The 49ers will report to OTAs today. The last time I attended OTAs was in 2019, which was my first year on the job. I went in cold to see if I could get a good read on some of the lesser-known players.
I thought there was no way that Richie James was making it out of training camp. A couple of years later, and James has an opportunity to be the 49ers WR3/4. I had that similar feeling with Jauan Jennings at training camp last year. Let’s see if he’s improved with another year under his belt.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday reported the Falcons are asking for a first-round pick in exchange for the seven-time Pro Bowler, but they’re not expected to receiver such compensation.
That cap savings for Atlanta is important in regards to what teams will be willing to part with for Jones, who turned 32 in February and played only nine games last season because of a nagging hamstring injury. There are only a handful of teams with the salary cap space to take on a contract of that size, and the cap hit combined with the injury-riddled season and his age could make teams wary of unloading premium draft capital for the two-time First-Team All-Pro.
Banks has the talent to start immediately in the NFL. He followed Nelson’s footsteps by becoming a first-team All-American last season, and the 49ers have a definite need for him at right guard. While the team isn’t wholly dissatisfied with Daniel Brunskill’s performance there, that 300-pounder’s versatility might be better suited for the utility role he mastered in 2019 and perhaps even an apprenticeship under Mack at center.
Beyond that, Banks offers enough size to be a rigid upgrade in pass protection next to McGlinchey, his former college teammate who lobbied for him in the run-up to the draft. Banks might provide a boost similar to the one the late 1990s 49ers — who’d also built an athletic yet relatively light O-line — enjoyed by acquiring massive guards Ray Brown and Kevin Gogan.
49ers send a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 conditional fourth-round pick that could move to a third-round pick — Mohammad R.
But what would that look like for Atlanta? If we use the example Lombardi gave in his offer — with the Falcons agreeing to pay $5 million of Jones’ $15.3 million base salary — that $5 million would be charged to the 2021 cap. There is also the $7.75 million dead money hit to consider, too. That would total $12.75 that the Falcons would have to pay Jones in a post-June 1 trade. That would still leave the Falcons with a better 2021 salary cap situation, but it wouldn’t solve their cap issues. If, though, the Falcons could extend Jarrett, they might have the freedom to pull this off.
Who says no? Nobody? This is close. The 49ers would say no if Atlanta can’t eat some of Jones’ salary.
“I think an example – and I don’t say that anything is a mistake, but I had so much belief in Reuben Foster and my ability to get to him. ‘OK, if he’s got some issues, I can help this young man out. I can be the one. I’m not playing anymore. I’m in the GM seat. I can put resources around him’ and all those things. But I think, probably, I’ve learned some tough lessons that it’s going to be hard to have that kind of influence and have that kind of connection because I’m not his teammate anymore. I’m actually in a different role.
Jeff Wilson Jr.
Wilson Jr. only appeared in 12 games in 2020, but still led the team with 600 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. The undrafted free agent also was an effective receiver, registering 13 catches for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
As Wilson enters his fourth season with the club, he will resume his place on the field as the goal-line back. Known for going to a “dark place” on game day, the former North Texas back likely will also be used in third-down situations.
If Wilson returns to camp healthy and as focused as he has in the past, the new additions will have some work to do to unseat him as one of the top carriers in the group.