In lieu of an hour-long live chat this week, we decided to open up the 49ers Mailbag via Facebook.
Of course, there were multiple questions wondering if the 49ers were interested in free-agent guard Evan Mathis. The 49ers have not closed the door on him, but the team recognizes the drawbacks to bringing him in. All that was outlined on Tuesday, “Cap space does not impact 49ers’ value of Mathis.”
Let’s see what’s on peoples’ minds. . .
Was Eli Harold drafted with the thought Aldon would not straighten out? (David Caracas)
The 49ers will tell you they drafted Eli Harold in the third round because he was the highest-rated player on the board at the time.
But it’s fair to assume the 49ers believed there was a possibility Aldon Smith would not be around for the long term. After all, they re-worked his contract in March to reduce the financial risks in the event the team felt it needed to part ways with him. That move converted his scheduled guaranteed $9.754 million salary into a non-guaranteed one-year deal. The new contract made it easy for the 49ers to cut ties with Smith, as it saved them $8.1 million in real money.
Obviously, Smith’s status was uncertain at the time they drafted Harold. But the long-term future of Ahmad Brooks is also not known. The 49ers believe in drafting for need a year or two before the position becomes a need, so it all makes sense.
The combination of Brooks, Harold, Aaron Lynch and Corey Lemonier give the 49ers some good depth at that position. There's no potential superstar like Aldon Smith, but it's a solid group.
What do you think Hayne impact on the team will be if any? (Lupe Daville)
Who's more likely to make the 53: Hayne or Okoye? (Dewey Fong)
Jarryd Hayne was clearly a longshot to make the 53-man roster when camp began. And he still faces an uphill battle to land a spot. But, man, he is one tough son of a gun. His first live plays from scrimmage were memorable.
I don’t envision Hayne or Okoye working their way into the mix on offense or defense. But I would not rule out the possibility either player can win a roster spot based on special-team play. In that regard, I’d give Hayne an advantage because of his versatility. He looks good handling punts, and he should be able to run down the field and make tackles, too.
But Okoye has a chance. He could distinguish himself, at 300 pounds, running down the field and making plays.
McDonald over Bell? (Dan Matteson)
Blake Bell, a fourth-round pick, will be on the 49ers’ 53-man roster this season. I don’t believe Vance McDonald has any such assurances. But, at the same time, McDonald might have a better chance at winning the No. 2 job.
Bell needs to play stronger. McDonald needs to become more of a factor in the passing game. So there are advantages and drawbacks for both players. Derek Carrier will also be a factor for the No. 2 job. Asante Cleveland has put together a strong camp and could make a surprise push for a spot on the 53-man roster. Veteran Garrett Celek and rookie Busta Anderson have stiff challenges ahead of them to win spots on the roster behind Vernon Davis.
The 49ers believe they have seven NFL-ready tight ends, and they would like to see if they can make a trade or two.
How is Brandon Thomas's development coming along? Is he going to come in and fill the right guard position? (Jose Villalvazo)
Thomas’ stock was falling dramatically during the offseason program and first few days of training camp. He appeared to still be rusty from the torn ACL that wiped out his rookie season. But Thomas appears to be moving much better over the past week to place himself into serious consideration at right guard. Marcus Martin has not solidified his hold on that position, so Thomas will have a chance to work his way into the mix with his play in the exhibition games.