San Francisco 49ers: Josh Freeman

A Josh Gordon trade on horizon?

October, 7, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Some personnel chatter on the San Francisco 49ers' front:

There had been speculation the 49ers could claim receiver Stephen Williams, after he was cut by Seattle on Saturday. But he was claimed by Jacksonville, which has a higher waiver priority than the 49ers. It is unknown if San Francisco put in a claim for Williams because the league no longer announces all waiver claims.

San Francisco going after Williams would make sense, as it has a need for receivers and the Seahawks and 49ers keep taking each other’s leftovers.

Speaking of receivers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the 49ers have talked to the Cleveland Browns about receiver Josh Gordon. He’d likely cost, at least, a second-round pick. If the Chiefs win three more games, a third-round pick will turn into a second rounder as part of the Alex Smith trade. Thus, the 49ers may have two second rounders.

However, Schefter reports the 49ers may be reluctant because they are on track to get Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree back from injuries.

Thus, while the need for Gordon is large now, it may not be in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, there is another quarterback available. The Raiders cut former starter Matt Flynn.

Could the 49ers be interested? They have looked at a lot of veterans lately and appear to be looking for an upgrade over Colt McCoy. The team just signed John Skelton and reportedly looked at Josh Freeman before he signed with the Vikings.

With all that being said, I just don’t see the 49ers being attracted to Flynn because he's too much like McCoy.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- An examination of four hot issues from the San Francisco 49ers' 34-3 win against the Texans:

Another defensive injury: The 49ers defense might have suffered another key loss as defensive tackle Ray McDonald went out with a right biceps injury. McDonald said after the game that he felt a sting. He will have an MRI on Monday. Tony Jerod-Eddie replaced McDonald. The 49ers defense has suffered several injuries, playing the past two games without All-Pro linebackers Aldon Smith (receiving treatment for alcohol abuse) and Patrick Willis (groin). San Francisco has been dominant without the two stars, allowing a combined 14 points. Now, the 49ers might have to adjust again if McDonald is out.

[+] EnlargeTramaine Brock
AP Photo/Beck DiefenbachCornerback Tramaine Brock had two interceptions against Houston.
Brock shines: Tramaine Brock is one of the many depth players who is getting an opportunity on defense, and he is cashing in. On the third offensive play of the game Sunday, Brock returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown. It was the first of his two interceptions in the game. Brock took over as the No. 3 cornerback last week when Nnamdi Asomugha went out with a knee injury. He played well against the Rams. Now, it is highly unlikely Asomugha gets his job back. It will be interesting what the 49ers do with a 32-year-old fourth cornerback. Right now, the focus is on Brock.

Kaepernick manages game: OK, so the 49ers scored 34 points and quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed only six passes. But it didn’t matter. The 49ers dominated this game. There is no denying the 49ers aren’t getting much help in the receiving game from anyone other than Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. But until Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree return, the 49ers are going to have to be conservative in the passing game. Kaepernick will not have Josh Freeman as his backup. The former Tampa Bay starter has agreed to terms with the Vikings. The 49ers reportedly talked to Freeman. It’s no surprise. The 49ers like quarterbacks, and Freeman would have been an upgrade as a backup over Colt McCoy and newly signed John Skelton. But Freeman’s road to playing is shorter in Minnesota.

Run game sets tone again: The San Francisco run game continued to shine against Houston. The 49ers called a designed run play on 67.3 percent of their plays Sunday, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Why not? It was working -- the 49ers had 118 of their 177 rushing yards before contact.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The NFL Network reported the San Francisco 49ers are among one of the teams that reached out to quarterback Josh Freeman. This is not surprising.

If Freeman is determined to start right away, this is not the place for him. But if he wants to be a backup, get supreme coaching and get a chance to be a starter down the road, being the backup in San Francisco could work. But in the end, I think he will get an offer in which his road to the field is shorter.

CBS reported the 49ers reached out to free-agent defensive lineman Richard Seymour after pass-rusher Aldon Smith went to an alcohol treatment center nearly two weeks ago. But the report said the two sides could not come close to financial terms. Seymour would be a rotational player for the 49ers and they don’t have much cap room, so they’d likely not offer much.

• ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the government shutdown is delaying 49ers safety Donte Whitner from dropping the W in his name and becoming Donte Hitner. Whitner's lawyer has filed the paperwork in his home state of Ohio, but it cannot be processed until the government shutdown is over and federal employees are back to work.

