Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco 49ers front office has been greatly criticized in recent months and the new coaching staff hasn't been given much credit either. All we have seen so far was a egotistical front office and a downgrade among the team's coaches. On Thursday however, the 49ers management and coaching staff made a bold early impact on the upcoming 2015 season that may be a good start to changing the minds of even the most critical of judgers.
The 49ers were able to lure defensive lineman Darnell Dockett from the Arizona Cardinals, who had cut him the previous week in a money saving move. The Cardinals had always hoped to bring Dockett back at a reduced salary, offering him a one-year $2.5 million deal with the opportunity to earn another $1.5 million in incentives, but it was the 49ers who swooped in and snatched him away from their grasp.
It wasn't just Arizona and San Francisco that was showing interest in Dockett. Apparently, the entire NFC West was interested. The Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams wanted to talk with Dockett.
After meeting with the 49ers in Santa Clara earlier this week and spending a couple of days deciding between Arizona and San Francisco, Dockett finally agreed to a 2-year $7.5 million deal with $2 million guaranteed.
Why is this such a big deal other than the fact that the move solidifies a defensive line that got rid of Ray McDonald and still awaits an announcement on whether or not Justin Smith will return? It is huge because it means that even with a new coaching staff and the tarnished image fans have of team management, the 49ers can still lure in big names. It also sheds off the image that team management is cheap and didn't want to invest in winning. It was even revealed that 49ers players were reaching out to Dockett and were lobbying for him to come to the Bay Area.
The Dockett decision may have been surprising to Cardinals fans. In May of 2010, prior to signing his final deal in Arizona, Dockett was asked by a fan on Twitter what he would do if the 49ers ever offered him a big free-agent contract. He responded with, "ill take less and go play with Pete carrol seattle!"
So many were worried that the 49ers would not be able to attract free agents because of recent events and the perception that the coaching staff was rather unorthodox. The coaching staff does have a good deal of experience, but it's not necessarily a good deal of experience in the positions that they currently hold — save some of the names on the list. However, what they proved today was that they are confident and experienced enough to bring in a name like Dockett and keep him away from an NFC West rival. They are great recruiters because they were able to sell the 49ers to Dockett and eliminate any reservations he might have had about joining the organization. As for management, they are still able to quickly work out (hopefully) financially sound deals. All of this is fantastic news as the team gears up to head into free agency, which begins on Tuesday.
It was a move that the 49ers needed. They needed to show fans that they are just as devoted to winning as they were with the past regime. It will be interesting to see what the team does with the rest of the offseason. The new league year hasn't even started yet and the team has brought in a strong pass rusher in Dockett and hosted a visit with return specialist and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. They have also lured in rugby superstar Jarryd Hayne to play running back and compete on special teams, when up until the final moments, it looked like he would pick the Detroit Lions. That was not necessarily big news in the states, but huge news in Australia.
The only handicap the team may have is sufficient salary cap space to be more aggressive. The team is still likely to renegotiate some current contracts in an effort to clear up a little more space.
As for the 33-year old Dockett, he will make $4 million in his first year, which is less than the $6.55 million that he was scheduled to make in the final year of his contract with Arizona. He has amassed 459 tackles, 40.5 sacks, four interceptions and seven forced fumbles during his career. In 2013, Dockett had 46 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He missed the 2014 season with a torn right ACL after getting his foot stuck in the turf at the University of Phoenix Stadium during practice in August. Before that, he missed just two games in his first 10 NFL seasons.
The nice thing about this signing is that since he was a released player, he will not count against the 49ers in next year's compensatory-pick formula.
Dockett will play end in the 49ers' 3-4 defense but will move inside on third downs. He already has a friend on the team in tight end Vernon Davis. The two grew up around Washington, D.C. and even engaged in a little trash talking on Twitter that made headlines back in 2010.
What will be the 49ers' next big move? Will they dive into free agency and try to lure another big name or will they — as they typically do — wait until the dust settles on high priced free agents and go after guys with some possible upside? Today's acquisition has to make you more excited and confident in what this team can do during the offseason.
