NFC West: Anquan Boldin

Frank Gore: 'I can't talk right now'

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the San Francisco 49ers 23-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium:
  • Gore
    Amid a stunned and silent locker room, running back Frank Gore, the 49ers’ longest-tenured position player, had little to say after the loss. He paused for up to 10 seconds between questions before offering no answers. Finally, he waved off the media horde and said, "I can’t talk right now. Sorry." Then he buried his head in his hands. Gore had 10 yards rushing on six carries, and rookie Carlos Hyde carried the ball three times for 13 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown.
  • Receiver Anquan Boldin owned his unnecessary roughness penalty for head-butting Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (Boldin got away with a similar action in the playoffs the past season against Carolina’s Mike Mitchell), but was quite steamed at the disparity and timing of penalties -- San Francisco was flagged nine times for 107 yards; the Cardinals drew five flags for 36 yards. "If you look at it, it’s unbelievable," he said. "We’ll send the tape into the league, and they’ll say, 'We made a mistake.' But [Arizona] got 30 yards down the field (on those calls), and some were coming at crucial times ... if you’re going to call it, call it both ways." Boldin can probably expect a FedEx folder with a letter for a fine at his locker this week.
  • Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, again rocking his big-lens sunglasses inside, shifted his stance again in the wake of a report that he used the "N-word" last week, which got him a penalty for "inappropriate language" and a fine of $11,025. After saying last week, "I didn’t say anything," he said he did not say anything "racially deragotory" to Lamarr Houston. Pressed on the issue, Kaepernick then said, "I talk on the football field -- yes, I do." It cast a pall over an already dour locker room.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh broke out his thesaurus on Wednesday when talking about 12th-year receiver Anquan Boldin.

"Stalwart," Harbaugh offered.

Boldin
Wait, what?

Yes, Boldin, who has come back from a fractured face on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Eric Smith in 2008, is considered one of the toughest pass catchers in the game today. And you could say he has become quarterback Colin Kaepernick's most dependable target.

In the 49ers' 28-17 season-opening victory at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Boldin caught eight of the nine passes thrown his way by Kaepernick, for 99 yards.

So how, again, did Harbaugh come up with "stalwart" to describe Boldin?

"Strong," Harbaugh said. "Brave. I know there are a lot of definitions. It's a medieval term, but I like all of the definitions. I like all of the words that define ‘stalwart.'"

Indeed, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound second-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2003, thrives in the slot as he begins his second year with the 49ers after spending the previous three seasons with Harbaugh's brother John in Baltimore.

And Kaepernick by the way, was more succinct in describing Boldin.

"Great," he said. And that was it.

But Boldin had his own thoughts on how the 49ers offense in general performed last week after an offseason of drama.

"It felt really good to get back to what we love to do and just play the game of football," he said after the game. "We played OK. We didn't play our best football. But that's part of it when you have a lot of different pieces in for guys that are injured and a lot of new faces."

Maybe that's what Harbaugh meant when he pulled the "stalwart" card.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Three San Francisco 49ers players appear in the #ESPNRank project between Nos. 60 and 51 among offensive players. That part of the rankings was released Friday.

Crabtree
Iupati
Boldin
Receiver Anquan Boldin was No. 54, a year after being No. 83.

“Boldin led the NFL in third-down receptions (33), receiving yards (529) and first downs (529) last season,” according to ESPN Stats & Info. “His 1,179 receiving yards in 2013 were the most by a 49er since Terrell Owens in 2002.”

Left guard Mike Iupati was No. 53 (he was 32nd last year) and receiver Michael Crabtree was No. 51, improving from No. 78.

“Crabtree’s drop percentage has gone down each year of his career (3.2 percent last season),” ESPN Stats & Information wrote. “He averaged a career-high 7.0 yards after the catch (per reception) last season despite coming off an Achilles injury.”

Other 49ers players already listed: right tackle Anthony Davis, who was No. 81 among offensive players. Strong safety Antoine Bethea (No. 97), linebacker Ahmad Brooks (No. 74) and free safety Eric Reid (No. 71) are in the rankings of defensive players so far.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With his résumé and skill set, Stevie Johnson has the credentials to be a No. 1 receiver on many teams in the NFL. So yeah, there's a reason the San Francisco 49ers acquired him in a draft-day trade.

