Jerick McKinnon

Chiefs To Sign RB Jerick McKinnon

Despite injuries marring his 49ers tenure, Jerick McKinnon will receive another opportunity. The Chiefs are signing the veteran running back, Peter Schrager of tweets.

McKinnon, 28, spent the past three seasons with the 49ers but only played in one of them. Knee injuries sidelined the former Vikings draftee throughout the 2018 and ’19 seasons. However, McKinnon played in all 16 49ers games last season — albeit in a limited role.

He will join a Chiefs backfield headlined by 2020 first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs signed Le’Veon Bell midway through last season; Bell remains a free agent. The Chiefs also released Damien Williams, their 2019 starter who opted out in 2020. Multiyear Chiefs backups Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson remain under contract, however.

Amid a slew of injuries to strike the 49ers backfield, McKinnon totaled 572 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns in 16 games. He was the only one of San Francisco’s top five halfbacks to play all 16 contests, though the team gave him only 114 touches.

McKinnon totaled 991 yards from scrimmage in his final Vikings season, leading the 49ers to give him top-five (at the time) running back money in March 2018. But knee injuries forced the team to redo McKinnon’s deal last year. The former college quarterback will now move on.

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Latest On Jerick McKinnon’s Recovery

After not seeing a snap of regular season action in either of his first two years with the 49ers, running back Jerick McKinnon was rumored as a potential cap casualty a few months ago. But in March, he agreed to a pay cut to stay with the club, and now that San Francisco has traded Matt Breida to the Dolphins, McKinnon once again has a good opportunity to be a major contributor in the Niners’ offense.

It appears as if 2019 breakout performer Raheem Mostert will head up the team’s RB depth chart, with Tevin Coleman and Jeff Wilson also in the mix. But McKinnon’s abilities as a receiver out of the backfield and his precise route-running — which prompted head coach Kyle Shanahan to push for him in the 2018 offseason — would be a welcome addition to the 49ers’ attack, and the team is cautiously optimistic that he can finally make an impact.

“We’re pulling for Jerick and it would be huge for us because we had a clear vision of what he could bring to us,” GM John Lynch recently said on the 49ers Insider Podcast (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area). “We thought he’d be excellent in terms of (being a receiver) — really, a tough guy to match up with in space. And our (coaches) are really good about putting our guys in space. So that would be tremendous for us.”

McKinnon tore his ACL prior to the 2018 season, and Maiocco says McKinnon was shelved for the 2019 campaign because the ACL graft did not fill back in as hoped. Instead, “Jet” needed to go under the knife again to pack the ACL graft with bone marrow from his hip.

The 28-year-old is reportedly making good progress in his recovery, but Lynch is tempering his expectations for the time being.

“I think there’s always that critical last juncture of a rehab where you go from running straight ahead and even trying to simulate some of the cutting that goes on at (running back), specifically,” Lynch said. “Then, you go play football and it becomes much more reactive. And that’s where he struggled. He’s continued to put in work. There are some positive signs that we’re on a better track.”

Of course, no one knows if training camp will unfold as normal this year, so we may not be able to accurately gauge McKinnon’s status until closer to September. But if he can perform anywhere close to the level the 49ers were hoping for when they signed him to a lucrative free agent deal, the defending NFC champs will be that much harder to beat.

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49ers, Jerick McKinnon Restructure Contract

The 49ers and running back Jerick McKinnon agreed to restructure his contract, a source tells Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. McKinnon had been seen as a likely cap casualty. Instead, he will stay in San Francisco.

McKinnon is now signed through 2020, with Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio noting (via Twitter) the running back agreed to trim a year off his contract. The ex-Viking agreed to slash a lofty salary down to the veteran minimum, per Caplan, who adds that does not include the per-game roster bonuses the veteran would be in line to receive (Twitter link).

McKinnon will earn $910K in base salary and, thanks to a $4MM prorated signing bonus, count for $2.91MM against the 49ers’ 2020 cap, according to OverTheCap.

The Niners organization has long hoped to see what McKinnon could do in head coach Kyle Shanahan‘s offense. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch targetted McKinnon in the 2018 offseason, signing the versatile back to a four-year, $30MM contract. However, two seasons later, McKinnon has yet to take the field in a regular-season game for the 49ers.

