J.J. Watt has option exercised

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17

The Houston Texans have officially exercised the fifth-year option on defensive end J.J. Watt's contract for the 2015 season, a league source said.

The 2012 Defensive Player of the Year has 36.5 sacks over his first three seasons.

Teams have until May 3 to make a decision on whether to exercise the fifth-year option, which is guaranteed for injury only until the final day of the 2014 league year. It becomes guaranteed at the start of the next league year.

For players drafted in the top 10, the value of the fifth-year option is equal to the transition tag for their position during this offseason.

For players drafted with picks 11-32, the value of the fifth-year option is equal to the average of the 25 highest-paid players at their positions, excluding the top three highest players.

The San Diego Chargers have exercised the fifth-year option on defensive lineman Corey Liuget, and offensive tackle Tyron Smith's option was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys, according to sources

The Baltimore Ravens announced they exercised the option on cornerback Jimmy Smith

(Read full post)

Here are some highlights from our San Francisco 49ers' chat, which was held earlier Thursday:

DRE from Cali: Do you think Aldon will ever take the field as a 49er again?

Bill Williamson: Too early to tell. We will find out more when the 2015 option is due May 3. It makes football sense to do it, but publicly it may be a tough sale. It will be hard to reward Smith right now. But the May 3 date will answer a lot of questions.

Tusylla from Seattle: Hey Bill, what’s up! How worried should us Niner faithful be that our D is going in with Bowman out, Aldon most likely facing suspension and a secondary full of new players?? What if P Willis misses some time again? Could be a rough start to the season.

BW: There will be some challenges. But remember this: The 49ers were 5-0 without Smith, Wilhoite, who likely will spell Bowman, played well for Willis last year and Brock became an outstanding CB. The common thread? Vic Fangio. The team makes things work.

Ryan J. from Glastonbury: With the recent acquisition of Brandon Lloyd, do you think the 49ers will draft a "deep threat receiver" in the draft?

BW: The Lloyd signing will not affect the draft all. They will draft a receiver just like they were before the signing.
According to our poll this week, it seems fans definitely want to see the San Francisco 49ers nab a pass-rusher in the May 8-10 draft in light of Aldon Smith's off-field troubles.

We asked when (and if) the 49ers should address the position in the draft. According to the poll, the position should be a fairly high priority with Smith’s future clouded.

As of 1:30 p.m. ET, 59 percent of the poll-takers believe the 49ers should take a pass-rusher in the second or third round. Addressing the position in the final four rounds received 27 percent of the vote. Taking one in the first round and not drafting one at all both received 7 percent.

I agree with the masses on this one. The 49ers have five picks over the second and third rounds. This is the perfect range to address the need. Thanks to everyone who played along.

Kiper's Mock Draft 4.0

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17


Mel Kiper Jr. breaks down his most recent mock draft, the reason for QB Teddy Bridgewater's decline and the Browns' interest in a certain playmaking quarterback.
In this Insider story, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. offers his latest mock draftInsider for the first two rounds.

Below, we will review Kiper’s choices for the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have an extra pick in the second round as part of the 2013 Alex Smith trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. Insiders can see who Kiper has the 49ers taking and my thoughts on his choices.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

In sticking to their scouting character, the San Francisco 49ers were one of 17 teams present Thursday at the pro day of talented but often injured Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley.

Easley is coming off his second torn ACL at Florida. His latest injury came in September, but he is improving nicely and would project as a top pick if healthy.

Sound familiar?

The 49ers have shown they are not afraid of drafting players coming off injuries. They took defensive tackle Tank Carradine in the second round and running back Marcus Lattimore in the fourth last year. Both were coming off of torn ACLs, and both are expected to contribute this season.

The 49ers don't have pressing need at defensive tackle, but with a surplus of picks they could be a candidate to take Easley, especially if he were to fall to the third round -- where they have three picks.

