Dee Ford

Richard Sherman Out Until Week 12?

Kyle Shanahan provided a bleak update on Richard Sherman‘s availability Wednesday, continuing the theme of this 49ers season.

Shanahan said the Pro Bowl cornerback is not expected to return until after the 49ers’ bye week, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan (on Twitter). This would put Sherman’s return date in Week 12 — a Nov. 29 rematch with the Rams. Sherman has been on IR since Week 2 because of a calf injury.

Sherman, who re-emerged as a top-tier cornerback last season after his 2017 Achilles injury, returning from injury and re-establishing himself as a high-end defender will be key for his NFL future. This is the final year of his three-year, $27.2MM deal. Although the self-represented cornerback confirmed he and the 49ers had discussed an extension in September, the sides have not agreed on terms. The cornerback market has changed considerably this year, with Jalen Ramsey, Tre’Davious White and Marlon Humphrey signing for well above the position’s previous salary ceiling.

The 49ers saw Emmanuel Moseley return from injury last week and have observed Jason Verrett display rare availability this season, which is interesting in a year in which many 49ers have been lost with injuries. But Sherman and slot corner K’Waun Williams are on IR, joining the likes of Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas and Dee Ford. The latter will also not be back until at least Week 12, per Shanahan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Place Dee Ford On IR

The 49ers will place edge rusher Dee Ford on injured reserve this week, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan (Twitter link via NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco). With that, Ford will be held out for a minimum of three games.

Ford played 46 snaps in the 49ers’ Week 1 loss to the Cardinals, but back issues have kept him out ever since. As it turns out, the Niners didn’t need much help against the Jets and Giants, drumming New York’s teams with ease in Weeks 2 and 3. Still, it’s another frustrating setback for both Ford and the Niners. The 29-year-old registered 6.5 sacks last year despite missing five games, and he was said to be looking sharp after offseason knee surgery.

The 49ers sent a second-round draft pick to the Chiefs in 2019 to acquire Ford in a tag-and-trade deal. The impressive edge rusher managed 13 sacks for Kansas City in 2018, but his five-year, $85MM contract has yet to really pay off for John Lynch & Co. Even when he did suit up last year, Ford had to be restricted by a pitch count, putting him on the field for just 22% of SF’s defensive snaps.

The 49ers — sans Ford — will face the Eagles at home on Sunday night.

NFC Rumors: Adams, 49ers, Godwin, Penny

George Kittle played through an injury last season, earning Pro Bowl honors despite dealing with a labrum tear. Just prior to Sunday’s Jets game, the 49ers tight end — who suffered an MCL sprain in Week 1 — was believed to be on track to return in Week 3, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. But considering the injury issues the 49ers had on the MetLife Stadium turf, which caused gripes from several San Francisco players, this might not still be the case. Kyle Shanahan said he will take the field conditions — when the 49ers return to MetLife to play the Giants — into account when determining Kittle’s Week 3 availability, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan.

Let’s take a look at the latest from the NFC, including news on a few more Pro Bowlers’ respective Week 3 statuses:

  • The 49ers will be down to just three first-round defensive linemen against the Giants. After losing Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the season, the 49ers ruled out Dee Ford for a second straight week. Ford, who has suffered a litany of maladies since being traded to San Francisco, has no return timetable, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The seventh-year defensive end is currently down with a neck injury, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes this has morphed into a back problem (subscription required). Ziggy Ansah serves as the third ex-first-rounder, having signed with the 49ers this week.
  • The Packers appear to have ruled out a long-term absence for top wideout Davante Adams. The standout receiver’s hamstring injury is considered minor, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Adams is not a lock to face the Saints in Week 3, however. Matt LaFleur halted Adams from returning to action Sunday and may play the long game with Aaron Rodgers‘ top weapon.
  • Good news for the Buccaneers. Chris Godwin figures to be back in uniform Sunday against the Broncos. The Pro Bowl wide receiver cleared the team’s concussion protocol early this week.
  • Pete Carroll indicated Rashaad Penny is ahead of schedule in his ACL rehab, via Brandon Gustafson of 710 AM ESPN Radio Seattle, predicting the third-year running back may well beat a perceived midseason return window. The longtime Seahawks coach, however, generally leans toward optimism regarding his players’ recoveries. That should probably be factored into this assessment. Penny resides on Seattle’s PUP list and cannot make his 2020 debut until at least Week 7. With Chris Carson in a contract year and Carlos Hyde on a one-year deal, how Penny performs in his return from injury figures to be pivotal for the Seahawks’ long-term running back plan.
  • Down Tevin Coleman and likely to be without Raheem Mostert in Week 3, the 49ers brought in three running backs for a Tuesday workout. Paul Perkins, Karan Higdon and Austin Walter are auditioning for the 49ers, Pelissero notes (on Twitter). Perkins was a former Giants fifth-round pick but has not eclipsed 100 rushing yards in a season since 2016.