It's just that with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin already on the roster, Johnson being Colin Kaepernick's go-to guy was not the team's motive when it shipped a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft to the Buffalo Bills for him.

Johnson
Rather, Johnson was brought in for depth and he is competing with Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton and fourth-round draft pick Bruce Ellington to be the 49ers' third receiver, even if they seldom used three-wideout sets last season.

“I'm pretty sure everybody already knows the bulk of it will be with Crab and Boldin,” Johnson said Wednesday. “So we're just fitting in right after them.”

In fact, to make his case more appealing, Johnson has worked at all three receiver spots in camp.

“[I'm] not necessarily thinking who's going to be out there in certain personnel [groups],” he said, “just, whenever you get your opportunity, let's make it work. Because that's what we're all thinking. We have a lot of great players, a lot of good players that can make plays.

“Everybody can't be on the field at once. So there's going to be times when you're called upon and just, hopefully, you show up.”

That's exactly what Johnson, a seventh-round draft choice of the Bills out of Kentucky in 2008, did with three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons from 2010 to 2012. That's something not even Hall of Famer Andre Reed did in 15 years with the Bills.

Johnson averaged 79 catches, 1,041 yards and eight TD catches in those years, before missing four games last season and finishing with 52 catches for 597 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think we definitely understand how he can fit in," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said of Johnson. “I really believe ... that we just need to keep working to develop the level of chemistry that we want.

“Really happy to have Stevie and I think he'll bring a lot to the table. Have a good feel for his skill set. I love his energy out there and just us as a unit need to continue to work every day to develop that chemistry.”

49ers practice report

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
10:05
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Before being pulled off Levi’s Stadium’s loose grass field less than an hour after practice began by coach Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers did go through the paces for a bit in front of a couple thousand fans.

A few highlights, then, of the 49ers' final public practice.
  • Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was still not in attendance, as he was in Texas the day before for the birth of his son Michael III.
  • Even before the public practice was cut short, the poor condition of the field was obvious, from divots flying out when players made cuts to the discolored spots in the middle of the field. And if Bruce Ellington tweaking his right ankle in a one-on-one drill with cornerback Chris Culliver was not proof enough, then Stevie Johnson taking a spill untouched on an out pattern at the goal line and jerking his left leg sealed it.
  • Phil Dawson, one of the more accurate kickers in NFL history, continued to work on his craft after missing a pair of field goals in Sunday’s 34-0 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos by kicking numerous field goals. If Andy Lee was not holding, then Dawson had a metal holder in his place so he could work solo.
  • Ellington, LaMichael James and veteran Anquan Boldin were the three players fielding punts.
  • Cornerback Tramaine Brock picked off McLeod Bethel-Thompson on a pass intended for David Reed on the right sideline and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers will likely only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Hunter is too valuable to let go. That means 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James will have difficulty making the roster.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd may look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it even though he is a special teams cog.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

If Davis ends his holdout, I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek has a big camp, he may be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

This is another power spot. It's deep. Players like Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. Ramsey has looked good and I have a hunch the 49ers may like him too much to expose him to the waiver wire. That means Demarcus Dobbs could be in trouble.

LINEBACKERS (7)

Most teams carry six linebackers but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising he should make the roster. Dan Skuta is an excellent player, but there might not be any room for him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.

CORNERBACKS (5)

This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.

SAFETIES (5)

Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.

SPECIALISTS (3):

This group is set and it's excellent.
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NFL Nation's Bill Williamson examines the three biggest issues facing the San Francisco 49ers heading into training camp.

The holdouts: The 49ers, fresh off three straight trips to the NFC title game and seemingly poised for another long postseason run, have the weathered many storms this offseason.

Yes, there are some issues that still linger. The 49ers do not know if tight end Vernon Davis and/or guard Alex Boone will continue their holdouts into training camp.

