George Kittle

49ers To Place George Kittle On IR

Listed as doubtful for Week 5, George Kittle is now certain to miss Trey Lance‘s starting debut and at least the following two games. The 49ers’ All-Pro tight end will head to IR, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Kittle is battling a calf injury, and although he played through the ailment last week, he did not practice this week. The 49ers hope Kittle will be ready to go when he is first eligible to come off IR in Week 8.

This represents a blow for the 49ers’ offense and continues both a bad injury stretch for Kittle and the team. Kittle suffered a knee sprain and a fractured foot last season, which halted the star tight end’s progress after he had strung together back-to-back Pro Bowl slates. Although it is early, Kittle has run into extensive health trouble since signing his big-ticket extension last year.

In 2018, Kittle broke the tight end receiving yardage record by breaking through with a dominant 1,377-yard campaign. The former fifth-round pick did so despite Jimmy Garoppolo missing most of that season. With Garoppolo back in the fold in 2019, Kittle played an essential role in the 49ers’ run to Super Bowl LIV by totaling 1,053 yards and five touchdowns.

After signing Jordan Reed last year, the 49ers have less experienced backups to fill in for Kittle going forward. Ross Dwelley and 2020 sixth-round pick Charlie Woerner reside as the other tight ends on San Francisco’s roster.

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49ers To Start Trey Lance In Week 5

Jimmy Garoppolo‘s calf injury will keep him out of the 49ers’ game against the Cardinals. Trey Lance will make his debut as an NFL starter, Kyle Shanahan confirmed Friday.

This was the likely course of action for the 49ers, but the team had kept the door open for Garoppolo to come back after missing just a half. Instead, Lance will take the reins in a key NFC West matchup. Whether this will be a long-term transition or an injury-replacement stay will hinge on how Lance fares, though the runway appears clear for the atypical quarterback prospect.

The 49ers traded up nine spots to land Lance at No. 3, sacrificing two future first-round picks to do so. The team was more closely linked to Mac Jones than Lance going into the draft, and a recent report indicated the 49ers’ Jones interest spurred the trade. But the team decided on Lance, a one-year starter from Division I-FCS North Dakota State.

Lance, 21, has looked expectedly raw as a passer but has assisted the 49ers as a backup, throwing a touchdown pass in Week 1 and impressing as a runner early on. It should be expected Shanahan’s game plan will feature Lance’s dual-threat skill set in Arizona, after the talented rookie took over for Garoppolo against Seattle last week. Lance completed 9 of 18 passes against the Seahawks and rushed for 41 yards during his first half of steady NFL action.

Lance is unlikely to have the benefit of targeting one of the NFL’s best tight ends in his first start. The 49ers have listed George Kittle as doubtful to go with a calf injury. Kittle suffered the calf malady against the Packers but suited up for Week 4. After not practicing this week, the Pro Bowler does not have a good chance of playing Sunday.

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49ers To Shut Down Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel; George Kittle Return In Play

Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel will see their injury-marred seasons end early. The 49ers are shutting down both players with two games to go, Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman).

Both ran into multiple injuries this year, causing the second-year starters to miss significant time in what became a widespread injury-plagued 49ers season. Each player is under contract beyond this season, with Samuel’s rookie deal running through 2022 and Mostert’s pact expiring after next season.

The 49ers, however, are not opting to shut down all their injured skill-position talents. George Kittle has returned to practice, and Inman notes the All-Pro tight end is on pace to return against the Cardinals. Kittle, who has not played since suffering a foot fracture Nov. 1, would catch passes from his former college quarterback if he does return. The 49ers will start Iowa alum C.J. Beathard over Nick Mullens on Saturday.

A 2017 third-round pick, Beathard has worked as San Francisco’s third-string quarterback for much of his NFL tenure. His contract expires at season’s end. Mullens suffered what is believed to be ligament damage in his elbow against the Cowboys, Inman notes, and will likely need Tommy John surgery. He is due to be a restricted free agent in March.

Kittle will only play if he’s 100%, per Shanahan, who noted the 49ers will not shut down their star tight end if he is fully healthy — despite having been eliminated from playoff contention last week.

Mostert left Sunday’s game because of ankle trouble. The special-teamer-turned-RB1 sustained an MCL sprain in September and injured his ankle upon returning in October. Mostert, 28, was not able to surmount the latter malady. Mostert did end a second straight season averaging at least 5.0 yards per carry, however, though he only managed 104 totes this season. Samuel sustained a foot fracture before training camp but was able to return fairly early in the season. However, a hamstring injury hampered Samuel shortly after he returned. The 2019 second-round pick caught 33 passes for 391 yards over seven games this season.

Jimmy Garoppolo will resume practicing this week, but Shanahan said (via Inman) he would be surprised if doctors deem San Francisco’s QB1 100%. It is likely Beathard will handle the 49ers’ final two starts at quarterback. A high ankle sprain sidelined Garoppolo at multiple junctures this season. He played in just six games. Shanahan said last month the plan is for Garoppolo to return as the team’s starter in 2021, though the franchise will surely explore other options this offseason. Two years remain on Garoppolo’s contract, one the 49ers can move without incurring much dead money.

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Latest On 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle

We might not see Jimmy Garoppolo or George Kittle back on the field this year. After last night’s loss to the Bills, Kyle Shanahan indicated that both players have a long way to go as they work to bounce back from injury.

