Brandon Aiyuk

Trent Williams, Brandon Aiyuk Back On 49ers’ Reserve/COVID-19 List

The 49ers have now placed seven players on their reserve/COVID-19 list this week. Two of those — Trent Williams and Brandon Aiyuk — are on the list for a second time.

Williams, Aiyuk and tight end Daniel Helm landed on San Francisco’s coronavirus list Friday. They join Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, center Hroniss Grasu and linebacker Joe Walker.

Aiyuk and Williams each missed San Francisco’s Week 9 game against Green Bay but returned for the team’s trip to New Orleans last week. The 49ers are on a bye this week, but their COVID situation certainly warrants monitoring.

Players who come in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus land on reserve/COVID-19 lists. They must isolate for five days. Friday’s news does not mandate Aiyuk or Williams miss the 49ers’ Week 12 contest, against the Rams, but they would be in line to miss that game if they tested positive. It is not yet known if that is the case. But with seven players on the COVID list, the 49ers do have a bit of an issue during their week off.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ Kendrick Bourne Tests Negative

49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is now eligible to return. After his COVID-19 positive on Wednesday, Bourne has received two consecutive COVID-19 negatives (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). In addition, fellow wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel have also been the greenlight, along with left tackle Trent Williams

Bourne was one of several 49ers players held out of Thursday night’s game due to protocols. Playing shorthanded, the Niners lost 34-17. Bourne’s latest results seem to point to a false positive on the first test, and his camp is predictably miffed.

It’s frustrating because Kendrick has been really responsible with everything,” agent Henry Organ said. “He’s taken COVID-19 very seriously. It’s not a joke to him.”

Through eight games this year, Bourne has caught 25 passes for 352 yards and one touchdown. His last outing was his best yet — Bourne registered eight grabs for 81 yards against the Seahawks, making the most out of his ten targets.

With their roster largely restocked, Bourne and the 49ers will turn their attention to the Saints, following their bye week.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Hopkins, Rams

Hit hard by injuries this summer, the 49ers‘ passing attack will be a shell of its optimal version Sunday. The 49ers declared George Kittle out Friday with a sprained knee. Kittle will not travel with the team to New York but will instead meet his teammates in West Virginia, where the 49ers will practice next week in between their road tilts against the Jets and Giants, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets. While the 49ers are expected to have first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk make his NFL debut, being down Kittle and top wideout Deebo Samuel (on IR) will not make matters easy for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • DeAndre Hopkins signed a lucrative two-year, $54MM add-on with the Cardinals add-on recently. He will go from earning $26MM through 2021 on his previous deal to making $42.75MM — all fully guaranteed — in that span, according to Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter). Hopkins’ $6.65MM 2022 base salary vests in March 2021, Breer adds. Signed through 2024, Hopkins will receive $60.1MM over the deal’s first three years — up from the $39.1MM he would have collected under the terms of his Texans-constructed contract. The final two years of Hopkins’ new deal — 2023 and ’24 — are option years, Breer adds (via Twitter).
  • Despite eating a stunning $21.8MM in dead money from their Brandin Cooks trade, the Rams dived back into the fray of high-end receiver contracts. Their three-year, $47.25MM Cooper Kupp deal includes $35.1MM guaranteed and $20.3MM in full guarantees, according to OverTheCap. Woods’ four-year, $65MM pact, which comes with $32MM guaranteed, will only pay him $4.5MM over the next two years — which were part of his previous Rams contract. However, the deal’s first new year (2022) comes with $13.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • More injury trouble for Dee Ford. The 49ers pass rusher is now battling a neck issue and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Ford, who did not practice this week, has run into extensive injury trouble during his time with the 49ers. He played through knee, quad and hamstring issues in 2019 and missed time during camp with a calf malady. The 49ers restructured Ford’s contract to create cap space; the move will make it more difficult for the team to cut or trade Ford in 2021.
  • Mohamed Sanu‘s 49ers deal is worth a tad more than the veteran minimum. The former Bengals, Falcons and Patriots wideout signed a one-year pact worth around $1.125MM, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, adding that Sanu will receive a $137.5K bonus — despite being an in-season addition. Although the 31-year-old target struggled to assimilate in New England, he played under Kyle Shanahan with the 2016 Falcons.
  • The Seahawks are still on the lookout for pass-rushing help. The team brought in former Chiefs second-round edge rusher Breeland Speaks for a recent workout, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. A 2018 draftee, Speaks could not make the Chiefs’ 53-man roster. He missed all of last season due to injury.

49ers Working Out Kevin White, Justin Hardy, Other WRs

Despite agreeing to terms with three veteran wide receivers recently, the 49ers are still looking for help at the position. They are working out four wideouts Tuesday.

Former top-10 pick Kevin White, ex-Falcons role player Justin Hardy, Johnny Holton and River Cracraft are taking part in the audition, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This marks White’s second workout in a week. The Jets brought in the former Bears draftee previously.