Date: March 10, 2015 at 9:02 AM
Comment: Gotta go with 50 on this one. Stuck with the team through bodie , the first nolan, moribito brothers, losing to Dallas etc...those were tough times, but the ore walsh days were nothing compared to the post mooch York days. They disrespect the tradition, the players the fans and the coaches and bleed green and bottled water. Being a fan doesn't mean I have to be stupid. My belief is that the 49ers dark ages 2, will make the little naked emperor bring in a billionaire to buy the majority share. That will wash their hands of them ignorantly thinking they can run the team on the cheap and win, while having hundreds of millions to spend in Ohio watching Denise's favorite sport, soccer.
Date: March 9, 2015 at 12:16 PM
Comment: Below this comment you can see the remarks of "formal faithful"
pretty sure there is no such thing as a former faithful. You are either faithful or not faithful. He isn't.
My other comment is, what does Docketts comments in 2010 have to do with anything in 2015? That was half a decade ago.
By: 50 year FORMER faithful
Date: March 9, 2015 at 8:57 AM
Comment: Bye bye winning record. Bye bye defensive leadership Nobody want to play for the Yorks and the incompetent siver spoon wannabe owner.
I'd say the rats are jumping ship but it's the captain and crew and the Rats are in the office.
Loyalty is earned and clearly the Yorks have earned NONE
The worst franchise in the league. Getting worse and losing with no class.
Making losers out of winners; the YORK family mantra.
Date: March 9, 2015 at 6:04 AM
Comment: He is also a veteran with proven leadership (former team captain) that can be instrumental in bringing up young linemen like Dial and Carradine. I could imagine that Justin Smith feels like he owes Tomsula another season out of loyality.
By: Lucky Phl
Date: March 8, 2015 at 4:33 PM
Comment: Nice comment, Dave. Took me a few minutes to figure that one out. And another 10 minutes to work it out... of there.
By: Lucky Phil
Date: March 8, 2015 at 3:46 PM
Comment: I made an impressive early move this morning with my staff, David. What do you think? This could be my year!
By: 50 year FORMER faithful
Date: March 8, 2015 at 3:09 PM
Comment: Syephen. The media has nothing to do with my thoughts. I've been screwed personally by that lying sack Jed York. And by his disloyal daddy. It's about calling us the faithful and flushing us down the toilet. The season ticket scam the super bowl ticket scam.
But the biggest thing is that the yorks are proven losers. PROVEN losers who only know how to make losers out of winners.
Jed York has no class. A lying silver spoon fouchebag who has no clue about people business or integrity for which he has none NONE
Even just the other day. We wo keep frank gore.
Just another lie to satisfy a reporter.
Jed York is a coward a liar and a joke of an owner
Stephen can go suck his cock all day for all I care but don't be do disingenuous to suggest the media are to blme for the Yorks YEARS of incompetence disloyalty and lies.
Sell the team you greedy ignorant liars.
Cannot wait to watch the Niners lose lose lose.
Get ready for 2-14
By: stephen bryant
Date: March 6, 2015 at 4:26 PM
Comment: Lets get this straight everyone especially you idiots who allow the media to dictate the way you think to accomplish their own agendas. This win with class statement that Jed made does not mean that the niners can't get a player with a checkered pass. What it stands for is those type of playwers staying clean during their tenure with the niners. You can win with class with individuals who have made bad decisions or even been incarcerated. I think a lot of you people forget that the NFL is a job for these individuals and to say that employers (Jed York/ Trent Balke) can't hire who they want because it's not what the outsiders want is just stupid. That's like your a business owner but you allow others to make your decisions because they may not be popular with them. The media will utilize these tricks to motivate drama especially because Jed made that comment. The media understands that individuals like the 50 yr former faithful down here will bite hook, line, and sinker. This is what the get paid to do and it works on inexperienced individuals or people who want to be politically correct who I consider the ones who want things black and white so they don't have to think. I'm a grey
By: 50 Year FORMER faithful
Date: March 6, 2015 at 2:33 PM
Comment: Simpson, who was out of the league in 2014, has had three off-field incidents since 2012, one of which included the alleged delivery of 2.5 pounds of marijuana to his home. So hows Simpson mesh with the whole "win with class" thing? Owner Jed York has been asked that question. He didn't answer it.
"You have to ask [G.M.] Trent Baalke," York told Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don't know what the thinking was."
JED the weasel. A liar a coward and a fraud. You cannot win with class Jed because you have none you pathological failure.
Kept up the lies and bs.
Just sell the team. The fans hate your whole family you disloyal coward.
