Kyle Shanahan

West Rumors: Raiders, 49ers, Ansah

Despite the Raiders parting ways with Reggie McKenzie late last year, his twin brother remained a scout through this draft. But Raleigh McKenzie will be one of the scouts sent home pre-draft that will not return. Raleigh McKenzie’s contract is up, and he confirmed to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal he will not be retained. The 56-year-old area scout in charge of the northeast had worked with the Raiders since Reggie McKenzie’s 2012 hire and said he viewed his exit as a “strong possibility” after his brother was let go, per Gehlken. Reggie McKenzie resurfaced in Miami. That would obviously be a logical landing spot for Raleigh.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch regime exited their third draft together, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report notes the 49ers‘ top two decision-makers may not be in lockstep. Shanahan would prefer to focus on developing players and scheming, but scouting and coaching sources told Miller the third-year HC has grown skeptical of Lynch’s decision-making on the personnel side. When asked about the report Tuesday, Shanahan (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area) called it “complete bulls***.” But if there is more to this situation, Miller writes it would likely be Shanahan staying in place and then looking for a new GM/personnel chief after the departures of Lynch and player personnel VP Adam Peters.
  • Ziggy Ansah visited a fourth team this week, with the suddenly edge rusher-needy Seahawks taking a look at the former Lions sack artist. But as could be expected, a signing will have to wait a week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (video link). Teams are not expected to sign the former Pro Bowl defensive end until after May 8, when free agents no longer count against the compensatory pick formula. Ansah joins the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Eric Berry, Michael Crabtree, Jamie Collins, Muhammad Wilkerson and other veterans in this boat. Next week figures to reignite free agency, to a degree, for teams looking to fill specific post-draft needs.
  • The Raiders have added so many new wide receivers they might not all make the team. Slotting Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant and Dwayne Harris as locks to make the roster, along with Hunter Renfrow‘s probably spot, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area lists J.J. Nelson as a bubble player. A intriguing deep threat during Bruce Arians‘ run, the diminutive Nelson fell off the grid last season (seven receptions in 14 games). Harris is five years older than Nelson and has been mostly a return-only presence the past three years. He received a one-year, $1.6MM contract with $275K guaranteed; Nelson, 27, signed a one-year, $1MM deal with $75K guaranteed.

Jets Targeted Jerick McKinnon, Weston Richburg, Others

The Jets looked to be Kirk Cousinsbackup plan, and the franchise had to move on to some its own contingency signings soon after. Most notably, the Jets sought a backfield option that ended up in San Francisco.

Despite entering free agency with more than $90MM in cap space, the Jets could not land Jerick McKinnon. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports the Mike Maccagnan-led franchise put a “full-court press” on the former Vikings running back, only to see him join the 49ers instead.

While McKinnon looked to be the main target that got away, the Jets also had interest in Weston Richburg, with “strong plays” for defenders DaQuan Jones and Barkevious Mingo also not working out for Gang Green, Mehta reports.

Once the Jets didn’t sign McKinnon, they moved on to Isaiah Crowell. However, Mehta reports the Jets agreeing to terms with McKinnon would not have precluded them from adding Crowell as well. Although, the team already has Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire.

Mehta reports the Jets felt their offer was strong enough to close a deal with the 25-year-old McKinnon, but the team also felt Kyle Shanahan was determined to win a bidding war. The end result shows that to be the case. The four-year, $30MM contract makes McKinnon one of the league’s highest-paid running backs.

The 49ers also beat the Jets on Richburg, but it doesn’t sound like the competition was as fierce between the two franchises as it was for McKinnon. New York eyed Richburg but knew the ex-Giants center was going to sign for more than what the team was willing to pay him. Despite having less cap space than the Jets, the 49ers signed Richburg for five years and $47.5MM.

Jones ended up re-upping with the Titans instead of replacing Muhammad Wilkerson on the Jets’ front, signing for three years and $21MM. Mingo will be one of the players the Seahawks turn to in an effort to replace Michael Bennett. The Jets’ interest in Mingo may not have been too strong, with it only taking a two-year, $6.8MM deal for the Seahawks to sign him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Bears, Lions, Saints

The 49ers considered Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft before deciding to trade the pick to the Bears, who ended up selecting the North Carolina product, coach Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco.