San Francisco already added Tavon Austin, J.J. Nelson and Jaron Brown, but the team is dealing with a host of injuries. Deebo Samuel remains out with his foot fracture, while Richie James is battling a broken hand. First-round pick Brandon Aiyuk is dealing with a hamstring injury, further clouding the 49ers’ potential first-string wideout picture. Jalen Hurd also suffered an ACL tear recently, with that setback following Travis Benjamin‘s opt-out decision.

Kyle Shanahan was in Atlanta when the Falcons drafted Hardy in the 2015 fourth round. He played five seasons with the Falcons, playing a reserve role. While Hardy has 95 career catches for 946 yards, he has never eclipsed 225 in a season. Holton played a lesser role for the Raiders and played 16 games — mostly as a special-teamer — with the Steelers in 2019. Cracraft has operated mostly as a Broncos return man. The latter’s most recent work in Denver came in ex-49ers assistant Rich Scangarello‘s offense.

White went nearly a year without a connection to an NFL team. The Cardinals released the former No. 7 overall pick last August, but he has begun to resurface on the NFL radar. Although White has played in only 14 games since being a sought-after 2015 prospect, 2020 would still be just his age-28 season. It does not appear teams are throwing in the towel on his career yet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk, Rookie QB Jordan Love Received Fully Guaranteed Deals

It sounds like players and agents are making progress in getting guaranteed money for all first rounders. ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports (via Twitter) that 49ers wideout Brandon Aiyuk (No. 25) and Packers quarterback Jordan Love (No. 26) received fully guaranteed rookie deals.

This is a significant difference from last year, when only the first 24 picks received fully-guaranteed deals. Last year’s 25th and 26th picks were Ravens receiver Marquise Brown and Redskins defensive end Montez Sweat, respectively. It’s worth pointing out that both the 49ers and Packers traded up for those aforementioned rookies, so it’s not shocking that the front offices were comfortable enough giving guaranteed money.

San Francisco sent No. 31, No. 117, and No. 176 to Minnesota for No. 25, which they used on Aiyuk. The Arizona State product earned first team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019 after hauling in 65 receptions for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns. The wideout should have a chance to contribute immediately for San Francisco; Emmanuel Sanders departed in free agency while second-year pro Deebo Samuel recently suffered a broken foot. The 49ers signed Aiyuk to his rookie deal last month.

The Packers surprised many when they traded No. 30 and No. 136 to Miami in order to select Love at No. 26. The quarterback got into 13 games for Utah State in 2019, completing 61.9-percent of his passes for 3,402 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. While the three rookie QBs drafted in front of him will be starting sooner than later, Love will likely serve as Aaron Rodgers‘ backup for the next few years. The Packers signed their rookie quarterback earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Sign Javon Kinlaw, Brandon Aiyuk

The 49ers have signed first-round picks Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk, the team announced (Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported the Kinlaw signing via Twitter prior to the club announcement). Kinlaw and Aiyuk become the fourth and fifth of 32 first-rounders to sign their rookie deals.

Any other year, all (or almost all) rookies would be under contract by now. But thanks to COVID-19, many teams are waiting until their new draftees can report to team facilities before signing them.

Kinlaw was the No. 14 overall selection of this year’s draft. The 49ers traded fellow DL DeForest Buckner to the Colts earlier this offseason in exchange for the No. 13 overall pick, and then they traded down one spot on draft day to allow the Buccaneers to move up and select OL Tristan Wirfs.

The selection of Kinlaw marked the fourth time in the last five years that the 49ers used their top pick on a D-lineman. Kinlaw will be asked to step into the void left by Buckner, the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, and he will line up alongside Solomon Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick in 2017. The 49ers declined Thomas’ fifth-year option in May, so if Kinlaw impresses this year, the club could allow Thomas to leave via free agency in 2021.

Kinlaw, a South Carolina product, was deemed a moderate injury risk by most clubs, but he has boundless potential. The 6-4, 319-pounder moves with great explosiveness for a man of his size, and his ability to collapse the pocket will serve him well against the pass and the run. His inspiring backstory also makes him a player worth watching.

Like Kinlaw, Aiyuk has a chance to make an immediate impact. The 49ers watched Emmanuel Sanders depart in free agency, and second-year pro Deebo Samuel suffered a broken foot that puts his availability for the first few weeks of the season in doubt. San Francisco’s WR corp was not particularly deep to begin with, so Aiyuk will be instrumental in the team’s early season success.

The Niners’ brass certainly has confidence in Aiyuk. The team moved up from No. 31 to No. 25 to nab the Arizona State product, who caught 65 passes for 1,192 yards and eight scores in his final collegiate season. He offers excellent YAC ability, so looks for HC Kyle Shanahan to scheme ways to get the ball in his hands. His route-running is a bit raw, but he and Samuel should complement each other nicely when the latter is ready to return to the field.

