San Francisco was surprisingly in the running back market even after inking Jerick McKinnon to a four-year, $30MM contract last offseason. McKinnon, of course, missed the entire 2018 season after tearing his ACL, and it wouldn’t result in a significant financial hit for the 49ers to part ways with him. SF reportedly also pursued Le’Veon Bell before he signed with the Jets.
For Coleman, a $5MM annual value is the disappointing result of a disappointing campaign. Coleman witnessed the Falcons give starting running back Devonta Freeman an $8.25MM annual average on a 2017 extension, all but ensuring Coleman wouldn’t be back in Atlanta when his contract expired. When Freeman went down in 2018, Coleman wasn’t able to capitalize with his expanded work load on the ground. While he managed 4.8 yards per carry, Coleman was also among the least efficient backs in the league, per Football Outsiders‘ metrics.
Where Coleman does excel is in the passing game. He’s posted at least 25 receptions in each of the past three seasons, while FO ranked him as a top-20 back in terms of receiving efficiency. Matt Breida, who took over as the 49ers’ starting back once McKinnon went down, isn’t much of a pass-catcher, so Coleman would complement him well. But if Coleman is taking over as San Francisco’s receiving back, McKinnon might not have a role (or a job).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.