Joe Jones

West Rumors: 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos

It’s been a long offseason for the 49ers, who have seen numerous key players deal with injuries throughout the spring and summer. Add more to the list of San Francisco talents set to miss the preseason. Jerick McKinnon and Weston Richburg are both unlikely to play until Week 1. Given $18MM guaranteed, McKinnon is still dealing with knee trouble after missing all of last season with an ACL tear. The sixth-year running back received a platelet-rich plasma injection on his knee and is expected to miss the 49ers’ August slate, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The team activated him from the PUP list Tuesday, but Kyle Shanahan said his prized 2018 offseason signing experienced significant soreness after going through individual drills the past two days. Richburg, who remains on the active/PUP list after a January knee surgery, is being targeted a Week 1 return. So are Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett. The 49ers hope Dee Ford, who received a PRP injection on his injured knee, can play by the team’s dress-rehearsal preseason game.

Here’s the latest West news from outside of San Francisco:

  • With the Seahawks in desperate need of available pass rushers come Week 1, more blitz opportunities may be on tap. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks (should he be on the field) are in position to be used more as rushers. “If we can play really good D, it’s going to be because of Bobby and K.J. and Mychal and the guys in the linebacker spot. We’re going to utilize them as much as we can to be a factor in all aspects, run and pass [defense],” Pete Carroll said, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. “Those guys are really good pass defenders, and they love coming off the edge too. We’ll plan on using those guys a lot.” After Frank Clark‘s departure, the Seahawks have Ziggy Ansah and L.J. Collier injured. Jarran Reed incurred a six-game suspension. Wright has not collected a sack since 2016, when he had four. Wagner had 4.5 that year but recorded 2.5 since.
  • Theo Riddick will earn a $2MM 2019 base salary with the Broncos, and $750K of it is fully guaranteed, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Another $250K will be available in per-game roster bonuses. Overall, Riddick signed for $2.5MM with $1MM guaranteed. This makes it a near-certainty Riddick will appear on the Broncos’ 53-man roster in September.
  • The Broncos are already down Todd Davis for multiple weeks; they will be without one of his top backups for longer than that. Joe Jones suffered a triceps injury this week, and a second opinion delivered more clarity on the inside linebacker’s timeline. Jones will be out between six and eight weeks, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. But he will not need surgery, which could increase his chances of making the Broncos. If Jones hits IR before the Broncos finalize their 53-man unit, the special-teamer will be ineligible to return for them this season.
  • Returning 2018 fifth-round pick Johnny Townsend would seemingly be in line to keep his job as the Raiders‘ punter, but Jon Gruden said rookie UDFA A.J. Cole has put himself in the conversation to unseat the incumbent, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Cole would be an option to handle Raiders kickoffs as well.

Injury Notes: Wagner, Sheard, Cardinals

There’s some relatively good news on the injury front out of Denver. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that Broncos special teams ace Joe Jones won’t need surgery for a partially torn tricep. Still, the injury will keep the 25-year-old off the field for several weeks. Jones suffered the injury during his team’s preseason victory over the Falcons.

While Jones is known for his special teams prowess, the team could have used him for preseason linebacker depth. As The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala points out on TwitterTodd Davis is currently sidelined with a calf injury, and teammate Josey Jewell got examined today after he “tweaked his side.”

As a result of all the injuries, the team’s current depth at inside linebacker is down to four players: Alexander Johnson, Keishawn Bierria, Josh Watson and Joe Dineen.

Let’s take a look at some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll seemed to imply that Bobby Wagner had undergone some kind of procedure, as ESPN’s Brady Henderson writes. Carroll told reporters that the linebacker is “going to get a little break here just to get right,” although he didn’t specify where on the body the treatment took place. Wagner apparently had the procedure completed now so he could make it back to the field by the end of the preseason. The 29-year-old inked a three-year, $54MM deal early in training camp.
  • Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard recently underwent a knee procedure that will keep him out indefinitely, writes Mike Chappell of CBS 4 in Indy. The 30-year-old was seen at the first day of practice in late July, but swelling in his knee has sidelined him since. Sheard started all 32 games for the Colts over the past two seasons, including a 2018 campaign where he had 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Al-Quadin Muhammad will take on a bigger role with Sheard on the shelf.
  • Cardinals right tackle Marcus Gilbert left today’s practice with an injury, tweets ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. This further depleted the team’s offensive line corps, as left guard Justin Pugh and left tackle D.J. Humphries are both out of practice. Korey Cunningham and Rees Odhiambo have slid up the depth chart for the time being.