SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers officially open up training camp today and players will now get a chance to officially meet their new coaches and begin meetings at the team facility. However, due to the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement, there are a couple things that some players have to take note of as camp begins.
Free agents that have yet to sign their contracts may not participate in training camp. That means recently re-signed free agents quarterback Alex Smith and defensive end Ray McDonald have to wait until 3:00 Friday afternoon to sign their contract. They will then be allowed to join their teammates once the new league year begins. The deadline to recertify the league year is August 4.
Undrafted rookie free agents, draft picks and players that were already under contract will be in camp today. The 49ers already secured contracts fromall their draft picks. Fullback Bruce Miller and center Daniel Kilgore signed on Tuesday. Linebacker Aldon Smith, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, cornerback Chris Culliver, running back Kendall Hunter, wide receiver Ronald Johnson, safety Colin Jones, cornerback Curtis Holcomb and offensive lineman MIke Person have all signed their contracts with the 49ers this morning. The 49ers have the biggest draft class in the league this year and all of them are now under contract.
The team has also signed undrafted rookie free agent Monte Simmons. The linebacker from Kent State will add depth to a very young linebackers group.
Since Alex Smith is not allowed to join his teammates today, the 49ers will be thin at quarterback. Veteran David Carr is expected to be released by the team later this afternoon. That leaves rookie Colin Kaepernick as the only quarterback in training camp today. He has yet to sign his rookie contract.
The only other quarterback on the team is former Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. However, the 49ers are converting him to a running back, so it is unknown if Masoli would see any practice time at quarterback if the situation does come up. And with only one quarterback in camp, the 49ers might sign an undrafted free agent or trade for one to join in camp for the first scheduled on-field practices.
Thursday’s training camp will be dedicated to meetings and completing physicals. The first on-filed activity will take place on Friday. One familiar face that the 49ers will be without is running back Frank Gore. Gore is holding out for a contract extension. He has one more year left on his contract and is scheduled to make $4.9 million this year.
Let’s see how long the 49ers can afford to go through training camp without their workhorse running back.