Pre-Training Camp Report --06/23/01
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As training camp approaches, the 49ers still have a number of issues to attend to in order to be ready for two a day practices, with the full squad. Perhaps the team's primary priority is to lock Jeff Garcia to a long term deal. The team also needs to cut it's roster by about fifteen players, extend the contracts of Lance Schulters and Fred Beasley, sign the draft picks, and it also wants to sign a veteran linebacker.

Signing Jeff Garcia will be a difficult task. As it stands right now, the 49ers are about 2.3 million dollars under the salary cap. Capologists predict that all of this money will be needed in order to sign the team's rookies. Jeff Garcia is not concerned however, and said that he does not want to hinder the development of the team, by holding out. The 49ers must make sure that Garcia does not have to go back on his word, and should be working to get a deal done ASAP. Garcia, who went to the Pro Bowl last season, coming off a career year where he threw for more yards than any 49ers quarterback ever - including Joe Montana and Steve Young, is an integral part of the 49ers offense, and it would hinder the team's development greatly if he held out of training camp.

Prior to training camp the team must find a way to reduce its roster to eighty bodies. This will likely mean a slew of undrafted free agents will be reduced as camp approaches. With nearly one-hundred bodies already on the roster, the team will have some tough decision's to make. One man who shouldn't be worried though, is David Allen who has been impressing coaches with his return abilities. Look for the 49ers to try and keep as many linebackers and offensive lineman as possible as that is where the team will be looking for a few 'diamonds in the rough'.

Fred Beasley, and Lance Schulters are both currently signed to one year deals. This however in no way is the best situation for the players or the team. While the one year tender that each signed gives them a substantial salary, it does not guarantee them a contract for coming seasons. Meanwhile the team needs to create salary cap room, and could do so with the extension of these two contracts. The money could then be used to sign Jeff Garcia.

Although the 49ers have initiated talks with first round draft pick Andre Carter, the talks have not progressed to any significant point as of yet. The team needs the whole draft class to report to training camp and will use just about every bit of cap space it currently has to sign these players. One player the team may decide not to pursue is Alex Lincoln, who the team had high hopes for until they found out about a numbness injury that has kept him out of mini-camps.

Officials of the 49ers are on record stating that they would like to bring in a veteran linebacker to help solidify the middle three of the defense. Recent reports state that Terry Donahue has two particular players on his mind: Roman Phifer a 10-year linebacker and Terry Killens a five year veteran are believed to be the short list. The team is hoping that Phifer can fully rehabilitate a knee that required arthroscopic surgery several weeks ago. Terry Killens, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, however is believed to be the front-runner for the position. Killens, at age 27, was a salary cap victim of the Titans; he seems to fit the mold of the player the 49ers coaches were looking for. He's very versatile, can contribute on special teams, and is a locker room leader - something the 49ers will need lots of this season with no Jerry Rice.

There is so much for the team to accomplish between now and the end of July. These are just some of the more important issues that need to be addressed. Somewhere along the lines, the team will need to make a decision at running back, where Paul Smith continues to be very impressive. The team will also need to make some decisions at tight end, where Greg Clark excels at blocking, but has a few youngsters breathing down his neck. It should be a very exciting month in 49ers land.

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