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Golden Nuggets: Let the free agency negotiations “officially” begin

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Monday, March 15, 2021

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers Practice The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers locked down Kyle Juszczyk for five years on a deal that guaranteed the fullback $10 million and $5.45 million in 2021. We’ll see if Trent Williams and Jason Verrett are next. Those two players were invaluable to the Niners last season.

Jim Trotter discusses Jimmy Garoppolo’s future; Steve Wyche suggests a 49ers backup option

Andrew Siciliano recently asked Jim Trotter on NFL Network if Jimmy Garoppolo is certain to be the 49ers’ quarterback during the upcoming season.

“Absolutely not. No,” Trotter responded. “Look, they have confidence in Jimmy, and if he’s their guy, they’ll go forward with him. Remember, they went to a Super Bowl with him. But the reality is the 49ers are always looking to upgrade, if possible, and I have a strong suspicion that if Deshaun Watson becomes available for a trade, that they will definitely be kicking the tires on that and looking to make that upgrade, as will other teams.

“But as of now, Jimmy is their guy, but you never write anything in stone at this point, Andrew.”

“[I]f they can get a veteran player like Ty Taylor, the former Chargers quarterback, who is now a free agent,” said Wyche, “he is somebody who could be there in case Jimmy Garoppolo gets hurt again or even if they make a move, if they make a big splash, try to go after Deshaun Watson. He is someone who is so vital in a locker room and that quarterback room.

“Again, he may not be a top-tier free agent, but he can provide stability at backup quarterback.”

Ronald Blair’s Legacy on the 49ers

And they gutted the roster and rebuilt it, but kept Blair. He was one of just a few Baalke players who made it through four years with Lynch and Shanahan.

But they didn’t know what they had in Blair when they took over in 2017. They also didn’t know what they had in Arik Armstead. So they drafted Solomon Thomas, who took most of Blair’s playing time in 2017. Plus Blair missed 10 games with a thumb injury.

But Blair always was better than Thomas, and never should have been his backup. And in 2018, Blair proved it. He recorded 5.5 sacks — second most on the team — even though he started zero games. He had more sacks than Thomas and Armstead combined.

Breaking News: Kyle Juszczyk Re-signs with 49ers

The return of Juszczyk helps bolster San Francisco’s offense in what is a down year for the salary cap. In 2020 teams across the league had $198.2 million to construct their rosters with but only $182.5 for the 2020 season. The 49ers have roughly $31 million to work with, not including this most recent deal with Juszczyk.

It’s a solid move, though, for a team that will continue reshaping and re-tooling its roster via free agency and the NFL Draft. Juszczyk has gathered 199 receptions for 1,849 yards and 12 touchdowns during his 8 year career in the NFL and is a favorite tool of head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Kawakami: Some free-agent advice for the 49ers (No. 1: Remember you’re rich)

Note to the 49ers: No more multiyear contracts to players with recent (or, if possible, any) injury histories

With the injury miseries the 49ers went through in 2020, let’s presume that Lynch and Shanahan don’t need much prompting on this one. But it’s still worth emphasizing because personnel shops so often convince themselves to overlook recent injury history if the talent level is high enough.

The temptation is not always wrong — there’s no way the 49ers would’ve gotten a solid price for those great years from Richard Sherman if he wasn’t coming off of a torn Achilles. And Nick Bosa was the right pick at No. 2 overall in the 2019 draft even though he missed most of his final season at Ohio State with core muscle issues. (Then tore his ACL in 2020.)

Sunday Randomness: Playing GM for the 49ers, betting on the A’s, and Steph Curry

Two, they have to invest in the center position. Since Garoppolo is the quarterback, the offensive line has to be improved. They seriously need a boost talent. I like Corey Linsley even though Alex Mack is more affordable (and reportedly who the 49ers will go hard after). Why Linsley? He’ll turn 30 this season. Mack will turn 36. The presumption is age presents a higher risk for injury, and the 49ers’ line could use a consistent, healthy season after a couple years of shuffling due to injury.

Impressively, it should be said, Mack played 14 games this season, snapping his streak of FIVE consecutive seasons playing every game. He played 87 percent of the Falcons’ snaps last season, the first time he’s been below 90 percent since 2014. Just an impressive streak of availability.

Rapoport: Seahawks haven’t actually engaged in Russell Wilson trade talks

“No one I’ve spoken with has said that Seattle has actually engaged in any of these talks,” Rapoport said. “It doesn’t seem like they’ve negotiated actively as far as a potential trade of Russell Wilson. They have listened but they haven’t reciprocated.

“As of where we are, it doesn’t seem like anything is imminent right now. Also worth noting that Russell Wilson has a no-trade clause — he has to okay every trade possibility and he would do his research in doing that. Talking to the head coach and the GM and the OC and everything. There’s a lot of steps that would have to happen just for this trade to happen, if it did, and we’re nowhere near there yet.”

Rumors: Rams trying to re-sign Leonard Floyd before free agency begins

The Los Angeles Rams have yet to show their math on how to get below the 2021 NFL salary cap, but NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero is reporting that the team would like to re-sign linebacker Leonard Floyd regardless of how that turns out.

The Rams signed Floyd in free agency in 2020 on a one-year, $10 million contract that had voidable years, which allowed his cap hit to only be $6.6 million. Because of that, LA is forced to pay dead money to Floyd in 2021 and 2022, but re-signing him would at least guarantee that he’ll be playing those seasons with the Rams.

If Los Angeles does come to an agreement with Floyd, this would all but assure that safety John Johnson is gone, and the rumors here imply that their top priority is at linebacker.

Arizona Cardinals 2021 NFL free agency preview

1:00) Why the Cardinals didn’t use the franchise tag and what that means

(20:18) Predicting who will re-sign before free agency begins

(30:39) Which free agents will test the market and who might not return

(40:34) Offensive free agents and who could be targeted by the Cardinals

(1:05:34) Defensive free agents and who could be targeted by the Cardinals