Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area joined Haberman & Middlekauff on 95.7 The Game on Thursday to talk about the San Francisco 49ers and other matters across the NFL. One of the subjects he touched on was the ongoing, but never changing, Anthony Davis saga. Davis has not yet filed for reinstatement, which would end his retirement from the NFL. The 49ers still own the rights to Davis.
"Anthony Davis has repeatedly sent mixed messages about his future," said Maiocco. "Everybody in the 49ers organization feels as if he were really serious about coming back and committed to coming back and playing football, he would have been there on April 4th when the 49ers opened their offseason program. He was not. He did not turn in his paperwork to file for reinstatement off the reserved/retired list."
Maiocco then touched on the videos of Davis doing drills that emerged this past week and how the former right tackle looked. "I thought he looked a little on the small side," said Maiocco. "For a right tackle in the NFL, which is considered more of the power position, that might be a concern. Maybe he wants the 49ers to re-queue the rights to him and allow him to be a free agent because I don't know that the 49ers would be able to get anything for him in a trade. It would certainly have to be a conditional pick. No team is going to give up anything not knowing really if he wants to play football or not. And I've said from day one, the 49ers were certainly never counting on him to play in 2016."
Maiocco also went on to speculate that one of the reasons that Davis and general manager Trent Baalke may have "butted heads" this offseason might be due to the portion of the signing bonus that Davis had to return to the 49ers. He was forced to return some of that money when he retired and didn't fulfill his entire contract. He may be trying to recoup that money, which, according to Maiocco, isn't how things work.
What about the team's expectations for 2016? How is the team and the upcoming season viewed internally?
"I don't think that anybody would say this on the record, but I think that they know what's up and I do believe that last year, internally their expectations changed once they saw how that offseason unfolded from a team that could step right back into the playoffs," said Maiocco. "You know, a few retirements later, maybe a team that was going to be right there around the 500 mark. I think for this year, I think everybody kind of feels like this is going to be a 'set the table' kind of year.
"I think there's some talent on the team. The problem is the talent is all young and by no means are those players kind of reaching the apexes of their careers anywhere near like that team in 2011, 2012, started to go down a little bit in 2013. This is the year where you look at it and you would expect some young defensive backs to play some really good football. You would expect a second wide receiver – maybe a third – to maybe surprise you, whoever those players might be.
"This could be the year where you see maybe a Garnett – Joshua Garnett – woah, this guy has a chance to be a player. [Arik] Armstead and [DeForest] Buckner. You know, those guys. And I would have thrown Aaron Lynch into that mix too of a guy capable of taking the next step and saying this is a guy right here who figured to be part of the answer down the road. Not a guy you're looking to replace a year from now. I think that that's what this season is about."
Maiocco then touched on the quarterback situation for the team, where a competition between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick for the starting job is about to kick off when training camp begins on July 30.
"And then you have the who other aspect of 'What the heck is going to happen at the quarterback position?' Not just for 2016 when it's going to be Gabbert or it's going to be Kaepernick, but if the answer is there for the longterm," said Maiocco. "If Kaepernick does everything right on and off the field and looks like that player we saw a couple of years ago, is he then – 'Well, let's keep him around.' Now, all of a sudden, that $14 million salary for next year isn't looking so prohibitive. 'We can keep him around.' Or, if it's Gabbert going, 'Wow, he's a perfect fit for the Chip Kelly system. Got him for peanuts this year as a starter. Now let's sign him to a longterm deal and have him be the guy.' Or, if you just say, 'Well, the answer's not here. Maybe it's Jeff Driskel, the number three guy, but now it's back to the drawing board.'"
You can listen to the entire interview here on 95.7 The Game.