also possible that the DA's office and Foster's attorney will have come to a resolution before then. That seems to be what Judge Nona Klippen was hoping for by delaying her decision for six days.

Sean Morgan‏ @gamerollerb After his ex’s testimony last week, if the judge pushes the trial forward what’s your gut feeling on whether the 49ers will let Reuben participate while it’s going on?

ANSW: They've said very plainly that he won't be back until there's a resolution or at least a major change in the case. What if the domestic violence portion is dropped and the others — smashing a cellphone and the weapons charge — are not? The 49ers have not addressed this specifically, but my guess is that he'd be back as long as the most heinous charge, hitting his ex-girlfriend, is no longer on the table.

Jeffrey McCauley‏ @gogators328 Any chance we see Mr. Kendricks in a #49er uniform?

ANSW: The Eagles released linebacker Mychael Kendricks this week. I wouldn't think the 49ers would add him given their optimism over Foster's case, the fact that Fred Warner has made a good early impression and because they signed two inside linebackers — Brock Coyle and Korey Toomer — to new deals in the off-season.

Jerrod Robinson‏ @bathebay Sounded like from the practice reports everyone was beating (Joshua) Garnett yesterday. I know there’s no pads, but does he look bad?

ANSW: The offense as a whole looked a bit off yesterday because they were installing so many new plays. There were lapses everywhere. To my eye, most of the "sacks" were more coverage sacks than any one player getting beaten.

Jason McCord‏ @jasondmccord If teams continue to show little interest in Eric Reid, what's a likely timeline for him to sign with the 49ers? Do you think that still happens?

ANSW: The 49ers have a ton of defensive backs, but as of now, there's not much depth at strong safety. The starter, of course, is Jaquiski Tartt. But the top backups, draft pick Marcell Harris and Chanceller James, both are coming off major injuries (an Achilles and ACL tear, respectively) and aren't expected back until training camp. It will be interesting if the league's policy on the national anthem that was voted on today by owners changes anything with Reid. That is, if Reid and other potential protesters are not as visible during the anthem, would teams be more apt to sign him? To answer your question, I'd imagine that the start of training camp, after teams have had time to evaluate their talent/needs in the spring, might be the next pivot point for Reid.

Alex‏ @Aps1101 what did Weston Richburg mean, it wasnt very fun? he did not want to be part of the group?

ANSW: He was being tongue in cheek. As you might imagine, being the only lineman at a session for skill-position players isn't all that valuable for him.

ShannaFans229‏ @ShannaFan229 What is the best restaurant near California Theatre?

ANSW: For those wondering, the California Theatre is the spot of tonight's state-of-franchise event for the 49ers. There are a lot of restaurants nearby because there are two big hotels — the Fairmont and the Marriott — in the vicinity. Arcadia, the restaurant in the Marriott, is good but pricey. Il Fornaio across the street is reliably good. Original Joe's is a San Jose staple. Habana Cuba also is very good. All are within a block of the theater.