Let's chat about the 49ers

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
Please join me for our San Francisco 49ers chat Thursday from 11-11:30 a.m. PT. I look forward to it.
The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday evening the San Francisco 49ers are shopping running back/returner LaMichael James. Let's look at what it means:

Initial thoughts: There have been rumblings of James' unhappiness since last season. He has occasionally made cryptic remarks on Twitter and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke have had to discuss his situation. At the combine in February, Baalke said James still had a place on the team. An NFL source said Wednesday night James would welcome a trade if he meant more playing time. The source would not say that James requested the trade. I don't get the sense the 49ers are suddenly going to play James more in 2014, so if he stays, he will continue to be dissatisfied with his playing time.

What can the 49ers get in return? I wouldn't think much. Just because James was a second-round pick in 2012, it doesn't mean the 49ers will get like value. Remember, the 49ers acquired quarterback Blaine Gabbert for a sixth-round pick this year. Three years ago, he was the No. 10 overall pick. I just don't see the market being high for a little-used running back/returner. Perhaps James could be used as a chip to move up in the draft a bit. It wasn't a good sign that his college coach, Chip Kelly, traded for Darren Sproles instead of James this year.

Would the 49ers miss him? Not really. The 49ers have a crowded backfield and they could always draft someone to be a returner. I could see the team drafting a cornerback or a receiver who can help as a return man.

49ers shopping LaMichael James

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16

Seldom-used LaMichael James may be soon out of San Francisco.

The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday evening the 49ers are shopping the 2012 second-round pick with an eye on perhaps moving up in the draft.

It is unclear how much trade value James would have. The former Oregon star has not played much in his first two seasons, although he was productive as a returner in the second half of last season. The 49ers have a crowded backfield and it doesn't appear James will get more opportunities to carry the ball in 2014.

There have been rumblings of James' unhappiness since last season. He has occasionally made cryptic remarks on Twitter and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke have had to often discuss his situation.

At the combine in February, Baalke said James still had a place on the team.

An NFL source said Wednesday night that James would welcome a trade if he meant more playing time. The source would not say that James requested the trade.

A potential natural trade partner disappeared earlier this offseason when the Eagles acquired Darren Sproles -- a similar player to James. James has excelled under Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly at Oregon

(Read full post)

The last remaining San Francisco 49ers free agent could potentially have a new pairing.

Center Jonathan Goodwin visited the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday. There has not been an agreement, but it makes sense for the Saints to sign the veteran. He played for the Saints from 2006-10 before spending the three seasons with the 49ers.

The 49ers have not expressed interest in re-signing the 35-year-old Goodwin this offseason, with Daniel Kilgore planned as the starter. The team could also draft a center, so the only way Goodwin could be in the picture in San Francisco is down the road if the 49ers are not happy with their options.

Based on Wednesday's visit with the Saints, Goodwin may not be an option for much longer.

NFL Nation Buzz: San Francisco 49ers

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
ESPN.com San Francisco 49ers reporter Bill Williamson talks about the team taking more than one cornerback in the draft.

When should the 49ers first draft a pass-rusher this year, in the wake of Aldon Smiths troubles?


Discuss (Total votes: 2,751)

In light of Aldon Smith's most recent legal issue Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport, there has been talk that the San Francisco 49ers may have to add a pass-rusher to their top draft needs.

What do you think? Please take our poll. Do you think the 49ers should draft a pass-rusher in the May 8-10 draft or do you think the 49ers are fine there despite of Smith’s issue and possible uncertain future.

Please explain your thoughts in the comment section blow. We will review the poll results Thursday.

Updated offseason scorecard

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
Free agency continues and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let’s take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

2015 free agents extended: Center Daniel Kilgore, fullback Bruce Miller.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (Buffalo), receiver Mario Manningham (Giants), quarterback Colt McCoy (Redskins).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers. He signed with Oakland.

Free agent addition: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), Cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings), Receiver Brandon Lloyd (last with Patriots in 2012).

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Reportedly interested in: Receiver Josh Morgan (Washington free agent), but there hasn’t been any movement in the past several weeks, and the Lloyd signing likely ends any Morgan thoughts.

Remaining free agent: Center Jonathan Goodwin.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Kilgore for Goodwin, Chris Culliver or upcoming draft pick for Brown.

Jeff Saturday discusses how a motivated Brandon Lloyd will be a good pickup for the 49ers' offense.