September 25th, 2021 at 3:49pm CST by Sam Robinson
The 49ers’ running back carousel keeps spinning. Kerryon Johnson will be the latest to move up to the team’s active roster, and he will replaceJaMycal Hasty.
Signed to San Francisco’s practice squad last week, Johnson will rise to the 49ers’ 55-man gameday roster. Hasty suffered a high ankle sprain in the 49ers’ Week 2 win. He will join Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson as unavailable San Francisco backs, with the former out for the season and the latter on the PUP list.
With Hasty out for at least three games, the 49ers do not have a halfback on their active roster who was with them last season. Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman are elsewhere. The 49ers also are not expected to have new starter Elijah Mitchell against the Packers. The sixth-round rookie is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Trey Sermon, however, has cleared concussion protocol and may be in line to start. The 49ers also claimed XFL alum Jacques Patrickoff the Bengals’ practice squad. Johnson will join these two and Trenton Cannon on the team’s active roster.
A former second-round pick, Johnson has been part of a few transactions this year. The Lions waived him this offseason, and the Eagles added him with a waiver claim. An injury settlement led to Johnson’s Philadelphia exit.
Knee trouble has plagued the former Auburn standout. Johnson did average 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie with the Lions, totaling 854 scrimmage yards in just 10 games. While Johnson stayed healthy in 2020, the Lions had effectively moved on by signing Adrian Peterson and drafting D’Andre Swift in Round 2. The 49ers will give the fourth-year veteran another chance.
September 14th, 2021 at 2:25pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Unfortunate news for 49ers fans. It appears running back Raheem Mostert won’t be returning in a couple of months after all. Instead, Mostert will have surgery on his knee that will sideline him for the rest of the season, he announced himself on Twitter.
In a responsive move, the 49ers will be signing free agent running back Kerryon Johnsonto their practice squad, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Johnson, a 2018 second-round pick of the Lions, was cut by the Eagles last month. He also visited with the Raiders last week, and is still only 24. Johnson operated as the Lions’ lead back for his first two years in the league, but took a backseat to D’Andre Swift last year and was soon jettisoned.
Mostert says that he weighed his options and ultimately determined this was the best course of action. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had said yesterday that Mostert would only undergo a scope for chipped knee cartilage, and that he would return in about eight weeks. He’ll instead have cartilage repair surgery that will have a six-month recovery, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. That should at least give him plenty of time to be 100 percent for the start of 2022.
It looks like the backfield will now be Elijah Mitchell‘s to lead going forward. Mitchell got 19 carries in the 49ers’ win over the Lions after Mostert went down, turning them into 104 yards and a touchdown. Fourth-round rookie Trey Sermon, who was a healthy scratch in Week 1, could get a crack at some point as well.
It’s a tough blow for Mostert, who has been an extremely effective runner when healthy but has struggled to stay on the field. He’s averaged a ridiculous 5.7 yards per carry on 284 career attempts, but injuries limited him to eight games last year and held him back in prior years as well. It’s especially tough considering Mostert is in a contract year, and will be an unrestricted free agent this spring.
It’ll be very interesting to see what kind of contract he lands in free agency. On the one hand he’s been remarkably efficient the past few years, but on the other hand has been plagued by injuries and has played in Shanahan’s system, in which virtually every running back seemingly thrives.
September 8th, 2021 at 2:41pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Raiders are apparently serious about looking for veteran running back help. We heard yesterday that Las Vegas brought in free agent rusher D’Onta Foreman, and he apparently wasn’t the only one.
The Raiders also hosted Kerryon Johnson yesterday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. It’s the first we’ve heard of Johnson since he was cut by the Eagles with an injury settlement back on August 26th. The 43rd overall pick of the 2018 draft by the Lions, Johnson’s stock has dropped sharply the past couple years. He shined as a rookie, carrying the ball 118 times for 641 yards (5.4 YPC) in 10 games while adding 32 catches.
He was Detroit’s starter in 2019, but missed eight games due to injury. After undergoing knee surgery he quickly fell out of favor with the team, and was buried behind D’Andre Swift on the depth chart. He played in all 16 games in 2020, but got only 52 carries. Waived back in May, he was promptly claimed off waivers by Philly.
