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NFL Notes: 49ers, Browns, Lions, Vikings

49ers

The 49ers issued a statement regarding the recent arrest of LB Reuben Foster for marijuana possession (NFLTR) in Alabama:

The San Francisco 49ers organization is aware of the matter involving Reuben Foster and we are currently gathering all relevant facts.”

  • Matt Maiocco of NCS Sports writes that one of assistant HC Ken Norton‘s duties with the team will be to mentor and “provide positive influences” to players like Foster.
  • Regarding long-term contract negotiations with 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Maiocco expects the team to franchise him if they are not able to finalize a contract by the March 6 deadline. Although, Maiocco believes “there is confidence on both sides” that a deal will be reached for Garoppolo.
  • Maiocco writes that the 49ers have intimated that they would bring back S Jimmie Ward on his $8.5 million fifth-year option.
  • According to Maiocco, S Jaquiski Tartt is a “strong candidate” for a contract extension this offseason.
  • Although Maiocco expects 49ers SS Eric Reid to reach the open market, he could see the team re-signing him to a one-year deal if he is unable to gain a lot of interest on the open market.
  • As for players returning from injured reserve, Maiocco writes that LB Malcolm Smith is expected to start at weakside linebacker with Foster moving to middle linebacker.

Lions

  • Michael Rothstein of ESPN mentions that Patriots DC Matt Patricia, who is a candidate for the Lions’ head coaching job, has more familiarity with GM Bob Quinn than fellow candidate Mike Vrabel, from their time together in New England from 2009-2015.
  • Regarding the succession plan for Lions’ ownership after Martha Ford, Rothstein says he has gotten the same answer: “There’s a plan. They know what it is. No, they have no interest in making it public.”
  • When Rothstein asked Quinn whether the team plans on explaining their succession plan with ownership, he said: “Haven’t thought of it.
  • Rothstein can’t see the Lions would be able to trade up to acquire Penn State RB Saquon Barkley since he is set to be a top-five pick and Detroit owns the No. 20 overall pick.
  • Rothstein views the addressing their front-seven and finding a pass rusher as larger necessities for the Lions with the first-round pick.
  • Rothstein tosses out Georgia LB Roquan Smith and defensive linemen Maurice Hurst of Michigan or Vita Vea of Washington as some prospects who could make sense for the Lions.

Browns

  • According to Mike Klis, former Broncos STs coach Brock Olivo interviewed for the Browns’ special teams coach position.

Vikings

  • To no surprise, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Mike Florio that “Case [Keenum} is the guy” in regards to who will start for them moving forward.
  • The Vikings officially activated Sam Bradford from injured reserve on Saturday. (NFLTR)
  • As for the Vikings’ backup quarterback job, a league source tells Florio that a decision will be made on Sunday.
  •  Vikings LS Kevin McDermott said he underwent labrum surgery on his left shoulder on Monday and will be in an arm sling for six weeks. He expects to be fully recovered in time for spring practices. (Chris Tomasson)