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.

NFC West Notes: Ramsey, 49ers, Seahawks

The 49ers have been accustomed to dealing with running back unavailability during Kyle Shanahan‘s tenure, but Jerick McKinnon is on track to make his 49er debut at long last. However, Tevin Coleman‘s status is now uncertain. The second-year 49ers back did not practice Friday because of the poor air quality in San Francisco, which has been affected by the recent wildfires raging in many west coast areas. Coleman, who has a sickle cell trait, also did not finish a practice earlier in training camp due to poor air quality, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Although the 49ers traded Matt Breida, they still have McKinnon, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson on their active roster.

Here is the latest from the NFC West, moving first to the Rams’ resetting of the cornerback market.

  • The Rams were slightly over the 2020 salary cap earlier this week, but their Jalen Ramsey extension solved that problem. They created $7.5MM through the Ramsey deal, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets. Ramsey’s cornerback-record five-year, $105MM contract calls for only a $1.2MM base salary in 2020 — down from $13.7MM. The ensuing years, however, include base salaries of $17.5MM (2021), $15MM (’22), $17MM (’23), $14.5MM (’24) and $15.5MM (’25), Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. This contract’s rolling guarantee structure will convert injury guarantees to full guarantees the year before, essentially tying Ramsey to Los Angeles’ payroll through at least 2024, Garafolo adds (via Twitter).
  • Rams free agent signing A’Shawn Robinson qualified for the high-risk $350K stipend as an opt-out player, but his agent and the team reached a compromise that allowed the defensive lineman to avoid the opt-out list. The Rams instead placed Robinson on the non-football injury list and are paying him $500K this year, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Robinson was on track to opt out. Even though he did not officially do so, his two-year contract will toll to 2021 if he does not play this season. Robinson will keep his $6MM signing bonus, but his $3MM 2020 base salary will toll to 2021, Breer adds. Robinson could, however, come off the NFI list and play by Week 10.
  • Seahawks special teams coordinator Brian Schneider took a leave of absence this week, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. Larry Izzo will take over in that role during his absence. Schneider has been with the Seahawks throughout Pete Carroll‘s tenure, following Carroll from USC to Seattle in 2010. Izzo is in his third season with the team.
  • Prior to roster cutdown day, the 49ers considered trading Ahkello Witherspoon, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Witherspoon was aware of the team’s effort, which did not end up producing a deal. The 49ers are set to be without Jason Verrett, who missed all of last season and has dealt with injuries throughout his career, Sunday due to a hamstring injury. Witherspoon is in line to serve as a key depth player to start the season. Emmanuel Moseley replaced him in the starting lineup during the playoffs. A fourth-year player, Witherspoon is set for unrestricted free agency in 2021.
  • The 49ers did not restructure Dee Ford‘s deal to set up a big move, John Lynch said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, on Twitter). The move, however, did create $9.5MM in cap space. That gave the team some breathing room; it holds $10.9MM in cap space as of Saturday. The move does, however, make Ford a more difficult cut in 2021. It would now cost the 49ers $14MM-plus in dead money to release the defensive end next year.

Contract Re-Workings: Bucs, Evans, 49ers, Ford, Steelers, DeCastro, Seahawks, Moore

On this busy Saturday morning we’ve got a few contract re-workings to pass along. A few teams, all franchises hoping to compete for a championship this year, are freeing up some cap space, possibly to pursue some of the veterans left on the market:

  • Mike Evans, WR (Buccaneers): Tampa freed up $9.5MM by converting some of Evans’ salary into a signing bonus, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Bucs are loading up for their potential Tom Brady title run, having just signed Leonard Fournette earlier this week, and it’s possible they aren’t done yet. Evans is under contract through the 2023 season.
  • Dee Ford, DE (49ers): San Francisco also created $9.5MM in space by doing the same thing with Ford, Yates notes in the same tweet. Ford was a disappointment in his first year with the 49ers in 2019 as he battled various health issues that limited him to 11 games, and the organization reportedly shopped him before the draft. He’s signed through the 2023 season as well, although there are outs earlier. He’s also reportedly dealing with a relatively minor calf issue at the moment.
  • David DeCastro, OL (Steelers): Pittsburgh created $3.85MM with the signing bonus trick with DeCastro, Yates notes. The veteran guard has two years left on his five-year, $50MM pact.
  • David Moore, WR (Seahawks): Moore has reworked his deal to stay in Seattle, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. This one sounds like more of a pay cut in order to keep his roster spot rather than the vets above who just had salary converted to signing bonuses. Rapoport notes that Moore had been set to make $2.13MM under his RFA tender, and he presumably took less than that to make the 53. He had 17 receptions for 301 yards and two touchdowns last year.

49ers Rumors: Reed, Bosa, Ford, Juszczyk

One of the NFL’s most injury-prone players, Jordan Reed considered retirement after missing all of the 2019 season. The ex-Washington tight end dealt with another concussion last year, adding to a lengthy list of head injuries for the former Pro Bowler. But he signed with the 49ers this summer and is set to back up George Kittle.

I definitely thought about hanging it up after last season,” Reed said, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. “But it was when I watched the Super Bowl is what really ignited me again. I want to play in those big games. … Before I made my decision, I saw some professionals. And I did my rehab. All the tests were clear. I’m healthy and I’m good to go.”

Following last season, Reed has missed 25 NFL games because of concussions. He also suffered at least one in each of his three Florida seasons. The 30-year-old playmaker signed a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum ($1.05MM for an eighth-year player).

Here is the latest out of San Francisco:

  • Both Nick Bosa and Dee Ford are currently sidelined with injuries. Bosa is dealing with a strained muscle, while Ford is battling a calf malady. However, Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday he would be “very surprised” if his high-end edge rushers were unavailable for Week 1, via ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (on Twitter). Bosa dealt with a high ankle sprain during the 49ers’ 2019 training camp but played every game last season. Ford ran into knee and foot trouble and was limited to a part-time role.
  • Kyle Juszczyk is also on the shelf for the 49ers. The acclaimed fullback suffered a hamstring strain, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The 49ers, however, expect him to be ready by the time they face the Cardinals in Week 1.
  • During a late-summer wide receiver shuffle, the 49ers placed J.J. Nelson on IR and cut Jaron Brown. Kevin White and Tavon Austin remain on the roster, and the latter has performed well during camp, Branch notes. A former top-10 pick who turned 30 this year, Austin has not met expectations as a pro. But he’s played seven NFL seasons and, despite being listed as a wideout, has 10 rushing TDs in his career. San Francisco remains down Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as well, complicating its receiver depth chart. Injuries will certainly play a key part in how the 49ers’ receiver group looks after Saturday’s roster cutdown.
  • Despite White and Austin being vested veterans, each would be eligible for a practice squad spot. Due to the pandemic, teams can use up to six of their 16 P-squad slots on veterans with any amount of NFL experience this year. Shanahan is interested in taking advantage of this one-time-only luxury. “I love the fact that they’ll let us have vets on it,” the fourth-year 49ers coach said (via Maiocco). “I understand that some players won’t want to do that, but we’ll do our best to tell them why we think it’s a good opportunity for them.” Vested vets are slated to earn $12K per week on the taxi squad this season.

49ers DE Nick Bosa To Miss Time

Injuries interrupted Nick Bosa‘s final Ohio State year and his first 49ers training camp. The 2019 defensive rookie of the year has run into another health hurdle in his second NFL camp.

The standout San Francisco defensive end underwent an MRI and will miss some time due to a muscle strain, according to the team. The 49ers have tabbed Bosa as week-to-week. It’s a lower-body issue, with Bosa experiencing leg pain this week.

Bosa missed the 2019 preseason because of a high ankle sprain. That came after a core muscle injury ended his junior season and Buckeyes career early. Considering his history, protecting the former No. 2 overall pick certainly makes sense.

Despite missing most of the 49ers’ 2019 camp, Bosa became one of the league’s best defensive players last season. He played in all 19 49er games and played perhaps the lead role in the team assembling the No. 2 DVOA defense.