Then, once they get back to work, the NFL expects it to take another six weeks for the paperwork to be filed with the league office. Plus, the league still has not decided if it would allow a player to change his legal name on a jersey in-season. Thus, it may take some time before the name change is reflected on his jersey.

Circling back to Josh Freeman

October, 3, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Earlier this week, we examined if quarterback Josh Freeman would interest the San Francisco 49ers in a trade.

Now, the scenario has changed. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released the 25-year-old former starter outright Thursday. He is free to sign with any team.

Answer me this: If starter Colin Kaepernick were to get injured, do the 49ers have a better option than Freeman on the roster? It is a question the 49ers have to be currently asking themselves.

When Freeman does land, I’d be surprised if it’s with the 49ers. He will have better chances to play elsewhere and the need isn’t pressing.

But here’s why I wouldn’t be shocked if the 49ers didn’t, at least, consider talking to Freeman: Jim Harbaugh loves quarterbacks.

The 49ers just signed John Skelton. Freeman is a better short- and long-term prospect than Skelton. Freeman is also a better option that Colt McCoy, the 49ers’ current No. 2, who could potentially be unseated by Skelton soon. I think Harbaugh would smile himself to sleep at the thought of a quarterback stable of Kaepernick, Skelton and Freeman.

Again, there are obstacles in the way of making it happen, but there are reasons to believe such a pairing is intriguing to San Francisco.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- There are two interesting players available via trade at the moment -- Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman and Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt.

Could the San Francisco 49ers be a fit for either? The 49ers need a receiver and have looked at veteran backup quarterbacks in the past month, so it's not out of the question for San Francisco to have interest. Plus, the 49ers' brass has been aggressive in the trade market and the team has a big surplus of draft picks next year. So there are reasons to believe the 49ers would be open to dealing.

But do Freeman or Britt make sense for the 49ers? Let's take a look:

Freeman: The 49ers have recently considered quarterbacks Brady Quinn and John Skelton. Freeman is more skilled than either of those players, and he'd arguably be an upgrade over current backup Colt McCoy. But I'm not sure adding him would be worth it. There is no great need and the 49ers don't have a lot of salary-cap room, so adding Freeman could be tricky. There are things to like about this pairing, but I'm just not sure making it happen would be a priority.

Britt: The 49ers could use a receiver. They aren't getting much help beyond No. 1 receiver Anquan Boldin. However, Mario Manningham may be back within the month, and Michael Crabtree could return for the stretch run. So the 49ers may not feel the need to add a receiver. Along with Britt, Cleveland's Josh Gordon is reportedly also available. Sure, the 49ers could use one of those players now. But in the long run, I'm not sure it would be worth the money, investment and potential hassle considering both Britt and Gordon have had off-field issues. The 49ers are busy enough dealing with pass rusher Aldon Smith's troubles.

Final 2013 preseason QB snap counts

August, 30, 2013
Six projected starting quarterbacks played in their teams' final exhibition games of the 2013 preseason. The Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson and the San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick were two of them, and both led touchdown drives before exiting after one series. None of the NFL's projected starters got hurt Thursday night.

The chart shows week-by-week snap counts for quarterbacks I singled out as projected starters heading into preseason. NFC West alums Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn might not start after all, but I've left them in the chart for context.

St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher has generally played starters in the final preseason game. He did not this time.

"Typically I have, but I guess in the new world that we’re in, it’s hard to," Fisher told reporters after the Rams' game against Baltimore. "What that implies is that I'm pleased with where they are right now, those guys that sat. They worked hard. We got a great workout and it allowed them to fast-forward their minds to Arizona."

Fisher could have been alluding to the run of higher-profile injuries around the league this summer. Last year, the Rams lost rookie defensive tackle Michael Brockers to a high-ankle sprain in the final preseason game.

The Rams emerged from this preseason healthier than their division rivals. That did not stop the 49ers from playing their offensive starters or the Seahawks from playing starters on both sides of the ball Thursday night. The Arizona Cardinals rested most of their starters, though Michael Floyd was one notable exception.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh offered no explanation for playing his starting offense one series. Kaepernick hadn't gotten many snaps through the first three games, however. Getting additional reps for Kaepernick and the team's group of emerging receivers made some sense on the surface.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll went into the final preseason game saying he wanted starters to play because the team values this games as competitive opportunities.