Both players stayed away from voluntary workouts, and then became official holdouts when they did not report to mandatory minicamp last month.

Both Davis and Boone want a new deal. There are indications Boone will stay away until he gets a new contract. Davis has wavered, but he could also miss a chunk of camp.

Both players are key to the offense and would be missed. The 49ers would have to rely on youth at both spots if the holdouts linger. Vance McDonald would play for Davis and Joe Looney would play for Boone. Neither player is the caliber of the player they’d replace.

Aldon Smith: The 49ers head to training camp not completely sure of the future of the standout pass-rusher. The 49ers are set to start training camp next Wednesday. Two days later, Smith is set to be sentenced for pleading no contest to three felony gun charges. He could face some jail time.

He could also be facing an NFL suspension. If Smith is out, the 49ers will need to find some more pass-rush help, and that’s what training camp will be for. Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier helped the 49ers go 5-0 last season when Smith was in a treatment center. The team also drafted Aaron Lynch in the fifth round. If these players show a pass-rush burst in camp, that will make the 49ers feel better about the prospect of playing a long chunk without Smith.

New firepower: The 49ers have big potential on offense. Training camp and the preseason will be a time for the unit to gel and figure out the best approach to use all of the talent. The receiving crew is beefed up with addition of Stevie Johnson, through a trade with Buffalo, veteran Brandon Lloyd and fourth-round pick Bruce Ellington.

The depth of this season’s receiving group is light years ahead of last year’s unit. The thought of Johnson being the No. 3 receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree is silly. Ellington, a South Carolina product, gives the 49ers an element they missed last season -- a burner who can take the top of the defense.

At running back -- the heart of the 49ers’ offense is still the ground attack -- Frank Gore will have second-round pick Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore, who appears to be healthy after missing last season while recovering from a 2012 torn ACL.

Hyde has looked great as a runner and receiver in the offseason. The second-round pick from Ohio State has a chance to make a big impact.

All of these new weapons of course, should help the overall game of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is entering his second full season as a starter.

The 49ers have big capabilities on offense, but the real work begins now.

49ers offseason wrap-up

May, 22, 2014
May 22
10:00
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» NFC Wrap: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South » Grades

With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror and training camp just a couple of months away, we assess the San Francisco 49ers' offseason moves.

[+] EnlargeStevie Johnson
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesThe 49ers added depth to their receiving corps by acquiring Stevie Johnson.
Best move: Making offense a priority. The 49ers' re-signed receiver Anquan Boldin and kicker Phil Dawson in a free agency in which they signed only two outside veterans. During the draft, they added veteran receiver Stevie Johnson in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, then drafted a tumbling Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde in the second round. This offense now has a lot of firepower. These moves really solidified the unit.

Riskiest move: Change in the secondary. The 49ers will have three new starters in the secondary after seeing safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Tarell Brown leave in free agency and after cutting Carlos Rogers. Whitner was the only one the 49ers had interest in keeping, but he was too pricey. The 49ers made a nice move of bringing in a comparable player -- safety Antoine Bethea from the Colts. Chris Culliver, who was injured in 2013, and first-round pick Jimmie Ward will play in the nickel. I think these changes should work well, especially since the meat of the 49ers' defense is the front seven. But when there are such wholesale changes, it's a question mark.

Most surprising move: Making 12 draft picks. The 49ers entered the draft with 11 picks, but with few needs. Yet the 49ers ended up with 12, which was tied for most in the NFL. I don't think more than seven or eight of the draft picks have a chance to make this stacked roster. Of course, the 49ers took a few injured players to stash, which only helps the entire program. It's difficult to imagine a deeper team than San Francisco in the league.

Receiver depth: I cannot emphasize this enough -- it's stunning how much depth the 49ers now have at receiver when compared to last season. With Michael Crabtree hurt for much of the year, the 49ers received virtually no production from the position other than from Boldin. Now, the 49ers are loaded at with Boldin, Crabtree, Johnson, second-year player Quinton Patton (who missed much of the season with a broken foot) and speedy fourth-round pick Bruce Ellington. This is the biggest difference on the team.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Many thought heading the San Francisco 49ers would trade way up in the first round of the draft to acquire a stud receiver.

