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A daily compilation of 49ers news from around the net. Thursday, January 10th, 2019 edition.

AFC Championship: San Diego Chargers v New England Patriots Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Good morning folks, and a happy Thursday to you. It’s been a relatively busy week around the NFL, as the coaching carousel has landed some new faces in new places. One of the more newsworthy hires, at least for 49ers fans, is our old defensive coordinator from the Harbaugh era, Vic “Lord” Fangio, who has found a new home as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. The reaction around this site to the hire has been mixed; a large population of fans (including myself) remember his dominant defenses very fondly, and find themselves (ourselves) playing the “should of, could of, would of” game, musing on how he should have been promoted over Jim Tomsula. Another portion of the fanbase looks on with trepidation, as a great football mind may encounter the same troubles with Broncos GM John Elway as he might have with Trent Baalke. Still, others simply wish the man well - a sentiment that I can’t disagree with.

Anyway, in the coming months, the landmarks are spread out, but very important. The upcoming Senior Bowl holds extra value to 49ers (as well as Las Vegas Raiders) fans, as the coaching staff will have direct access to a large number of players who are set to enter the draft. Although the marquee names are few and far between, this should give Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch a much better look at some of the later round players who might have otherwise been overlooked. Obviously, the combine is an enormous event as well.

However, the upcoming free agency swarm is something to keep a vigilant eye on. On March 13th, player contracts from 2018 will turn the page, and our players with terminating contracts will be available as free agents. Obviously, there will be unofficial, informal chatter between teams and agents between now and then, which may complicate things for teams trying to resign their own unrestricted free agents - a little bit of talk here and there can unintentionally hand a negotiating chip over to an agent by giving them a baseline price. However, the other side of this is watching which players are cut before the March 13th deadline - many players have a bonus that is due at this time, and clubs not wanting to be saddled with those costs may ultimately decide to cut ties.

Naturally, conversations surrounding 49ers free agency brings up a few familiar names. Will Jimmie Ward be sent on his way? Will an extension be worked out with Arik Armstead to avoid the sizable 5th year option price? Is it the right time to sign DeForest Buckner to his looming mega-deal? On the other hand, is it finally time to cut ties with the frustratingly expensive and unavailable Malcolm Smith? Does the coaching staff have any faith left in Pierre Garcon? These are questions that we fans would like to think we can answer, but we probably just have to sit tight and wait for things to happen.

That is, until DJ Jones made something of a slip-up remark that seems to be buried inconspicuously in some articles. During the 2018 season, Earl Mitchell was eventually benched for the last quarter of the season, replaced by the aforementioned youngster. Jones performed well enough to warrant a good, long look at his abilities going into the offseason - and reporters took the opportunity to ask both Mitchell and Jones about the future. In one particular interview, Jones said:

“Earl is a great guy, great player. I wish he could stay longer. I wish he could finish here and play way longer than what he will.”

Now, maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it seems like there may be something concrete to the talk of Earl Mitchell being released this offseason. After all, he is due close to $4 million dollars next season, at a position that rarely, if ever, plays 3 downs, and can be successfully replaced by a younger, cheaper option. Did Jones mean to say “I wish Earl Mitchell could stay here until he’s 40”, or does he know something that he wasn’t supposed to say?

49ers free agent preview | Branch, SF Chronicle | Biderman, Sac Bee | Madson, Ninerswire

Ex-49ers DC Vic Fangio to become Broncos HC | Thanawalla, NBC Sports Bay Area | Almquist, KNBR | Biderman, Sac Bee

On DJ Jones & Earl Mitchell | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area

DeForest Buckner looks to improve in 2019 | Chan, NBC Sports Bay Area | Madson, Ninerswire