49ers have spent free-agent money cautiously
The start of free agency has been painfully uneventful for many 49ers fans aware of the team’s $50 million in salary cap space and eager to see that money go toward improving the roster.
But coach Chip Kelly said Thursday he isn’t sweating that his new team has signed just one outside free agent, backup quarterback Thad Lewis, in the first eight days of free agency.
“I just think you’ve got to look at who fits and who’s the right fit for your organization,” Kelly said after watching Stanford’s draft prospects work out. “Our guys do a great job of targeting what we want the San Francisco 49ers to be.”
Those “fits” have as much to do with finances as scheme.
“Some of the money that was thrown around at the beginning (of free agency) – you’ve got to be able to manage that,” Kelly said. “Are you going to pay some guy who’s never been to a Pro Bowl and he’s going to make more than anybody on your roster? That’s a little bit difficult.”
The 49ers on Thursday agreed to terms on a deal with Jacksonville Jaguars free-agent guard Zane Beadles, who seems to meet the right parameters. Beadles blocked well early in his career in Denver in a zone-blocking scheme – similar to the one Kelly will use this season – and ESPN reported the deal is for $11.75 million over three years, a fairly modest sum for a possible starter. Beadles has played left guard exclusively during his career and likely is being eyed to take over for Alex Boone, who signed with the Vikings last week.
Kelly cautioned the contract had not been finalized and Beadles, 29, will be in Santa Clara later this week.
One of the 49ers’ free agents, receiver Anquan Boldin, hasn’t signed yet. His agent, Tom Condon, attended the Stanford pro day and said the market for multi-year free agents such as Boldin, 35, usually takes a while to heat up. Condon said retirement is definitely not in Boldin’s plans.
“He wants to play,” Condon said.
Et cetera – Kelly reiterated his desire to work with quarterback Colin Kaepernick this season. “I’d love to have him,” he said of Kaepernick, who is the subject of trade talks with Denver and Cleveland. “I’m a big Kap fan.”
▪ Kelly said the 49ers hired Joe Bowden, formerly the assistant linebackers coach for the Rams, as inside linebackers coach. Bowden replaces Hardy Nickerson, who left to become the defensive coordinator at Illinois.
▪ The 49ers hired former Browns quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell to be in charge of special projects on offense, Kelly said. Tem Lukabu, formerly of Western Michigan, was hired as a defensive quality control coach.