He then got hurt in camp with the Eagles, and found himself cut once again. Johnson only turned 24 in June, so he shouldn’t be out of chances by now. The Raiders are a bit thin in their backfield with Jalen Richard on injured reserve, which explains their interest.
Kerryon Johnson is a free man. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Eagles have waived the veteran running back from IR with an injury settlement. This means Johnson is now free to sign elsewhere.
The former second-round pick was waived by the Lions earlier this offseason, and he was quickly scooped up by the Eagles. The 24-year-old was expected to have some kind of role behind Miles Sanders, but a knee injury quickly derailed those plans. Johnson suffered the injury earlier this month, and after getting waived by the organization, he reverted to Philly’s IR.
Had Johnson remained on IR through the start of the regular season, he would have been ineligible to play for the Eagles this season. With today’s move, Johnson will now have an opportunity to play elsewhere in 2021.
Considering the running back’s youth and experience, there’s a good chance he’ll find another gig. Johnson spent three seasons in Detroit, including a rookie campaign where he collected 854 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns. However, he struggled to match that production in 2019 and 2020, and he was limited by injuries in both 2018 and 2019 (and, now, 2021).
Kerryon Johnson has hit a career crossroads. The Eagles became the second team to waive the former second-round pick, doing so with an injury designation on Tuesday, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Twitter).
The veteran running back suffered a knee injury in practice, Tim McManus of ESPN.com tweets. This sidetracked a possible role behind Miles Sanders. If Johnson clears waivers, he will revert to Philadelphia’s IR list. That taking place usually precedes an injury settlement, which would send the ex-Lions Round 2 draft choice to free agency.
The Eagles stopped Johnson from hitting free agency in early May, beating the Dolphins to the punch with a waiver claim. Johnson then agreed to a pay cut. While the Dolphins could still loom, with their running back room not oozing depth, the severity of Johnson’s knee malady will determine how soon another team gives him a shot.
One of several Lions second-round running back picks in the 2010s, Johnson flashed as a rookie by averaging 5.4 yards per carry and totaling 854 from scrimmage in 10 games. The first of his knee injuries stalled that momentum. Nothing the Auburn product has shown since has lived up to that rookie-year performance, leading the Lions to draft D’Andre Swift in last year’s second round and sign Jamaal Williams this year. Boston Scott remains Sanders’ top backup in Philly, with the team also rostering Jordan Howard and drafting Kenneth Gainwell in the fifth round.
In moving their roster down to the 85-man limit by the Tuesday deadline, the Eagles also waived tackle Casey Tucker and cut center Luke Juriga with an injury designation.
Johnson was set to earn about $1.4MM in the final year of his rookie contract. Now, with the restructure, he’ll make the veteran’s minimum of $920K. Meanwhile, the Eagles have an extra $446K to work with this year. His deal includes $0 in guaranteed cash, so there’s no risk involved for the Birds.
Johnson showed some promise as a rookie, averaging 5.4 yards per tote in 2018 and scoring four touchdowns in ten games. However, knee injuries sidetracked him from that point forward. In 2019, he hit the IR twice. Johnson didn’t miss time last year, but he lost ground to D’Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson.
Now, Johnson will be tasked with finding a spot in a crowded RB room. That means practicing/competing with the likes of Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, and Kenny Gainwell. The Eagles should be fairly set in the backfield, especially with the former second-round pick in the fold. They’ve also got a little bit of cash to upgrade elsewhere — about $8.3MM, per the NFLPA’s records.
The Dolphins submitted a claim for Kerryon Johnson, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Unfortunately for them, the Eagles also submitted a claim for the former Lions running back, and they had the higher priority.
Miami has already invested a bit in the RB group this year, adding Malcolm Brown in free agency and drafting Gerrid Doaks in the seventh round. Meanwhile, they already have Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, Patrick Laird, and Jordan Scarlett on the roster. Their move for Johnson indicates that they could still explore backfield options between now and the fall.
Johnson, a 2018 second-round pick, was been slowed by injuries in his early seasons. However, he returned to play in 16 games last year. The Eagles hope that he can stay on the field and get back to his rookie form, when he averaged 5.4 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns, up until the first of two serious knee injuries.