The offseason roundup

With training camp set to begin in three weeks at 49ers headquarters, here's a detailed look at 49ers personnel with all the offseason moves that have shaped the team's 2008 roster with comments on every player coming, going and staying along with the free agents who still are currently in limbo.



UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (Not tendered offers in June)

G Larry Allen: The 11-time Pro Bowler put in two good years as a starter for the 49ers, and he still had not officially announced his retirement by the first week of July, leaving open the possibility he could still continue his career. But it's unlikely to be with the 49ers, who have been planning their offensive line without him. Allen probably still has something left, but one of the NFL's greatest offensive linemen ever has nothing left to accomplish.

WR Bryan Gilmore: The last player released at the final roster cutdown last September, Gilmore was called back early in the season after Taylor Jacobs bombed as the team's third receiver and contributed seven receptions in limited action at receiver and solid special teams play. After the 49ers revamped their WR unit once again this spring, Gilmore no longer is in their plans.

WR/KR Michael Lewis: The veteran was an improvement over the youngster he replaced as the team's return specialist, Brandon Williams, but Lewis' best days clearly are behind him after he averaged just 7.6 yards on punt returns and 17.2 yards on kickoffs returns. The team signed another accomplished veteran return specialist, Allen Rossum, to handle those duties this year.

CB B.J. Tucker: The team has upgraded enough at cornerback that there's no reason to keep Tucker around. A once-promising prospect, Tucker lost the entire 2007 season due to injury, and others moved ahead of him in the team's plans while he was out.

QB Chris Weinke: The veteran did a fine job in his brief time with the team last December, and he even had a decent performance in his one game as a starter in the season finale. But Weinke obviously is not in the team's QB plans as the 49ers move forward, and his career likely is over unless another team needs an emergency stopgap veteran like the 49ers did at the end of last year.




WR Isaac Bruce: FA Rams; $6M/2 yrs. When St. Louis released the prolific wideout because he would not re-do his contract, the 49ers quickly pounced, and now Bruce is firmly established as a starter with his new team who has a complete understanding of the intricate offense of new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Bruce may not be what he once was, but he proved this spring he still has plenty left, and he provides a significant upgrade at the position.

RB DeShaun Foster: FA Panthers; 1 yr, terms unknown. When he couldn't find a starting job elsewhere, Foster opted to sign up for a tour of duty as Frank Gore's backup, knowing he will probably get a good chunk of work in Martz's wide-open offense. Foster rushed for 876 yards or more in each of the past three seasons and had 108 receptions during that span, so he's a producer who looked good with his new team this spring.

WR Bryant Johnson: UFA Cardinals; $2M/1 yr. After being overshadowed in Arizona by Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, Johnson gets his shot at being a featured receiver with the 49ers, and he slipped comfortably into the role with the Niners this spring. Big and athletic, Johnson is looking for a breakout season as the split end in Martz's offense.

QB J.T. O'Sullivan: UFA Lions; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB. Now with his ninth NFL organization, the seven-year veteran played in Martz's offense last year with Detroit and has a head start in developing comfort in the intricacies of that system. The 49ers say they'll give O'Sullivan an opportunity to compete for the starting job, but what he'll likely add to the team is veteran experience as the No. 3 QB.

DT La Juan Ramsey: Waivers Eagles. Philadelphia's sixth-round draft pick in 2006, the early summer addition has good size at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds and will compete for a backup spot along the defensive line.

CB/KR Allen Rossum: FA Steelers; $870,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB. The 11th-year veteran ranks second in NFL history with 13,269 career total return yards and first among active players with 2,749 career punt return yards. The 49ers are counting on Rossum to have enough left to upgrade their lagging return game.

DE Justin Smith: UFA Bengals; $45M/6 yrs, $20M guaranteed; 2008 cap: $3.083M. San Francisco's big-ticket catch in free agency will be a key player in the team's 3-4 system and will be moved around to put him in optimum situations to make an impact the 49ers sorely need along their defensive front.

LB Dontarrious Thomas: UFA Vikings; 2 yrs, terms unknown. The veteran will try to distinguish himself when the pads go on this summer, something he didn't particularly do during spring workouts. He's competing for the starting job at inside linebacker next to Patrick Willis, can play multiple linebacker positions and also help out on special teams.