Events did not unfold that way but the 49ers receiving crew is now loaded.

After trading a conditional 2015 fourth-round pick to Buffalo for veteran Stevie Johnson on Friday, the 49ers took South Carolina speedster Bruce Ellington with the sixth pick of the fourth round.

Just as running back Carlos Hyde, center Marcus Martin and linebacker Chris Borland were Friday, Ellington was considered a high value choice. Some scouts thought he’d go in the second round.

Ellington gives the 49ers blazing speed from a receiver, the one thing they appeared to be lacking.

With Johnson, Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers have plenty of veterans who will get open. Now, they can design packages to leverage Ellington’s speed. Second-year receiver Quinton Patton also came on strong late in the season.

It now appears highly unlikely Brandon Lloyd, who signed earlier this offseason with a team-friendly deal, will make the team. He doesn’t play special teams. If the team keeps six receivers, special teams ace Kassim Osgood should stick.

The Ellington pick could also affect running back LaMichael James. Ellington can return kicks and punts, the main ability James offered. General manager Trent Baalke reiterated Friday night that the team wanted to keep James, but Ellington's selection may have changed that situation.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers -- the power brokers of the 2014 draft as they entered with a league-high six picks in the first three rounds -- did their thing Friday night. It was one big, messy, impossible-to-follow cluster of picks.

But once the second day screeched to a stop, some clarity was achieved: The 49ers’ offense has gotten a lot more powerful.

After shocking the league by taking hard-hitting safety Jimmie Ward out of Northern Illinois at No. 30 to play nickel cornerback (their biggest need), the 49ers acquired veteran receiver Stevie Johnson from Buffalo in the hours before the draft. That move clearly warmed up general manager Trent Baalke. After making three trades in the second round, Baalke landed one of the premier skill-position players available in the second round in Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde.

In all, Baalke made four trades Friday and acquired Johnson from Buffalo for a conditional fourth-round pick. Baalke’s moves Friday night netted the 49ers a fourth-round pick from Denver, so they essentially got Johnson for free.

The 49ers added Johnson and Hyde to an offense that seemed to be missing just one extra ingredient in 2013.

San Francisco, riding one of the NFL’s most rugged defenses to become an elite franchise again, struggled on offense before Michael Crabtree returned from a torn Achilles last December. His return made quarterback Colin Kaepernick, in his first full season as a starter, a much more confident, dangerous player down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Last season ended in Seattle with Kaepernick's intended pass to Crabtree in the end zone in the final seconds of a wild NFC title game being deflected and intercepted. The year before, the 49ers’ offense was just yards away from a Super Bowl victory.

San Francisco hopes the addition of the steady Johnson and the rugged Hyde will be enough to get them those last few yards to their first Super Bowl title in 20 years.

Instead of dipping into a deep receiver class, the 49ers jumped at Johnson, who became expendable after Buffalo selected Sammy Watkins on Thursday.

Add Johnson to an arsenal that includes Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis and Kaepernick should always have someone open. It should also help free Kaepernick to run.

The Hyde pick was a reminder the 49ers are run-first operation. The 49ers’ blueprint is to grind down opposing defenses with a mauling offensive line. The engine of that attack has been the venerable Frank Gore, who quietly has strung together a potential Hall of Fame career in San Francisco. But Gore turns 31 next week and he’s entering the final season of his contract.

The 49ers are paying Gore $6.4 million in 2014. They still believe in him. But Hyde and 2013 four-round pick Marcus Lattimore are the future. Hyde will get a chance to play now.

Hyde fits the Gore mold. He is 6 feet, 230 pounds. Hyde, who averaged 7.3 yards a carry and 3.1 yards after contact last season, described his running style as “violent.”

“He was the highest-rated player on our board,” Baalke said. “He’s more than just a power back.”

The 49ers are counting on Johnson and Hyde to propel the 49ers’ offense past Seattle’s Super Bowl defense.
It’s no secret that the San Francisco 49ers are a strong candidate to draft a wide receiver early.

