The last 36 hours have been a pretty crazy storm of 49ers news. While I love the action, I would imagine it is easier for some folks to miss out on some of the details. We have big stories and little stories, and while they are not all of equal importance, they are all part of the total package that is the 49ers.
Since so much has happened and things seem to be quieting down for the moment, now seemed as good a time as any to provide a bit of a recap of the news, along with a few quick comments on each story. Consider it a midweek This Week In Niners Nation (as done by Aaron on Friday).
Might as well start with the big one. I have to imagine few people, if any, were surprised by this news. Coach Harbaugh announced this at noon PT today. He said he was going with the hot hand, and Kaepernick certainly is hot right now. He did not commit to Kaepernick for the rest of the season, but that should surprise nobody. Coach Harbaugh is a man who loves every single competitive edge he can get. Even though most of the entire free world knows that this is now Colin Kaepernick's job to lose, if Coach Harbaugh thinks for even a second that the next opponent will need to spend even a minute thinking about Alex Smith, he will take that edge.
The two sides reportedly started negotiations at the beginning of the season. They were apparently far apart early on, but once they reached an agreement on guaranteed money, the rest fell into place. You can check out some of the contract details. While there are some that question having two highly paid inside linebackers in the 3-4, when you've got two of the best in the league, and one already putting up historic numbers in terms of All Pro and Pro Bowl recognition, I think I can live with having them together through at least 2016.
Williams tearing his ACL was not shocking news given the look of how he went down and was helped off the field. It wasn't a foregone conclusion, but many were pessimistic about the nature of the injury. Kendall Hunter going from a sprained ankle to an Achilles tear was rather stunning news.
While Williams has not been a critical component of the offense, he has shown solid progress this year, and really shown amazing heart in bouncing back from his fumbles in the NFC Championship Game. Kendall Hunter has shown improvement as well, but was also a guy looked to as the future at running back. An Achilles tear is a tougher injure than many, so it remains to be seen what the future holds for Hunter. Others have come back from it, so this is not some kind of unprecedented deal. Nonetheless, it will be a tough rehab we'll track over the next year. I'm working on getting some more medical information about Achilles tears in general.
In light of the Hunter/Williams injuries, the 49ers did some roster re-shuffling. They activated running back Jewel Hampton from the non-football injury list and placed him on the depth chart behind Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James. There is no specific word on their roles behind Frank Gore at this point.
The 49ers signed wide receiver and return man Chad Hall to the practice squad, and waived safety Eddie Whitley from the practice squad. The move provides some potential emergency depth at the return position. Kyle Williams was the backup kick and punt returner. Ted Ginn Jr. is reportedly dealing with a wrist injury, so Hall could end up on the roster at some point.
The 49ers brought in Billy Cundiff and Nate Kaeding to show what they had. In his press conference earlier today, Harbaugh said David Akers is working through something and the team wanted a Plan B in place. Akers' long distance numbers have been down this year, and it is entirely possible injury is part of the issue. The team currently has 52 players on the roster, which means they could be leaving the 53rd spot open for an extra kicker for a week or two. If that is the case, I suspect such a move would happen Friday or Saturday.
Delanie Walker injury
The 49ers versatile tight end suffered a hip injury during Sunday's game against the Saints, but all reports have him ready to practice today. We'll have the injury report in just a bit.
So there you have it. I think that covers the important news bits of the last two days. If I missed any other big news, please let me know and I'll add it in other. Otherwise, if you missed it in the rush this morning, our 49ers-Rams prospector's guide was up earlier this morning.