For fans of the San Francisco 49ers, this off-season has been like Groundhog Day — the very best possible version of Groundhog Day. It seems like every time the alarm pipes up and starts screaming from the bedside table, the 49ers announce another move that makes the team incrementally stronger. The latest? Trent Baalke signed running back Brandon Jacobs.
Here’s what I wrote after the Niners signed Ted Ginn last week:
As the days go on, the 49ers keep putting check marks next to positions they’d otherwise need to fill in the draft.
The beat goes on…
– A better goal line back than they had before? Check … 4 of his 8 rushing touchdowns last year — including the playoffs — were of the 1-yard variety.
– The yin to Kendall Hunter’s change-of-pace yang? Check … Gore’s starting job isn’t threatened, and Jacobs gives the 49ers two alternate backs on different sides of the weight/power spectrum.
– Personality, swagger and quotes for days? Check … The team certainly isn’t afraid to spice things up in the locker room in 2012, adding guys like Jacobs and Randy Moss. Makes sense, now that the 49ers are among the hunted instead of the hunters, a little extra dose of confidence can’t hurt and might even prove necessary.
Another thing the 49ers have done is picked up two discarded members of the New York Giants who thought they deserved bigger roles. Just like the Mario Manningham addition, Jacobs comes to San Francisco at a reasonable price — a maximum of over $2 million if he reaches every incentive. As a result, the 2012 game between the two teams will be even more spirited than the average NFC Championship Game rematch — no extra Manning required! Perhaps the 49ers can mine some inside info from Manningham and Jacobs to get the Giants back for targeting Kyle Williams’ bruised brain. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Does this mean the 49ers are done adding running backs? Hard to say, although it would probably behoove them to consider drafting a guy on the second or third day as a potential Gore replacement if they see someone they like.
Who do I like? Not that it matters to Baalke, but I’m a huge Chris Polk fan after watching several Washington Huskies games over the years. Polk’s a tough, downhill runner with a secondary burst once he gets through the hole. Polk had a disappointing Senior Bowl, but he dropped about 15 pounds since then and ran a 4.47 at UW’s Pro Day on March 8, so he may go a little higher than the 49ers would want to pick him. With the 49ers signing Jacobs, expecting the team to draft another RB in the second round seems unrealistic.