NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the 49ers have reached a 4-year, $54 million deal with LB Kwon Alexander. They can't finalize the contract until Wednesday afternoon. Alexander will join a LB corps that saw rookie Fred Warner play mostly on the inside last year. We'd bet on Alexander taking over the middle, though, and Warner playing the weak side. There's room for both to produce quality IDP numbers. Alexander is coming off a left ACL tear, but the new contract indicates little concern over his recovery. We'll certainly keep an eye on his progress through the spring and summer. We'll also see whether the Bucs stick with 2018 rookie Adarius Taylor at MLB or go in another direction.
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that the 49ers will keep rookie Fred Warner at MLB today against the Chiefs and start Reuben Foster and Malcolm Smith at the OLB spots. Foster is returning from a 2-game suspension, while Smith missed the 1st 2 games with a hamstring injury. It remains to be seen who the Niners will keep on the field for passing sub packages. IDP owners can use Warner and Foster in Week 3 lineups, but be aware of the lingering playing-time question if you're facing tough starting decisions.
The 49ers got LBs Malcolm Smith and Reuben Foster back on the practice field Wednesday. Smith didn't even appear on the injury report, putting in a full workout after missing the 1st 2 games with a hamstring injury. Foster, meanwhile, completed his 2-game conduct-policy suspension and is eligible to return against the Chiefs this Sunday. HC Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday the coaches haven't decided on a plan for their LBs yet. The performance of rookie Fred Warner through 2 weeks complicates the decision. We'll watch for word from the coaches through the week. If we don't gain clarity before Sunday, though, it'll be tough to trust any Niners LB in IDP lineups.
Niners LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) is inactive for the 2nd straight game. He entered the weekend questionable but appeared in only 1 practice this week -- a limited Friday workout. If rookie LB Fred Warner puts up another big game -- filling in for Reuben Foster in the middle -- Smith might not find a starting job available once his hamstring allows him to return.
Niners LB Reuben Foster was in uniform for Thursday night's preseason finale, indicating that he has cleared the league concussion protocol. He'll still miss the 1st 2 regular-season games because of a conduct-policy suspension, but Foster should be good to go after that. Rookie Fred Warner appears likely to start in Foster's place and carries attractive long-term upside for dynasty leagues.
The league has suspended 49ers LB Reuben Foster for the 1st 2 games of the season for violating the conduct and substances of abuse policies. Foster was arrested for marijuana possession in January and then domestic violence in February. He got cleared of the latter charge after the accuser admitted to lying. The wording of the NFL's announcement seems to indicate he's being punished for both incidents, however. We'll see if he appeals -- and where that might go -- but IDP owners should expect to miss the 2nd-year LB for 2 weeks. Rookie Fred Warner figures to fill in while Foster sits. The 3rd-rounder worked as the 2nd-team MLB in spring workouts.