Dontae Johnson

49ers’ Ahkello Witherspoon To Miss Time

The 49ers’ cornerback shuffle continues. In addition to placing Richard Sherman on injured reserve with a leg injury, the Niners also announced that fellow corner Ahkello Witherspoon has entered the concussion protocol. To replenish the group, the Niners have promoted Dontae Johnson from the practice squad to the active roster. And, to replace Johnson on the practice squad, they’ve signed former Steelers fifth-round pick Brian Allen

[RELATED: 49ers Place Richard Sherman On IR]

Now, the Niners are without their leading outside cornerback and one of their top reserve CBs. Jason Verrett figures to start opposite of Emmanuel Moseley for the time being with K’Waun Williams continuing to serve as the slot man. Beyond that, the Niners will lean on Dontae Johnson as the first corner off the bench and hope that they won’t be hit with any more CB injuries.

In other Niners news, they’ve added veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu on a one-year deal. On the other side of the ball, they’ve decided to pass on Ezekiel Ansah yet again after their second meeting with the defensive lineman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves. Many of these roster decisions involve practice squad promotions. Under the new CBA, teams are permitted to promote two P-squad players without corresponding roster moves per week. Teams can carry 55 players on their rosters for game days and can have up to 48 active.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Promoted: RB Nathan Cottrell, TE Ben Ellefson

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: DB Nate Brooks

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Johnathan Cyprien, Dion Jordan Land On 49ers’ Practice Squad

A 71-game starter throughout a seven-year career, Johnathan Cyprien expressed skepticism about joining the 49ers’ practice squad recently. Kyle Shanahan expressed intrigue about the opportunity to carry up to six experienced players on his 2020 practice squad. But the 49ers made the longtime safety one of their cuts Saturday, and he changed his tune.

Cyprien, 30, agreed to join San Francisco’s practice squad. He will make $12K per week for each week he is on the 49ers’ P-squad. Were he to be promoted to the active roster, that rate would change to at least the veteran minimum.

Cyprien was a full-time Jaguars starter for four seasons, from 2013-16, and started 10 games for the 2017 Titans. He has not been a regular first-stringer since, however. He will join former Bears top-10 pick Dion Jordan and Kevin White on the 49ers’ P-squad.

San Francisco signed White recently, but he did not make the active roster. The 49ers added Jordan this offseason as well. The former No. 3 overall pick played rotational roles with the Seahawks and Raiders over the past three seasons. While suspensions have defined the defensive end’s career, he will have another chance to stay with a team — albeit in unusual fashion.

Here is the 49ers’ full practice squad:

49ers Cut Dion Jordan, Kevin White

On Saturday, the 49ers put a pair of former first-round notables on the curb. Defensive end Dion Jordan and Kevin White were dropped from the roster as a part of the club’s 20+ cuts on Saturday. 

Jordan’s NFL career has taken some odd turns, to say the least. After being selected No. 3 overall by the Dolphins, Jordan did little to justify his pre-draft hype. After some underwhelming seasons, missed seasons, and a number of suspensions, Jordan found his way to the Seahawks in 2017. In 2018, he showed some promise as a rotational piece, and he parlayed that into a one-year deal with the Raiders. He hooked on with the Niners in early August, but he didn’t get to stay for long.

White, a former No. 7 overall pick of the Bears, came out of West Virginia with tons of hype. Over the last five years, injuries have limited him to just 14 games. The Niners have been decimated by injuries at wide receiver, but they still didn’t see enough out of White’s ~1 week audition to keep him. For his career, White has 25 catches for 285 yards and zero touchdowns.

Here’s the full rundown of the 49ers’ cuts:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Re-Sign Jason Verrett, Dontae Johnson

The 49ers have re-signed cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson to one-year deals, the club announced today.

Verrett, 28, has dealt with myriad injury issues throughout his career, and those health questions popped up again in 2019. Signed to a one-year, $1.5MM pact with San Francisco, Verrett appeared in just one game before being placed on injured reserve with an ankle ailment. Although there was some thought that he’d be able to return later in the season, Verrett remained on IR through the 49ers’ postseason run.

A first-round pick by the Chargers in the 2014 draft, Verrett has been outstanding when healthy. In 2015, for example, Verrett made 14 starts for San Diego and earned a Pro Bowl nod. However, that 2015 campaign represents the only season in which the TCU product has appeared in more six games. He’s only played in six total games since the start of the 2016 season.

Johnson, meanwhile, was Verrett’s direct replacement when the latter went on IR in 2019. San Francisco’s relationship with Johnson goes back far further than last season, however — Johnson was a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2014 and will now start his fourth stint with the club. He’s also spent time with the Seahawks, Bills, Cardinals, Chiefs, and Chargers. Johnson, 28, started all 16 games for San Francisco in 2017, but has largely been a special-teamer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Sign CB Dontae Johnson, WR Jordan Matthews

With Richard Sherman likely to miss multiple games, the 49ers have made a move to bolster their CB depth. NFL Insider Adam Caplan reports that San Francisco is re-signing veteran corner Dontae Johnson (Twitter link).

Johnson and the 49ers are quite familiar with each other at this point. The Niners selected the NC State product in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and he was a full-time starter for the club as recently as 2017. But he has become something of a nomad, and in 2019 alone, he’s spent time with the Chiefs, Chargers, and 49ers. He played in two games for the Chargers before being cut, and San Francisco promptly scooped him up. He primarily served as a special teams contributor in his five games with the 49ers before they cut him last month.

