Free agency isn’t cheap for 49ers

If Balls were Julio Jones, he would be on the phone with his agent as soon as possible if not earlier.

Or A.J. Green or Dez Bryant or Odell Beckham Jr., or any number of other star NFL wide receivers.

The first question would be: Can you explain to me why Pierre Garcon gets paid more than I do when he can’t carry my supporter?

Santa Clara is about to sign Garcon to a multiyear contract for a reported $16 million in the first season, we’re told. At 30, the guy is barely in his prime. This is what lousy teams and rotten organizations do in the off-season — overpay for free agents, sometimes by a lot. If they didn’t do this, nobody worth a spit would consider them in the open market.

Look, Garcon is nothin’ if not dependable. Four years ago, he caught a hundred balls. Santa Clara desperately needs a proven wideout like him. Compared to the jamokes of the last few years, the Faithless will think he’s another Jerry Rice, for goshsakes.

But as much as Garcon doesn’t want to be called a possession receiver, that’s what he is — a possession receiver. Jones ($13.9 million) blasts grand slam homers. Green ($13.5 million) slugs three-run bombs. Garcon slaps ground-rule doubles.

Sixteen-million dollars? Really?

REST OF THE STORY: Santa Clara will play with a quarterback next season. That was confirmed on Wednesday, when the 49ers agreed with free agent Brian Hoyer on a two-year deal. The 31-year-old veteran spent one season with coach Kyle Shanahan in Cleveland and knows his system.

Don’t rule out Kirk Cousins, though.

The longer Washington Redskins go without a longterm commitment to Cousins, the greater the chance that they will part ways in the near future. Cousins hit if off with Shanahan in their Redskins days. And Santa Clara will be one of the few teams that can meet his contract demands a year from now.

Connect the dots, girls and boys.

General manager John Lynch shouldn’t be in a hurry here. If and when Cousins hits the open market after the 2017 season, he can be had at no cost whatsoever. Meanwhile, Hoyer gives the team a serviceable QB to bridge the gap.

After all, Team Shanny-Lynch has six years to clean up this mess, right?

Here’s the thing: Cousins will be 29 years old by the time next season rolls around. If we agree that it will take at least three years for Lynch to build a championship contender — who says Balls isn’t optimistic? — Cousins will be 32 when that happens. While not ancient, that’s not prime time, either.

In that case, would it be wiser to draft either Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky or DeShone Kizer as the quarterback of the future?

A real, live quarterback such as Cousins would speed up the rebuild process, no doubt. But it’s kinda scary to think that, by the time Cousins begins the back-nine of his career, Watson or Trubisky or Kizer could have emerged as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league.

Scarier yet is that Lynch has never made this kind of ginormous decision in his life.

NO TORREY-BOOK ENDING: Wide receiver Torrey Smith may not be the worst move in the Clueless Trent Baalke era, but he’s in the team photo, that’s for sure.

Baalke signed the long-ball threat to a five-year, $40-million contract even though the team had no quarterback to get him the ball. In two seasons, he caught 53 balls for 930 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Last few years were terrible professionally, you know?” Smith said after he was waived on Tuesday. “Football, it wasn’t fun. Wasn’t very involved, so it wasn’t a fun two years as a player, but had some great relationships with a lot of people out there. Loved the locker room, loved my teammates and I loved both coaching staffs I was involved with as well so it just was I came in at the wrong time but I’m still thankful for the opportunity that they gave me.”

Balls feels his frustration, but it would take $40 million worth of terrible, any time.

HEY, JOE: Earlier this week, Joe Thornton became the 13th NHL player to reach the 1,000-assist mark in his career. Hey, good for him. If Minnow Joe averages 30 assists over the next five seasons, he could retire at age 42 among the top-five on the list.

But let’s not include Thornton in the conversation about the best all-around players ever, OK?

Thornton stands 6-foot-4 but plays five inches shorter. Since the league began to track the statistic, he has averaged 0.6 hits per game. Thirty-seven percent of his assists have come on the power play. His mind-numbing reluctance to shoot the puck makes it easier to play against him and his linemates.

Oh, and there’s that small matter of a Stanley Cup ring.

Great touch and vision? No doubt. Hall of Famer? Probably. But a great among the greats, no way.

YOUR TURN: “Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred should be flayed for several reasons, but specifically because of the automatic intentional walk decision. One of the great moments for me and every Athletics fan was when manager Dick Williams confounded the Cincinnati Reds with a fake base on balls in the 1972 World Series. What a great call by a poor, troubled man. I salute you, Dick. Now keep it in your pants.” — Thomas Burgess, Noe Valley

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.

Paul Ladewski

Recent Posts

SF Preps Game of the Week: Sacred Heart Cathedral stumbles in WCAL opener

KEZAR STADIUM -- A week after 52-point win over Homestead a week ago, Sacred Heart Cathedral came into Friday's WCAL…

7 hours ago

Affordable homes, not developer giveaways

In a recent op-ed published in the Examiner, Corey Smith, the paid Campaign Organizer for the citywide advocacy group for…

8 hours ago

Affordable housing plans at shipyard move forward despite concerns over radioactive contamination

The City is forging ahead with plans to develop a 28,792 square-foot site on Parcel A at the Hunters Point…

8 hours ago

SF Preps Football: Mountain View-St. Francis batters St. Ignatius

By Daniel Sheedy Special to S.F. Examiner MOUNTAIN VIEW -- With both teams coming off a bye week and looking…

9 hours ago

Khris Davis hits two homers, including walk-off blast, in 7-6 Oakland Athletics win

By Alex Hall Special to S.F. Examiner OAKLAND -- Oakland Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis already had the most home…

10 hours ago

A’s open final home series of 2018 against Twins

By Alex Hall Special to S.F. Examiner AKLAND — The Oakland Athletics have enjoyed an incredible 2018 season, with 92…

14 hours ago