I can’t remember a time this busy since the Peyton Manning rumor mill was in full swing two years ago. The biggest news (at least in terms of pageviews on this site) is about the KNBR host who jumped ship and signed with 95.7 The Game. I’m here in Goodyear, Ariz. watching the Giants knock the ball all over the yard against the Reds, and the 49ers have been incredibly busy on the first day of free agency.
The Raiders are also making moves of their own that are riling up “The Nation,” and I’m sure James will have something for you shortly on the Rodger Saffold signing, as well as former Raiders left tackle Jason Veldheer signing with the Cardinals.
On the 49ers side, Donte Whitner left for Cleveland and the Niners immediately replaced him with Antoine Bethea, a safety who’s a year older than Whitner and was drafted in the sixth round in 2006. Matt Barrows pointed out an interesting fact: neither Bethea or Eric Reid committed a single penalty in 2013, which tells us San Francisco was sick of dealing with 15-yard flags every three games or so.
Speaking of sixth rounders, the 49ers dealt one to Jacksonville for Blaine Gabbert, who was drafted 10th overall in 2011 but never did much of anything for the lowly Jaguars. Gabbert will probably serve as the primary backup to Colin Kaepernick. He’s big (6′ 4″, 235) and has a decent amount of experience (27 starts), but his career QB rating is 66.4 and he isn’t much of a runner (186 yards on 75 carries in his career).
It’s a mistake to compare this trade to the one last year, where the 49ers sent a sixth-rounder to Baltimore for Anquan Boldin. Boldin made $6 million last year and the Ravens were going to have to release him, and Gabbert’s cap number is … $3.8 million? Okay, this is a little odd. Perhaps the 49ers are planning on negotiating a multi-year deal that puts them on the hook for less money this season. Remember, they’ve been known to pressure backup quarterbacks into taking less money (as Colt McCoy knows all too well).
“We thought highly of Blaine as an early entry into the 2011 NFL Draft,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. “He is a high-character individual that will be given every opportunity to develop within our system and we are looking forward to working with him.”
Phil Dawson also announced he’ll be back with the 49ers:
Very excited & grateful for the opportunity to return to my team & be a part of chasing the quest for six! Go niners! #itsgood
— Phil Dawson (@phil_dawson_4) March 11, 2014
Something else worth mentioning: the 49ers tendered one-year contracts to restricted free agent Demarcus Dobbs and exclusive rights free agent Michael Wilhoite.
Stay tuned, because the way things are going the 49ers might end up with Darrelle Revis by tomorrow. Just kidding! (Or am I????)