Per the terms of their slots, Kinlaw will take home a four-year, $15.5MM deal, and Aiyuk will receive a four-year, $12.5MM pact. Both contracts, of course, come with a fifth-year option that would be fully-guaranteed if exercised. Here’s the full rundown of the Niners’ class, via PFR’s tracker:

1-14: Javon Kinlaw, DT (South Carolina): Signed
1-25: Brandon Aiyuk, WR (Arizona State): Signed
5-153: Colton McKivitz, T (West Virginia): Signed
6-190: Charlie Woerner, TE (Georgia)
7-217: Jauan Jennings, WR (Tennessee): Signed

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Trade 25th Pick To 49ers

The pace of trades is starting to pick up as the first-round draws to a close. The Vikings are trading the 25th pick to the 49ers, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

The Vikes will get the 31st, 117th, and 176th picks from San Francisco in return, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). The 49ers made the move to ensure they got the receiver they wanted, as they drafted Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State with the 25th pick. This was the Vikings’ second pick of the first-round, after they took LSU receiver Justin Jefferson at 22.

It’s interesting that the 49ers opted to trade up, considering all the talk surrounding them has been they were looking to move down. San Fran made the draft’s first trade when they swapped the 13th pick for the 14th and 117th picks with the Bucs. They didn’t have any second, third, or fourth-rounders before that deal, and they are without a pick in those middle rounds once again after giving 117 right back up.

Eagles Interested In Brandon Aiyuk, Jalen Reagor?

It’s no secret that the Eagles could use some help at wide receiver. But, with expensive WRs already under contract, they had to stay out of the fray in free agency. Now that the draft is less than a week away, they’re expected to make at least one significant investment at the position. 

[RELATED: Eagles’ Jason Kelce To Return In 2020]

In addition to being in the mix for LSU playmaker Justin Jefferson, the Eagles are interested in Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, Adam Caplan of InsidetheBirds.com notes. They join a list of teams who are not concerned about the core muscle surgery Aiyuk underwent earlier this month. Aiyuk is expected to be ready to go by June, per Caplan.

Philly has also done “a lot of work” on TCU’s Jalen Reagor, Caplan adds. Despite recently posting multiple sub-4.3-second 40-yard dash clockings, Reagor figures to be available by the time the Eagles’ No. 21 pick arrives. Jefferson, however, may not be.

Scouts Inc. rates Aiyuk 20th and Reagor 45th overall. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Aiyuk going off the board 20th and Reagor 55th. Following their 21st overall pick, the Eagles’ next draft window opens at No. 55. They used the No. 57 overall pick last year on JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who underwhelmed as a rookie. Though unlikely, the Eagles going wideout in both the first and second rounds should not be dismissed, Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

If the Eagles want to aim for Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb, they would almost certainly have to trade up. That would probably need to happen to acquire Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs as well.

The Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson under contract beyond 2021, but each 30-something’s salary becomes much easier to shed next year. Whoever the Eagles draft next week figures to be a key component in their post-Jeffery/Jackson future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Dolphins, Herbert, Edwards-Helaire, Aiyuk, Shenault

The Dolphins held a predraft video meeting with Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, who reports no NFL team has done as much work on Herbert as the Dolphins. Herbert is fully expected to come off the board in Round 1 of next week’s draft, but it’s unclear if Miami will be comfortable taking him with the fifth overall selection. Per Jackson, the Dolphins’ questions about Herbert are twofold: he’s more of an introvert than an extrovert, and he is occasionally inaccurate.

Miami also conducted a video conference with LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, per Jackson, who indicates the Dolphins could consider Edwards-Helaire with pick Nos. 39 or 56 in the second round. While the Dolphins already signed veteran Jordan Howard this offseaon, Edwards-Helaire, who caught 55 passes in 2019, would add another dimension to Miami’s backfield.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft, which is now only one week away:

  • Speaking of the Dolphins, former NFL executive Gil Brandt says it would not not be a surprise for Miami to take a non-quarterback with the fifth overall pick (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). While the Dolphins have seemingly spent the past year-plus acquiring draft capital in order to land a quarterback, it’s possible that they could go in a different direction. If Miami opts for another position at No. 5, offensive tackle could speculatively be a target area.
  • A number of prospects– including Arizona State receiver Brandon Aiyuk, Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault, and Cal safety Ashtyn Davis — recently underwent core muscle surgery but have medically cleared, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). All three should be ready for the start of the 2020 regular season. Meanwhile, Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall (ankle) has also been medically cleared, while South Carolina receiver Bryan Edwards (fifth metatarsal) and Utah safety Julian Blackmon (ACL) should be cleared by May and July, respectively.
  • While NFL teams aren’t all that concerned about the upcoming remote draft format, they are potentially worried about the undrafted free agent process, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (video link). The UDFA signing period is often a frenzy as is, and clubs think the virtual nature of the process could make it even more difficult.