The 49ers are also down Dee Ford for the time being. The seventh-year pass rusher is dealing with a calf malady, though the team has labeled its older defensive end as day-to-day. Unlike Bosa, Ford was not able to shake off his preseason injury issues last year. Ford either played hurt or missed time last season, with hamstring and knee issues limiting him to a part-time role. Ford underwent knee surgery this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Ford, Clowney, Collier

Dee Ford played a key part of the 49ers‘ dramatic pass rush improvement last season, but the former Chiefs edge defender spent the season battling injuries. The 49ers did not use Ford last season nearly as much as the Chiefs did in 2018, with Ford’s knee and hamstring troubles contributing to his sporadic deployment. Ford took a step to a healthier 2020 season by undergoing knee surgery this offseason, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Ford described the operation as a “pretty extensive cleanup.”

He underwent the procedure a few weeks after Super Bowl LIV. Ford encountered multiple bouts of knee tendinitis last year, first in training camp and then aggravating the injury while training on artificial surfaces when the 49ers prepped for their Bengals game in Ohio. This preceded his hamstring trouble, but it sounds like Ford’s knee was an issue throughout the season. The 29-year-old defender said he “feels great” months later.

I’m able to actually explode off of this knee,” said Ford, who finished with 6.5 sacks last season. “Thinking back on it, I can’t believe I played a whole season on it. And we knew at the end of the day what we had to do — (it) had to be surgical. But I didn’t want to miss the season. We had too much going on. I didn’t want to miss that. It’s in the bag now. I’m confident in that.

Here is the latest from the NFC West, shifting to some Seahawks defensive line matters:

  • Although he has most recently been connected to the Browns and Titans, Jadeveon Clowney remains on the Seahawks‘ radar. Clowney’s most recent team remains interested in a reunion, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. But, as has been the case throughout, the Seahawks appear to be hoping Clowney will drop his asking price. Clowney already did so earlier this offseason, but based on his 2 1/2-month free agency stay, the former No. 1 overall pick appears to still be asking for more than teams are willing to pay.
  • L.J. Collier did not accomplish much on the field during his rookie season, playing only 152 defensive snaps and making just three tackles. Collier, however, suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason and said he may have rushed back from the injury. The TCU product is healthy now as training camp approaches (Twitter links via Condotta). The Seahawks plan to give Collier a shot to play a Michael Bennett-type role in their defense. Collier is slated to work at both defensive end and D-tackle, Condotta adds (on Twitter).
  • The Cardinals have not made a strong effort to lock up Patrick Peterson on another extension, but the contract-year cornerback said he still wants to play his entire career in Arizona.
  • Conversely, Rams No. 1 corner Jalen Ramsey received a strong endorsement from his head coach about both his future with the Rams and ability to reset his position’s market.

John Lynch On Draft, Trades, Staley

With the draft approaching, 49ers general manager John Lynch conducted a teleconference with the local media Monday where he revealed several interesting nuggets. When asked about a report from earlier today that he was shopping veterans Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford, Jaquiski Tartt, and Marquise Goodwin, Lynch denied the first three but acknowledged the fourth.

Marquise is the one guy out of that group that you mentioned where there’s active discussions going on,” Lynch said, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports.The other guys, we love and are really looking forward to playing with moving forward.” It hasn’t been any secret they’ve been looking to trade Goodwin, and we heard last month they’d likely have to end up cutting him. However Lynch claimed there has been legit interest, saying a Goodwin deal “came close a couple of times” this offseason. Goodwin had a career year with San Francisco in 2017 with 962 yards, but injuries sapped his effectiveness and in 2019 he had only 186.

Also late last month we heard longtime left tackle Joe Staley wasn’t necessarily committed to playing in 2020, although Lynch assuaged some of those fears. “We’ve heard nothing that would lead us to believe that Joe is not going to play. So we’re encouraged with that. We’ll see where that goes,” he said. While that still is far from ironclad, it looks like Staley returning for a 14th season is a good bet.

The 49ers hold the 13th and 31st picks in the draft, and there has been speculation they’ll look to trade down since they currently don’t have any selections in the second, third, or fourth-rounds. Lynch confirmed he has talked to teams about potentially trading both picks, per a Maiocco tweet.

However, he said he’d stand pat at 13 if the team could land a “difference maker.” Lynch said that he and head coach Kyle Shanahan have so far identified six players they’d draft with the 13th pick before opting to trade down, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.