After suffering a torn-ACL during practice prior to the 2018 season, another knee surgery cost McKinnon the 2019 season as well. When we last saw McKinnon in regular-season action, McKinnon was working as a scatback for the Vikings contributing off of handoffs and catching passes out of the backfield. In his final season in Minnesota, McKinnon received 201 touches (150 carries and 51 receptions) for 991 yards from scrimmage (570 rushing and 421 receiving) and 5 touchdowns (3 rushing and 2 receiving).

Under his original agreement, McKinnon was set to count $8.55MM against the salary cap in 2020 and San Francisco could have saved $4.55MM in cap space from releasing him (per Over the Cap). With Matt Breida entering free agency and Tevin Coleman remaining a possible cap casualty, keeping McKinnon in the fold at a lower number gives the Niners some added financial flexibility.

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49ers, Jerick McKinnon To Discuss Restructured Deal

49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters that the front office will meet with Jerick McKinnon’s agent this week to discuss the running back’s contract (via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows).

The two sides will be working towards some type of restructuring, but it sounds like McKinnon may have a bit of leverage. While the veteran is set to count $8.55MM against the cap next season, the team would be left with $4MM in dead money if they chose to cut him. In that case, it makes sense for the 49ers to retain the running back, although the organization will surely be seeking some monetary savings. For what it’s worth, the former third-rounder previously said he wants to stick with the 49ers.

McKinnon inked a four-year, $30MM deal with the 49ers back in 2018, but he’s yet to see the field for a regular season game with San Francisco. The 27-year-old tore his ACL prior to the 2018 campaign, and a setback shelved him for the 2019 season.

“We’d like nothing more than to see him actually on the field,” Lynch said. “It’s no fault of Jerick’s. It’s just the way it’s been. And I can tell you we admire the way he’s worked through the various issues that he’s had.”

If McKinnon does return next season, he’ll be joining a crowded depth chart. Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are both under contract, while Matt Breida (restricted free agent) and Jeff Wilson (exclusive rights free agent) could be retained.

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RB Jerick McKinnon Wants To Remain With 49ers

The 49ers haven’t exactly gotten a return on their investment when it comes to RB Jerick McKinnon. The club gave the former Viking a four-year, $30MM contract in March 2018, but a torn ACL cost him all of the 2018 season, and a separate knee ailment kept off the field for the entirety of the 2019 campaign, so he may never play a single snap for San Francisco.

However, we heard in December that the Niners are open to bringing the 27-year-old back in 2020, provided that he accepts a pay cut. He is due a $6.5MM salary next year, but the club could save $4.5MM against the cap by releasing him, and given the depth of its RB corps and the need to extend star players, a release would be quite tempting.

McKinnon fully appreciates the reality of his situation and is willing to work with the 49ers if it means he gets to return to the Bay Area next season. “I’m willing to do whatever,” McKinnon said (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of “The organization knows I want to be a part of this team, so when that time comes there will be a talk between both parties.”

McKinnon also said that the Niners have not yet informed him of their plans for him, but that will probably happen soon. Fellow RB Raheem Mostert was a revelation in 2019, racking up 5.6 yards per carry and eight TDs in the regular season, and he was even better in the playoffs. Restricted free agent Matt Breida was pretty effective as well, and the club will likely retain him via a multiyear pact or an RFA tender.

Tevin Coleman was decent in his first year with San Francisco, but the team could part ways with him and save $4.55MM against the cap while absorbing no dead money. Speculatively, if the 49ers feel good enough about McKinnon’s health, they could cut Coleman and return McKinnon — who is easily the best pass catcher of the bunch and who would therefore offer a nice complement to Mostert and Breida — at a reduced rate.

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49ers Rumors: McKinnon, Thomas, Jones

The latest on the 49ers, from Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports:

  • Running back Jerick McKinnon is highly unlikely to return at his scheduled $6.8MM rate, but the Niners would be willing to re-sign him on a cheaper deal, Maiocco hears. Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, and Tevin Coleman all offer catching ability, but Jet, when healthy, is the most agile of the bunch. McKinnon joined the 49ers on a four-year, $30MM contract before the 2018 season, but has yet to take a snap for SF thanks to knee injuries. In 2017, his final year with the Vikes, McKinnon enjoyed career highs in receptions (51) and receiving yards (421).
  • Maiocco does not expect the Niners to pick up Solomon Thomas‘ fifth-year option. It’s hard to argue – the former No. 3 overall pick would cost $15.3MM in 2021 via the option and he has been little more than a rotational player so far as a pro. To date, Thomas has just six sacks and no forced fumbles across three seasons.
  • Nose tackle D.J. Jones suffered damage to the ligaments connecting the tibia and fibula, Maiocco hears. The injury left the Niners with no choice but to place Jones on season-ending IR, since he had no realistic chance of recuperating in time for the Super Bowl, if the Niners qualify.

