Expectations are rising around 49ers headquarters as the team prepares for the second season of the Harbaugh era. Veterans report for training camp in 10 days and the 49ers will be back playing at Candlestick Park in less than a month, as they kick off the preseason schedule with an Aug. 10 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
The 49ers added a bevy of talented players to their deep roster this offseason via free agency and through the draft and are expected to be Super Bowl contenders once again in 2012. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote a season preview for Sporting News and predicted the 49ers will repeat as NFC West Champions.
“Experts and oddsmakers see the 49ers making it to the Super Bowl, and the team has been receiving shovelfuls of praise since the end of the season,” Barrows writes. “The truth is that it’s warranted.”
Today’s Morning Tailgate also features news regarding franchise-tagged safety Dashon Goldson on his final day of long-term contract negotiations with the 49ers and more. Check out the latest headlines after the jump.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com discussed Goldson’s contract situation as today’s 1 p.m. deadline approaches. Maiocco: “If no deal is struck by today’s deadline, Goldson will still make more in salary this season than he made during his first five NFL seasons combined. But he would not be eligible to sign a long-term deal with the 49ers until after the final regular-season game.”
Barrows also examined Goldson’s market value by looking at other long-term deals signed by safeties in recent years. Barrows: “Goldson is unique. He’s taller, more physical and more aggressive than most free safeties, who are becoming more and more like glorified cornerbacks in a league which emphasizes the the passing game a little more each year.”
Nolan Nawrocki of ProFootballWeekly.com said the 49ers feature the NFL’s best backfield. Nawrocki: “If you want to break it down in terms of sheer talent, I’ve got to go with the San Francisco 49ers.”
Maiocco handicapped the 49ers quarterback situation and said second-year signal-caller Colin Kaepernick should be the favorite to earn the No. 2 job behind Alex Smith. Maiocco: “Second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick enters training camp as Alex Smith’s backup. And he is the favorite to hold onto that spot.”
Maiocco also writes about 49ers CEO Jed York, who tweeted on Sunday that he hopes Kyle Williams is the team’s breakout player in 2012. Maiocco: “Williams faces plenty of competition from a solid group vying for backup roles. Rookie A.J. Jenkins, the 49ers’ first-round draft pick, figures to get a long look to see if he can work his way into the mix.”
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Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Dashon Goldson, Jed York, Kyle Williams
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