The best way for the 49ers to slap a silencer on this Jim Harbaugh story, at least temporarily, is by making a feel-good signing. According to a couple trusted agents of the local media world, there may be two such contract extensions coming soon.
First, what we already know to be true. Craig Dahl has taken a paycut, which was first reported by Niner Cap Hell with specifics provided afterward by Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. Dahl, who has two years left on his deal, agreed to a contract adjustment that will save the 49ers $600,000 in 2014. That follows Jon Baldwin and the 49ers agreeing to a cut in pay of about $750K last week.
ESPN’s John Clayton reported that the salary cap will rise even further than previously estimated, from $123 million in 2013 to $132 million next season — an increase of over 7%. So the 49ers, who have a ridiculously low amount of “dead money” (money going to players no longer on the roster) to account for, should have some wiggle room to bring back anyone they decide they can’t go without.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, “sources at the combine in Indianapolis said the 49ers are now more optimistic they can re-sign Whitner … than they were before the combine when they figured they would lose the veteran to a team with more salary-cap space.”
Sounds like the 49ers/Anquan Boldin situation is down to waiting for him to say yes to either a 2- or 3-year deal.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 24, 2014
Most people probably thought Boldin would return, because he doesn’t appear to have lost a step. Plus, speed was never his strong suit anyway. Boldin couldn’t break 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash back in 2003, but despite facing constant double-teams throughout much of his first season with the 49ers he had 1,406 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while playing in all 19 games (including the playoffs).
1. There’s no reason to believe the 49ers can find a safety as good or better than Whitner in free agency who’ll be cheaper.
2. In a draft so deep at the wide receiver and cornerback positions, spending early-round picks on safeties in consecutive years sounds awfully far-fetched.
3. The team’s safeties and corners constantly talk about the importance of communication in the defensive backfield, and the secondary will probably be without Carlos Rogers and/or Tarell Brown next year. Losing Whitner would create a leadership void that the 49ers probably aren’t prepared to fill.
As much as the majority would like to see Harbaugh get a mega-extension this week, that would send the message that he’s running the show in Santa Clara. So while Jed York could be figuring out a way to keep him around (and relatively happy), it’s probably not going to happen before March 8, when teams can start negotiating with unrestricted free agents. In the meantime, re-signing Boldin and/or Whitner would bring about some good feelings for the first time since
Colin Kaepernick’s appearance on Cartoon Network the playoff win over the Panthers.