West Notes: Jacobs, Jordan, 49ers

The Raiders are not completely eliminated from playoff contention just yet, but it may be in the team’s best interests to shut down rookie RB Josh Jacobs for the final two games of the year. Jacobs, who has rushed for 1,150 yards on 4.8 yards-per-carry this year, has been battling a shoulder injury, and head coach Jon Gruden said that Jacobs had trouble getting his shoulder pads off yesterday (Twitter link via Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group).

Per Gruden, Jacobs’ status for Oakland’s last two games is in doubt. The Raiders finish up their final season in the Bay Area with divisional contests against the Chargers and Broncos.

Let’s round up a few more West-related items, starting with another note from the Silver-and-Black:

  • Dion Jordan, who signed with the Raiders in November after serving a 10-game suspension for a PED violation, has performed well in his first five games with his new team. Playing in a rotational role, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2013 draft has posted two sacks and has earned positive reviews from Gruden. Jordan will be a free agent at season’s end, and Gruden said the 29-year-old is playing his way into a new contract with the Raiders (Twitter link via McDonald).
  • No surprise here, but Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area does not believe the 49ers will use the franchise tag on Arik Armstead, which means that Armstead may be plying his trade elsewhere in 2020. Maiocco also believes that the team will cut running back Jerick McKinnon and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin during the offseason.
  • Seahawks DB Quandre Diggs has been a boon to Seattle’s defense after being acquired in an October trade with the Lions, but Diggs sprained his ankle in the team’s win over the Panthers on Sunday and will likely miss next week’s matchup against the Cardinals, as Ian Rapoport of tweets. It’s still too early to predict his status for Week 17, but given the potential magnitude of that bout with San Francisco, the Seahawks will want to make sure Diggs is as healthy as possible.

NFC West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams

49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has had some brutal luck in recent years. After landing a big contract from San Francisco last offseason, he tore an ACL in the preseason. He never fully recovered from the issue, and will miss the entire 2019 season after suffering a separate knee injury. The guaranteed money in his deal is up, which means it might be tough for him to stick. McKinnon is due $6.5MM in 2020, and even though the organization thinks very highly of him as a player and person, “there is no way the 49ers can pay him that money,” writes Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Maiocco hypothesizes that the 49ers “will try to work out a one-year deal in which he remains with the club at a greatly reduced price,” and that “if he declines, he will not be back.” Shockingly considering he signed a four-year, $30MM deal last offseason, it seems like there’s a good chance McKinnon never plays a snap for San Francisco. They still have a very deep backfield with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and Jeff Wilson Jr., so it’s obvious why they wouldn’t want to give McKinnon $6.5MM as he enters his age 28 season coming off two lost years.

Here’s more from the NFC West, as we await kickoff in the morning:

  • In the same piece, Maiocco writes about another member of the 49ers who might not be long for the team. C.J. Beathard lost the competition to be the team’s backup quarterback to Nick Mullens, but they’ve kept him on the roster. There was talk that San Francisco would try to trade one of their young backups this offseason, but Maiocco writes that they’ve tried and “there is no interest around the NFL in acquiring C.J. Beathard for the price the 49ers want in return.” Maiocco speculates that the team might eventually pull the plug and release Beathard outright if injuries pile up and they need the roster spot. Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick from Iowa, has started five games each of the past two seasons and has looked competent at times.
  • The Cardinals are still looking for their first win, and they just got dealt a tough injury blow. Promising second-year receiver Christian Kirk will miss their Week 5 game against the Bengals, and it sounds like he could be out even longer. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t rule out Kirk for the team’s Week 6 game against the Cardinals, but he did say the team wouldn’t rush him back, and that “it’s a long season,” per Darren Urban of the team’s official site (Twitter link). It’s too early to tell for sure, but Kingsbury using that type of language suggests they’re going to be pretty cautious. The 47th overall pick of last year’s draft, Kirk is dealing with an ankle injury.
  • The Rams dropped their second straight game on Thursday to fall to 3-2, and now a key player is banged up. Receiver Brandin Cooks was placed in the concussion protocol following the team’s loss to Seattle, head coach Sean McVay said Friday. McVay said Cooks was asymptomatic as of yesterday, but it’s still concerning given Cooks’ history with concussions. Thankfully for the Rams he has a few extra days to get cleared since they played a Thursday night game, but this is still a situation worth monitoring. Los Angeles relies on Cooks to stretch defenses vertically, and him missing anytime is the last thing a suddenly struggling Rams team needs.