Those guys are working their tails off right now,” Shanahan said (via Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee). “But they’re still part of the rehab, just trying to get back and be a part of this, but it’s not anytime soon right now.”

GM John Lynch was a little more optimistic, saying he’s “hopeful” that Garoppolo and Kittle will be back by season’s end (Twitter link via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area).

The Niners are still technically in the playoff mix, but their odds have dwindled significantly. At 5-7, the reigning NFC champs will need wins against the Washington Football Team, Cowboys, Cardinals, and Seahawks. The double dose of NFC East opponents should help, but if San Francisco should fall completely out of contention, it wouldn’t make sense for the club to rush key players back from injury.

Injuries have ravaged the Niners on both sides of the ball this year. On the plus side, they have returned star cornerback Richard Sherman, though he’s not so sure about his future beyond 2020.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 11/5/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Matt Judon

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed off Raiders’ practice squad: CB Dylan Mabin

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: S Marcus Epps; Epps tested positive for the coronavirus but is believed to be asymptomatic, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link)

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo Both To Miss Extended Time

The 49ers just can’t seem to catch a break. Already one of the most banged up teams in the league, San Francisco will now be without two of their most important pieces moving forward.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo aggravated the high ankle sprain that has been bothering him for weeks during their loss to the Seahawks Sunday and is expected to miss “an extended period of time,” sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Meanwhile Kittle has a “small fracture” in his foot and will also miss extended time, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Garoppolo is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks and “possibly longer” if he ends up needing surgery, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

In a follow-up tweet, Rapoport noted that it’s unclear if Kittle will be able to return this season. Either way, it sounds like both are headed for a stint on injured reserve (minimum three-game absences). Kittle is expected to be out eight weeks, Schefter tweets. It would be hard for things to be much worse from an injury standpoint for the defending NFC champions right now.

The 49ers have already dealt with significant injuries to key players like Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Richard Sherman, and many others. Nick Mullens played well in relief of Jimmy G agains Seattle and will presumably start moving forward, although he was temporarily replaced by C.J. Beathard as the number two a couple of weeks ago.

Kittle is one of the league’s best players and critical in both the run and pass games. He missed a couple of contests earlier this year with a knee injury. The NFC West is tougher than ever, and at 4-4 San Fran is in danger of slipping out of the playoff race. Their trade of Kwon Alexander for a draft pick Monday could signal they realize 2020 isn’t their year. Kyle Shanahan has gotten it done under bad circumstances in the past, but he really has his work cut out for him now.

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George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo To Miss Week 3

The 49ers will be starting backups at nearly every non-offensive line position on offense against the Giants on Sunday. Despite George Kittle getting in three limited practices this week, the 49ers will hold their All-Pro tight end out.

Same goes for Jimmy Garoppolo, though San Francisco’s staring quarterback did not practice this week. The 49ers will play a game without their starting quarterback, their top two running backs from Super Bowl LIV, their No. 1 wide receiver and their recently extended tight end.

Kittle is on his way back from a knee sprain, and the three limited practices point to the 49ers having him ready to go against the Eagles in Week 4. But the 27-year-old star pass catcher will miss two games for a second straight season.

Nick Mullens will start for Garoppolo, who ended up receiving better-than-expected news about his high ankle sprain, and a currently healthy Jordan Reed will line up as the 49ers’ first-string tight end at the same MetLife Stadium venue that further depleted the team’s depth chart.

The list of would-be 49ers starters/key contributors who will not be in uniform against the Giants: Garoppolo, Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, Weston Richburg, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, Dre Greenlaw and Richard Sherman.

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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.

49ers, TE George Kittle Agree To Extension

The 49ers and tight end George Kittle are in agreement on a five-year, $75MM extension, as Ian Rapoport and Michael Silver of NFL.com report (via Twitter). Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that $30MM is guaranteed at signing — including an $18MM signing bonus — and there are $40MM in total guarantees (Twitter link).

We had been hearing that this deal was expected to come together shortly, and that it would completely reset the tight end market. And it has done just that, as Kittle’s $15MM average annual value far outpaces the $10.5MM figure that Austin Hooper received just this year from the Browns. It also represents something of a halfway point between the former top of the TE market and the top of the WR market.

Still, given Kittle’s dominance as a receiver and blocker, there was plenty of speculation that his payday would come in a little higher. Indeed, some were projecting a six-year pact worth close to $100MM, but the 49ers managed to give out a historic contract while staying in their comfort zone. Kittle’s deal places him 12th among all pass catchers, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), though the guaranteed money is definitely a win for Kittle.

Since 2017, Kittle has recorded 2,945 receiving yards, the most of any tight end in his first three seasons. And, since 2018, Kittle’s had 1,464 yards after the catch, more than any other player in the league not named Christian McCaffrey. He earned his second straight Pro Bowl bid in 2019 and his first (but probably not only) First Team All-Pro selection. The advanced metrics love him just as much, as the Iowa product graded out as Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated player at any position last year.

In short, the 26-year-old (27 in October) has established himself as one of the best offensive weapons in the game, and with WR1 Deebo Samuel expected to miss time with a foot injury, San Francisco may be leaning on Kittle even more heavily to start the 2020 season. The team may now turn its attention to other 2021 free agents like Kyle Juszczyk and Richard Sherman.

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