By: 50 year FORMER faithful
Date: March 6, 2015 at 7:52 AM
Comment: Simpson, meanwhile, also missed the 2014 season but for non-medical reasons. He's been a staple on police blotters in recent years, beginning in January 2012, when, while a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, he was arrested for having 21/2 pounds of marijuana sent to his home. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years probation on a drug-related charge.
The next year, he was arrested on suspicion of DWI and later pleaded guilty to careless driving and refusal to submit to a breath test. In July, he was cited for violating a limited license, marijuana possession and open bottle after being pulled over in a traffic stop in Minnesota
JED YORK. WINNING? Not. With class?? Not a bit.
Nothing like a washed up d lineman and a criminal so Jed the douche can lose with no class. Like dental ding dong daddy.
THE YORKs KNOW LOSING
And with NO CLASS
Sell the team you lying cowardly Knownothing greedy football morons.
Date: March 6, 2015 at 5:41 AM
Comment: Come on guys I know you guys are smarter than this yes docket is a good player but an old one. Rugby player is a rugby player not football if we are gonna get players from other sports I rather get a basketball player who atleast will get a jump ball. The Simpson signing all these guys are coming at a discount price but they are not what's gonna make this team beat the Seahawks or other great teams. It's still gonna be up to tomsula preparing for more experience game planners in our division and the rest of the league. And of coarse kap which we all hope learn atleast to throw the ball with some touch. And hope all of are injured players got better this offseason. It's a lot of question marks to be answered which I forgot our line problem. IM trying to stay positive but it's tough.
By: Canadian Bacon
Date: March 6, 2015 at 5:38 AM
Comment: They replaced Ray MacDonald, the 11th best DE in the league according to the stats group Pro Football Focus, with Dockett who had the worst grading against the run in the 8 years of the report's existence. He is also coming off an ACL suffered last year as well as being four years older and slower than MacDonald. This is impressive?Particularly if Justin Smith retires? Maybe DC Mangini is not big on run defense. Oh well, we do have the best rugby player in the league.
Date: March 5, 2015 at 7:37 PM
Comment: David, things are starting to look up. Coach T's experience working with non-football athletes in Europe brought us the #1 Rugby player in the world. His years as a D-Line coach played a role in signing Docket. This is a team that appears to be reloading for another run.
Date: March 5, 2015 at 5:42 PM
Comment: To all those people who dont know it yet. Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson have already been cut. We need receivers asap.
Date: March 5, 2015 at 1:39 PM
Comment: Not everyone saw this coaching change is such a poor light. I suspected that a Tomsula run team would be able to land some good free agents.
Date: March 5, 2015 at 1:03 PM
Comment: What the niners need to do is cut Stevie
Johnson and Brooks, which would save the team 10 million. Restructuring
Staleys, Willis's, kaepernics and Davis's, (Anthony and Vernon), contracts should net a savings of between 10 to 15 million
Date: March 5, 2015 at 12:02 PM
Comment: Crabtree is gone so its a no brainer to keep Stevie Johnson.
Date: March 5, 2015 at 11:42 AM
Comment: Need football players not these want to be football payers like rugby man.
By: Amos M
Date: March 5, 2015 at 11:40 AM
Comment: I don't think the 49ers HAD anything to prove. To who? The media? The naysayers? The critical people including yourself? I've said all along this org. knows what it's doing and Harbaugh being gone.. we shouldn't be surprised. That writing was on the wall before 2014 OTA's. I understand his winning prowess but look at the damn roster!
Let's give these guys a bit of breathing room. I'll take your quote below...
"It was a move that the 49ers needed. They needed to show fans that they are just as devoted to winning as they were with the past regime."
I completely disagree. Tomsula was the pick to replace Harbaugh a long time ago... but with any type of promotion, you always make sure you aren't missing something greater. The bigger picture. Let's give these guys some respect!
By: Frank M
Date: March 5, 2015 at 10:38 AM
Great article...as I've been telling anyone who'll listen, they needed to give this new regime a chance to show what they can do. Signing Dockett away from the entire NFC West is no small accomplishment. Also think fans will warm up to Jarryd Hayne, a bruiser Rugby player who's rolling the dice to make his mark in the NFL. With so many veteran players getting cut all over the league, the off-season leading up to the FA period's one of the most exciting in recent memory.