He may see a little more action on the defensive side of the ball for the next couple of weeks, but it would still be surprising to see him get a ton of snaps. Meanwhile, fellow corner Jason Verrett, who has been on IR since Week 4, is eligible to return if the 49ers want to open his practice window.

After the Johnson signing was reported, we learned that the 49ers are also reuniting with WR Jordan Matthews, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic (via Twitter). Matthews signed a one-year, $1.8MM contract with the team this offseason, though he did not survive final cuts. He was brought back to San Francisco in early October but played in just one game and did not record a catch. He then caught on with Philadelphia and played in two games for the WR-needy Eagles before they parted ways with him.

The 49ers put Marquise Goodwin on IR yesterday, so Matthews will take his roster spot, but as the sixth WR on the roster, he’s unlikely to see much playing time. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that the team formally placed Weston Richburg on IR, opening up space for Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Place Jason Verrett On IR

Another Jason Verrett IR trip will commence. The 49ers placed the veteran cornerback on IR and will reunite with corner Dontae Johnson.

Verrett played in one game with the 49ers. This will be the third straight season he will have landed on IR after playing in one or fewer games. The former first-round pick has played in two games since the start of the 2017 season. The ex-Charger defender tore an Achilles’ tendon last year, missing the entire 2018 season, and has dealt with ankle and knee trouble as a 49er. He ran into the knee issue during his 49ers debut — Week 3 against the Steelers.

He signed a one-year, $1.5MM deal, but his second-chance opportunity has not gone well. The 28-year-old Fairfield, Calif., native has displayed promise in his career but has played more than six games in a season once since going off the board at No. 25 in 2014. In that season, 2015, Verrett made the Pro Bowl.

While the TCU alum profiles as an IR-return candidate, with Matt Barrows of The Athletic noting the 49ers are “holding out hope” he can come back in 2019 (subscription required), this is yet another bad sign his comeback will take off. He played only four defensive snaps in his 49ers debut.

This will be Johnson’s third stint as a 49er and fourth contract of 2019. The former San Francisco cog who was a full-time 49ers starter as recently as 2017 has become an NFL nomad. In 2019 alone, he’s spent time with the Chiefs, 49ers and Chargers, playing in two Los Angeles games. The Bolts cut him to make room for Melvin Gordon on their active roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Activate Melvin Gordon

With Melvin Gordon looking likelier to make his debut earlier than expected, the Chargers took the official step by activating him in advance of their Week 4 game against the Dolphins.

The team announced the activation, along with the promotion of wide receiver Andre Patton from their practice squad. The Bolts waived cornerback Dontae Johnson and defensive end Chris Peace to make room on the 53-man roster.

Los Angeles’ initial Gordon plan was for a Week 5 debut, but with Justin Jackson out with a calf injury, Gordon is expected to play in a limited capacity. This is indeed the plan, per USA Today’s Mike Jones (on Twitter). The Bolts pulled a contract offer off the table and said they would not negotiate with Gordon until after the season, which stands to push the two-time Pro Bowler to free agency. But for now, the fifth-year running back will be positioned to help his team move to .500 and re-route its season.

Gordon will team with Austin Ekeler against the woeful Dolphins, who are 14.5-point home underdogs. This duo combined for more than 2,300 scrimmage yards last season. Anthony Lynn confirmed Gordon will return to his starting role soon, but on Sunday, the Chargers will likely keep Ekeler in the lead role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers Place Trevor Williams On IR

The Chargers swapped out cornerbacks Wednesday, signing Dontae Johnson and placing Trevor Williams on IR. Williams represents the latest injury loss for the again-malady-plagued Bolts.

Williams was looking to bounce back from an injury-riddled 2018 campaign, where he missed seven games due to a knee injury. The Chargers tendered Williams as an RFA back in March, but a quadriceps injury limited him and will force him to IR. A UDFA out of Penn State, Williams started 15 Chargers games in 2017.

The fourth-year defender must miss a minimum of eight games before potentially returning, though one of the Bolts’ two IR-return spots is essentially spoken for. Derwin James is expected to return at some point in the regular season’s second half.

A 2014 49ers fourth-round pick, Johnson spent four years in San Francisco. He played in 63 games (22 starts) for the 49ers and caught on with three teams — the Seahawks, Bills and Cardinals — last year but did not see game action. Johnson returned to the 49ers for camp this year, but despite a three-interception preseason, he did not make their 53-man roster.

Chargers Work Out TEs Will Tye, Ben Koyack

Hunter Henry‘s latest injury represents yet another early-season setback for perhaps the NFL’s clubhouse leaders for this type of obstacle. The Chargers are at work trying to add to their tight end contingent.

In addition to auditioning Luke Willson, the Bolts brought in veterans Will Tye and Ben Koyack, per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

A former Giant, Tye last played in 2017. Koyack, a seventh-round Jaguars pick in 2016, has not caught a pass since the 2017 season. Tye, however, surpassed 40 receptions with the 2015 and ’16 Giants editions. The Chargers have Virgil Green and third-year UDFA Sean Culkin on their roster. The team has yet to place Henry on IR, though his timetable may end up requiring that — as it did last year.

Another Antonio Gates reunion has yet to be reported as a possible Bolts plan of action, but that would be a natural fit given the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer’s experience with the franchise and rapport with Philip Rivers. The Chargers brought back Gates last year after Henry’s ACL tear, and Henry returned in time for Los Angeles’ divisional playoff game.

The Bolts also worked out defensive backs Dontae Johnson and Tevaughn Campbell, along with wide receiver Anthony Johnson.