The position is one of the team’s few needs. They have looked at receivers throughout free agency, and there is a report that the team is trying to arrange a visit with receiver DeSean Jackson, who is, by far, the best receiver currently on the market.

So, it’s not a surprise that, in this Insider piece, ESPN draft analyst Kevin Weidl identifies the 49ers Insider as one of the teams who most need to address the receiver position in the draft. Here is what Weidl had to say about the 49ers’ needs:
[+] EnlargeMartavis Bryant
Tyler Smith/Getty ImagesThe 49ers would offer a low-pressure environment for Clemson receiver Martavis Bryant.
The Niners were able to work out a two-year deal to keep WR Anquan Boldin in San Francisco. Combined with Michael Crabtree, San Francisco has a pair of strong, reliable pass-catchers on the perimeter. However, there is a need to add a receiver who can pose a legitimate vertical threat outside the hashes. This not only would take pressure off Boldin and Crabtree but also free up TE Vernon Davis, who is one of the top pass-catchers at the position in the league.

With six picks within the top 100, general manager Trent Baalke will have plenty of draft options in May. Baalke can address the depth along the defensive line or take a cornerback with the 30th pick in the first round and still have plenty of ammunition to find a receiver on Day 2.

San Francisco has three picks in the third round, and Clemson's Martavis Bryant is an intriguing fit at that point. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound receiver has a loose, flexible frame and the speed to stretch the field vertically. He wasn't an ideal fit within Clemson's offense, has dealt with drops and comes with some immaturity concerns. However, his flashes on tape and upside are hard to ignore.

I've said for a few months that Bryant compares favorably to the late Chris Henry, who was a receiver for the Bengals. Much like Henry, who was a vertical complement to Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the late 2000s, Bryant could serve in a similar role to Boldin and Crabtree.

This would be an ideal situation for Bryant to land. He won't have the pressure of stepping in as a No. 2 receiver right away, which could end in him disappointing a team that drafts him earlier with those types of expectations. In this scenario, Bryant would have time to develop and mature while providing strong-armed quarterback Colin Kaepernick with a vertical threat on the perimeter.

Other Day 2 options for San Francisco could include Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin (should he fall), Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews and Rutgers' Brandon Coleman, who currently sits with a fringe Day 2 grade.

Weidl is right. The position is stacked and the 49ers have options. Somewhere early, they will be able to address the position. In another Insider piece, Todd McShay looks at some draft prospects who could fit on the 49ers’ defensive line. Insider
There is no doubt the San Francisco 49ers are interested in adding a receiver.

Johnson
They checked in on several during free agency and the position is expected to be an early priority in the May 8-10 draft. So it’s no surprise that in an Insider piece, Field Yates, while proposing five trades that makes sense, explains why he thinks the 49ers should acquire a receiver. Insider

In Yates’ first proposal, he has the 49ers trading for Houston receiver Andre Johnson. He has the 49ers sending the Texans second- and fifth-round picks to the Texans for Johnson.

Here is Yates' reasoning for the 49ers making this swap:
In need of a wide receiver -- and with 11 picks in this draft -- the 49ers would be well-served to add Johnson. He has a manageable base salary of $6.5 million for 2014, an amount for which San Francisco could find cap space. The 49ers have a deep and talented roster, and while draft picks can result in young, affordable talent, the truth is there aren't that many spots available on the 53-man roster in San Francisco. Johnson brings a vertical presence to the perimeter passing game and would make an already Super Bowl-caliber team that much scarier.


My thoughts? Again, like Yates wrote, don’t expect it to happen. But I can see why he is proposing it. For the short term, this would make the 49ers very difficult to defend and make the offense more explosive. A receiving trio of Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Johnson, along with tight end Vernon Davis, would give quarterback Colin Kaepernick all kinds of options. It would be a pretty nice to way to attack Seattle’s super secondary as well. So, while this proposal is likely more fantasy than reality, it seems plausible from a need standpoint.
Perhaps the San Francisco 49ers' pursuit of an impact veteran wide receiver is not dead this offseason.

The latest name connected to the team is Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson.