TE Billy Bajema: RFA; $927,000/1 yr. Has been a solid role player since the 49ers selected in the seventh round of the 2005 draft and provides quality depth at one of the team's stronger positions. His strength is blocking, but he also might see more passes come his way now in Martz's wide-open offense.

OLB Roderick Green: Potential UFA; $605,000/1 yr. The 49ers need pass rushers, and that is what Green does best. He's a one-dimensional player, but he's good at that dimension, which will give Green an opportunity to stick as a situational player.

QB Shaun Hill: Potential UFA; $6M/3 yrs, $1.95M SB; 2008 cap: $1.65M. After never throwing a pass in his first five NFL seasons, Hill finally got his shot after Alex Smith and Trent Dilfer were injured last year and showed that, indeed, he can produce as a NFL quarterback. That earned him a nice contract to re-up with the team and an opportunity to compete with Smith for the starting role this year.

NT Isaac Sopoaga: Potential UFA; $20/M/5 yrs, SB unknown. The 49ers might have overpaid to keep the big Samoan around, but it was something they needed to do after losing starting ends Bryant Young and Marques Douglas since the end of last season. Sopoaga started making an impact last year and is a player on the rise who will help the team at both end and nose tackle.

CB Donald Strickland: UFA; $800,000/1 yr. Played well as a role player last season, earning himself another contract with the team. Will be in hot competition with several others for reserve duties at cornerback and a spot in secondary coverage packages.


QB Trent Dilfer (released): After his lousy play last year in an extended run after Alex Smith was injured, the 49ers weren't about to bring the aging veteran back for the final year of his contract. He was not the answer as Smith's backup and probably has reached the end of his career.

DE Marques Douglas: UFA Buccaneers; 4 yrs, terms unknown. Was one of San Francisco's best defensive players last year, but the 49ers felt that Douglas had peaked and was headed for the downside of his career. While he could have helped this season, it was probably a prudent decision not to give Douglas the long-term contract he was seeking – and deserved – as an unrestricted free agent because he probably already has played his best football.

T Kwame Harris: UFA Raiders; $14M/3 yrs, SB unknown. The 49ers pretty much gave up on Harris, who hardly played at all last season after losing his starting job to rookie Joe Staley during the preseason. He was never going to be anything more than a backup for the 49ers, which makes the big money the cross-bay rival Raiders paid him quite surprising, particularly considering Harris' struggles with penalties and pass protection.

RB Maurice Hicks: UFA Vikings; 3 yrs, terms unknown. Always produced for the 49ers in a variety of roles as both a running back and special teams stalwart, but the team decided he no longer fit into its plans and will be using a variety of different players this year to handle the roles Hicks filled last season.

WR Darrell Jackson (released): It was a quick fall from grace with the 49ers for Jackson, who bombed during his one season in San Francisco. Expected to be a legitimate No. 1 target after coming via trade from Seattle, Jackson finished fourth on the team with just 46 receptions and was unceremoniously cut during the offseason when the 49ers decided he wasn't worth a second chance and made other arrangements at Jackson's position.

OT Qasim Mitchell (released): Was signed during the offseason and given an opportunity to compete for a backup role along the offensive line, but the fringe veteran did not make a strong impression and the 49ers decided not to bring him to training camp.

G Justin Smiley: UFA Dolphins; $25M/5 yrs, $9M guaranteed. The 49ers weren't about to give Smiley the kind of money they knew someone else would on the open market. The team's 2004 second-round draft pick was a good player and solid starter for the 49ers, but Smiley has injury issues and the Niners already were going in a different direction at Smiley's position before they decided to let him walk.

LB Derek Smith (released): The veteran had a great run with the 49ers, leading the team in tackles five consecutive seasons from 2001-2005, but his play really began to sag by the end of last season and he wasn't worth the price of the final year of his contract to keep around. Smith quickly signed with the San Diego Chargers after being released, but he no longer fit into San Francisco's plans.

DT Bryant Young (retired): The last remaining link to the team's Super Bowl era, Young leaves a huge void on the field and even bigger void in the locker room, where he was a stoic and unquestioned leader. One of the greatest 49ers of them all, Young walked away from the game while he still was on top as a standout player.

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