Brandon Aiyuk

Injury Updates: Goff, Rams, Murray, Cardinals, 49ers, Mixon, Bengals, Watkins, Chiefs, Edelman, Patriots

Things have gotten ugly for Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense the last couple of weeks, with back to back losses to the Jets and Seahawks in which Goff played poorly. Making matters worse, Los Angeles’ quarterback dislocated and broke his thumb during the loss to Seattle. It looks like there are a wide range of outcomes moving forward, with everything from Goff playing this Sunday to being out for the remainder of the season being on the table. Goff will require surgery on the thumb at some point but he’s hoping to push it back until after the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (Twitter video link).

Rapsheet says that Goff is “adamant” about pushing to play in Week 17 and that he at least has a “shot” to be under center. If the Bears lose to the Packers on Sunday then the Rams are in the playoffs no matter what, but if Chicago beats Green Bay then the Rams will need to beat the Cardinals to get in. It sounds like Goff is going to try to push through and suit up for the playoffs even if he isn’t able to be out there on Sunday. Goff is meeting with specialist Dr. Steven Shin today, the same doctor who treated Drew Brees‘ thumb injury last year, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Obviously Brees missed a handful of games with that injury last year, although hopefully for the Rams this isn’t as severe. If Goff is forced to miss the game against Arizona, it’ll mean the first regular season NFL action for former Wake Forest and AAF star John Wolford.

Here are more health issues from around the league entering the final week of the season:

  • Goff isn’t the only banged up quarterback in this pivotal game. Kyler Murray has already dealt with a lingering shoulder injury this season, and he also hurt his leg at the end of Arizona’s Week 16 loss to San Francisco. Speaking to the media Monday head coach Kliff Kingsbury was vague, only deeming it a “lower leg” injury and saying they won’t put Murray out there if he can’t be effective. If the Cards win on Sunday, they’re in. If they don’t, they’re out. In a game of this magnitude, you have to figure Murray is going to play if it’s at all possible, but right now Kingsbury is saying it’s up in the air. This will be a situation to monitor closely, but either way it sounds like Murray is going to be at less than 100 percent against Aaron Donald and co.
  • One last dispatch from the NFC West. The 49ers picked up an upset of the Cardinals, but their injury-plagued season continued. They dropped at least two more starters, as rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams both won’t play in Week 17 due to injuries they suffered against Arizona, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Shanahan also said he’d be shocked if Jimmy Garoppolo plays this weekend, meaning C.J. Beathard should get another crack at it. Aiyuk has flashed a lot of promise, and 49ers fans have to be excited about his 2021 potential. It’s possible we’ve seen Garoppolo play his last snap as a 49er.
  • Joe Mixon‘s 2020 campaign is officially in the books. The Bengals running back won’t play this weekend, head coach Zac Taylor confirmed Monday. Mixon hasn’t played since all the way back in Week 6 due to a foot injury, but the team kept insisting he was only week to week this whole time. Mixon signed a four-year, $48MM extension back in September, so he’s in Cincy for the long-haul.
  • Chiefs fans can breathe a little easier. Receiver Sammy Watkins went down with a calf injury yesterday, but Rapoport tweets it isn’t believed to be major. Given Watkins’ injury history, that’s a big relief. Rapoport writes that Watkins will rest in Week 17, but that there’s a “good chance” he’s back for Kansas City’s first playoff game.
  • Another player whose season, and quite possibly career, is over: Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. Rapoport tweets that Edelman won’t be activated for tonight’s Monday Night Football showdown with the Bills, and that it’s “unlikely” he plays next week either. Edelman is under contract for next season but he’ll turn 35 in May, so it’s entirely fair to wonder whether he’ll end up retiring. The legendary Patriot, who has spent all 12 years of his career in New England, was limited to only six games this year due to a knee injury.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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.