Jackson
Earlier Tuesday, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported that the Eagles were not necessarily shopping the dynamic receiver but they would be willing to listen. Later, CSN Philadelphia reported that the 49ers and the Patriots called about Jackson. The report stated that the Eagles would like at least a third-round pick for Jackson, who starred at nearby Cal.

Do I believe the report? You bet.

There's no doubt the 49ers are interested in receivers, and general manager Trent Baalke can be aggressive. They were connected to trade talks last year for receivers such as Josh Gordon and Hakeem Nicks. In recent days, they've been connected to Nicks, Julian Eldelamn (who visited) and Emmanuel Sanders.

Now that I have brought up the idea, do I like it?

Yes. A lot.

The 49ers don't have a lot of needs. However, a speed receiver is at the top of the list along with a cornerback. Jackson would answer half of that problem as much as any receiver the 49ers could get at the No. 30 pick. Jackson, 27, is coming off a huge season with 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

The addition of Jackson would make the 49ers offense -- and quarterback Colin Kaepernick -- wildly dangerous. A combination of Jackson, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis would make the 49ers a defensive coordinator's worst nightmare. Add in a promising receiver in Quinton Patton, one of the league's most consistent run games and Kaepernick's dual-threat abilities and the possibilities are limitless.

If the 49ers are going to bypass Super Bowl champion Seattle in the NFC West, it will be because they have improved enough on offense to overtake the Seahawks' defense. This trade could do the trick.

There are obstacles, of course. Jackson has a big price tag, but his contract is not guaranteed so the 49ers can get out of it. That could come into play since they have big-money deals looming with Kaepernick, Crabtree, pass rusher Aldon Smith and guard Mike Iupati.

But there are reasons to think the 49ers could make a Jackson trade work for the short term. Let's face it, the short term is all that really matters right now for a team that has been to three NFC title games and a Super Bowl, and saw their last two seasons end with their offense in the red zone with a chance to win.

The 49ers are in business to win a Super Bowl right now. Adding a player like Jackson for a reasonable compensation package (the 49ers are set to have 11 picks and up to six in the first three rounds) makes perfect sense.

Free-agency review: 49ers

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
9:00
AM ET
Boldin
Most significant signing: Receiver Anquan Boldin. Fans may not like it when a team's most significant move is keeping one of its current players, but imagine if Boldin had walked. In his first season with the 49ers, Boldin became a critical part of the offense. Receiver was one of the team's biggest need areas. Re-signing Boldin helps keep this offense dangerous. The team's plan was to try to keep its best players, and Boldin was the top priority. That alone makes free agency a success.

Most significant loss: Cornerback Tarell Brown. I think safety Donte Whitner is a better player than Brown. But unlike Whitner, the 49ers have yet to replace Brown, who signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the crosstown Oakland Raiders. Brown is a solid player. His departure leaves a hole at the position.

Biggest surprise: The signing of former Indianapolis safety Antoine Bethea. About four hours before the start of free agency, word filtered out that Whitner was going to agree to a deal with his hometown Cleveland Browns. Shortly after free agency officially began, the 49ers had a deal done with Bethea. It was surprising in both swiftness and quality. The thought was that if Whitner were to leave, the 49ers would have to scramble to find a replacement. But Bethea is a comparable player to Whitner and a good fit for the defense.

What’s next? The 49ers are concentrating on adding players at cornerback and receiver. They took some looks at both spots in recent days, but nothing materialized. There are some pieces remaining on the market at both spots, but fit and price could be issues. The 49ers are fully expected to use early-round picks to address both positions in the draft.
Free agency is entering its fifth day (it only seems like 43) and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let's take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (tweeted he is signing with Buffalo on Saturday).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Free-agent addition: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), Cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings).

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Who are they interested in? Cornerback Walter Thurmond (Seattle),receivers Julian Edelman (New England) and Emmanuel Sanders (Pittsburgh).

Remaining 49ers free agents: Center Jonathan Goodwin, receiver Mario Manningham, quarterback Colt McCoy, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Daniel Kilgore for Goodwin.

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