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NFL Notes: 49ers, Bears, Buccaneers & Packers

 

49ers

In case you missed it, reports from earlier in the week mentioned that 49ers G Alex Boone believes he has outplayed his contract and could hold out for a new deal.

On top of that, there was also some pessimism that San Francisco will be able to re-sign Pro Bowl G Mike Iupati, who is entering the final year of his contract.

According to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, the 49ers held “behind-closed-doors conversations” regarding Iupati and Boone last year and what their plan will be for them moving forward.

Maiocco believes the 49ers will have to make an “either/or decision” regarding the two players.

San Francisco wisely loaded up on interior offensive line talent in this year’s draft when they selected Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas in the third-round.

The 49ers have been forced to make some tough roster decision in recent years as they allowed impact safeties like DaShon Goldson and Donte Whitner to depart via free agency, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them allow Iupati to walk. Boone still has two years remaining on his contract and has reasonable base salaries.

Bears

Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago doesn’t see former first-round pick Shea McClellin beating out Jon Bostic for a starting linebacker job in training camp.

The team has said that they are hoping that McClellin is capable of making the transition to linebacker and ultimately securing a starting role, but that could end up being wishful thinking on their part.

Even with his age and the fact that he’s coming off of an injury, Wright expects veteran LB D.J. Williams to start over McClellin as well with Lance Briggs manning the other outside linebacker spot.

Chicago loaded up on defensive end talent in free agency signing LaMarr Houston, Jared Allen and Willie Young, which forced McClellin to move to linebacker.

The former first-round pick still has two years remaining on his four-year contract worth $8,263,398. It probably goes without saying that this is an extremely important summer for his future with the Bears.

Buccaneers

Scott Reynolds of the Pewter Report writes that the Buccaneers currently have a “logjam of talented running backs,” and are likely to keep, at most, four running backs on their 53-man roster.

As of now, it appears as though Doug Martin and third-round pick Charles Sims will be their top-two running back. Behind them, the Bucs have Mike James, Jeff DempsBobby Rainey and undrafted free agent Brendan Bigelow.

According to Reynolds, James could end up being the odd man out due to his limited short-area quickness.

Rainey actually led the team in rushing yards last year with 532 and managed to produce three plays of over 30 yards last year.

Demps benefits from incredible speed and the potential to play a versatile role in the Bucs offense and on special teams.

Bigelow is familiar with new OC Jeff Tedford’s offense during their time together at the University of California, but his best shot to remain in Tampa Bay is likely as a practice squad player.

Packers

Interestingly enough, Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky wouldn’t rule out the idea of DB Micah Hyde starting over first-round pick S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix this year.

Packers HC Mike McCarthy mentioned that they would like to have Hyde on the field as much as possible next year, even if that means he’s playing safety or slot corner.

Demovsky mentions that Clinton-Dix could see game action in nickel packages as Hyde could line up as the team’s nickelback.

Green Bay came away from the draft with arguably the best free safety prospect in this year’s draft class, so it seemed logical that they would pencil him into their starting lineup given that it has been a large weakness in recent years. However, all indications are that they intend to give Hyde every opportunity to carve out more playing time in 2014, even if it comes at the cost of Clinton-Dix.