49ers Notes: McKinnon, Ward, Verrett, Hurd

Jerick McKinnon‘s 49ers tenure may very well end without him ever taking a snap for San Francisco. The team placed the running back on injured reserve last week, ending his 2019 season before it could start. McKinnon tore an ACL just before the start of last season, and has had complications while recovering. McKinnon had another knee surgery earlier this week, but it turns out it was unrelated to his ACL, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. His ACL is apparently fine, which McKinnon said was “reassuring.”

Instead it was a separate issue in the same knee, although it’s not clear exactly what that issue is. He’ll miss his second straight season, but McKinnon still really wants to play for the 49ers. “I love this team,” he said. “That’s why I came here. I love the coaching staff, the whole organization, the Yorks, John (Lynch), Kyle (Shanahan), all the coaches. Coach (Bobby) Turner and everyone has been supportive — behind me, 100 percent, and there’s nothing more you can ask for.” McKinnon wants to be back, but it seems likely the team will want to move on. McKinnon, who signed a four-year $30MM deal last offseason, is scheduled to make $6.5MM in 2020. The 49ers still have a solid backfield with Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and others, so he’d likely have to take a significant pay-cut at the very least to be brought back.

Here’s more from San Francisco:

  • Their defense is going to be banged up in Week 1. Defensive end Dee Ford has been dealing with a nagging injury but is going to play, while fellow pass-rusher Nick Bosa and cornerback Jason Verrett are both questionable. Now they’ll be without starting safety Jimmie Ward, who had surgery after breaking a finger in Wednesday’s practice, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Ward has been ruled out for the team’s opener against Tampa Bay, although Barrows notes that he might be able to play with a cast on in Week 2. Second-year player Tarvarius Moore will start in his place.
  • Speaking of Verrett, the oft-injured corner received a nice chunk of change for making the team’s initial 53-man roster. Verrett got a $500K bonus for being on the active roster Week 1, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link). Verrett, a first-round pick of the Chargers’ back in 2014, signed a one-year deal with San Francisco earlier this offseason. Verrett has always been extremely talented and made the Pro Bowl back in 2015, but he’s appeared in just five games over the past three seasons. Verrett has already dealt with a torn ACL and Achilles in his young career, and he missed the entire preseason with an ankle injury.
  • Ward isn’t the only player they’ll be without in Week 1. Rookie receiver Jalen Hurd isn’t going to play against the Bucs and he could miss multiple games, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 49ers drafted Hurt 67th overall back in April, and he has the potential to turn into an intriguing weapon. Hurd rushed for nearly 3,000 yards in his college career as a running back and then transitioned to receiver, racking up 946 yards through the air in his senior season at Baylor. It should be interesting too see how Kyle Shanahan uses him, but unfortunately it looks like we might have to wait a few weeks for his debut as he deals with a back injury.

49ers To Place Jerick McKinnon On IR

The 49ers will place Jerick McKinnon on injured reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). At this moment, it’s unclear as to whether McKinnon could conceivably return during the season as an IR-DTR player.

San Francisco will, in fact, be without McKinnon for a second straight season. The 49ers are placing the running back on season-ending IR, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets

McKinnon’s surgically-repaired knee flared up in recent days, setting him back significantly. It’s an unfortunate chain of events for the former Vikings rusher, who was unable to suit up for the Niners last year to break in his lucrative free agent contract.

The 49ers inked McKinnon to a four-year $30MM contract in 2018, but a torn ACL wiped out his first would-be season in SF. It was a huge disappointment for the team and player alike – McKinnon flashed serious potential in Minnesota and many expected him to bust out big plays in the 49ers’ offense.

In 2017, his final year with the Vikes, McKinnon enjoyed career highs in receptions (51) and receiving yards (421). With capable hands and the athleticism to break out of early tackles, McKinnon offered the ability to go for long-distance runs and serve as a security blanket for Jimmy Garoppolo. Both players were knocked out by injuries in 2018, and McKinnon’s sideline stint will extend into at least part of 2019.

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