With the recent suspension of 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs, it's evident that coach Jim Harbaugh has no problem laying the smack-down on misfits plaguing his roster. After all, he cut struggling wide receiver Braylon Edwards mid-season last year.
Although punishing two veterans on short-term contracts doesn't seem like a pattern, it does point to Harbaugh's openness to give players with checkered histories a second chance. After all, the Randy Moss experiment has worked out well so far this year, so maybe Harbaugh should consider rehabbing other misfit players as well. Here are our top five misfit candidates that Harbaugh should pursue:
Ever since Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham went down with injuries, the 49ers have been lacking depth at the wide receiver position, so why not sign Chad Johnson? Sure, Johnson has some baggage, but if he has genuinely changed for the better since being cut from the Miami Dolphins earlier this year, he could add much needed depth. Besides, his touchdown celebrations are always entertaining!
The 'Honey Badger'
How about drafting the feisty defensive back known as the 'Honey Badger' next year? Sure, he was booted off Louisiana State University's football team for substance abuse, but if he can get his act together, he could add depth to the 49ers' secondary and special teams. The 49ers have plenty of draft picks next year and could probably pick up Tyrann Mathieu in the middle rounds.
Remember the big, fiery, tight end? He's had his fair share of controversial comments and hasn't played this season, but the veteran could fill a void should tight end Delanie Walker leave as a free agent next year. Plus, Harbaugh likes tough, physical players, and at 6'5" and 253 pounds Shockey could provide some bulk to the 49ers' jumbo packages.
Got your popcorn ready? It's been a while since the 39-year-old receiver played in the NFL, but he may still have something left in the tank. Sure, he can be a cancer in the locker room and has all sorts of drama in his personal life, but if he can stay focused like Randy Moss and buy into coach Harbaugh's 'team' concept, he could provide much needed depth at wide receiver.
Tebow! Tebow! Tebow!
When the 49ers signed All-Pro punter Andy Lee to a lucrative six-year extension, it signaled the premium value they place on special teams. So who better than to protect that asset than punt protector Tim Tebow? He's helped the New York Jets with field position this year by keeping defenses off balance.
Also, the 49ers have a close-knit locker room and aren't ones to anonymously bad-mouth each other to the press like the New York Jets. Coming to San Francisco would present an improved situation for Tebow and help the 49ers' struggling special teams unit.
Jim Harbaugh...back in the 1990s
Jim Harbaugh has a history of clashes himself, dating back to his years as a player. So what if he lined up behind center to play quarterback again? Sure, it's been 12 years since he played an NFL game, but wouldn't it be cool to see Harbaugh work double-duty as coach and player? We'd have to check the NFL rule book to see if that's even permissible, but if Harbaugh the player got into a shouting match with Harbaugh the coach on the sidelines, that could be entertaining.