“I really liked Mitchell. He was really the only guy I flew out and saw. I spent some time with Mitchell and got to work him out. I spent a few hours watching tape with him,” Shanahan said.

“But that wasn’t something we were going to do with our pick. We felt like we had to go a lot of other different directions. Our goal was to add picks and get as many players as possible, and we are happy with what we did.”

Instead of taking the quarterback, San Francisco traded back one spot with Chicago and picked up the team’s first-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2017, and the team’s third-round pick in 2018. Interesting to note, that third-round pick was traded to the Saints, who tabbed breakout running back and Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Alvin Kamara.

Shanahan will get to see Trubisky up close on Sunday when the Niners travel to take on the Bears.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Sticking with the Bears and 49ers theme; Shanahan also said he was interested in hiring Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. A well-respected and longtime NFL coach, Fangio could be a candidate to replace John Fox in Chicago, should the coach be let go in the coming weeks. “I think Vic definitely deserves to be [a head coach]. He’s one of the coaches I’ve respected the most, just from going against him,” Shanahan said.
  • Though Fangio is an option, the Bears are likely to invest in an offensive coach to groom Trubisky, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Leading the list, of course, is Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel, who always seems to be atop everyone’s wish list.
  • Lions head coach Jim Caldwell should be safe if the team finishes 10-6, even if the team misses the playoffs writes ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. He added that he expects Caldwell will return as head coach as of right now, but that could change in the coming weeks. Caldwell has managed two winning campaigns in his first three seasons in Detroit, or the same amount the Lions produced in the 14 years prior to his arrival.
  • The Saints will not use their remaining IR-to-return spot, writes Joel A. Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate. The hope was that tackle Zach Strief would be an option to return, but that shelved after he underwent to repair his ACL and MCL two weeks ago. No other players on IR have a time table that would allow them to return.

49ers QB Decision Expected On Wednesday

Jimmy Garoppolo performed very well in his limited action after he replaced the injured C.J. Beathard with about a minute left in the game. However, Beathard’s injury will not keep him out for the long-term and the 49ers expect to name their Week 13 starter by Wednesday, reports Matt Maiocco of NBCSports.com.

Jimmy Garoppolo (vertical)

Beathard suffered a knee contusion and a hip strain during yesterday’s matchup, according to Maiocco. That may ultimately have the largest impact on whether the rookie signal caller gets the start on Sunday vs. Chicago. It’s worth pointing out that head coach Kyle Shanahan said during yesterday’s postgame presser that he didn’t even think about replacing Beathard before the injury occurred.

This development shouldn’t be a surprise as Shanahan had already been non-committal about who his quarterback moving forward would be after yesterday’s loss to the Seahawks.

Most fans would probably like to see Garoppolo start given his quality play yesterday and the fact that the front office did make a move to acquire the impending free agent in the middle of the season. Still, it is notable that Shanahan has not given into the bait and played his new QB, as he likely wants to make sure that Garoppolo is ready to be successful when he does eventually see the field.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Fox, Reed, Fisher

It was a long awaited day for 49ers fans, as they got their first look at newly acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in today’s loss to the Seahawks. The former Pats backup signal caller got into the game because rookie starter C.J. Beathard was forced to exit with an injury. Garoppolo made good use of his mild playing time, throwing a nice touchdown pass as time expired.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan chose not to shed much light on how he’s thinking about the QB position moving forward. Although, he did mention that Beathard’s leg injury was not too serious, reports Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). While Beathard’s injury does not appear to affect his playing status moving forward, he will get additional testing tomorrow. Nevertheless, it’s notable that Shanahan wouldn’t commit to a starter for Week 13 either way, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). However, Barrows did also tweet that the 49ers coach didn’t think about pulling his rookie starter while he was healthy.

It’ll be a tough decision considering the way Garoppolo played when he entered the game and the high pick the front office gave up to get him. Shanahan hasn’t caved into public pressure as of yet, so it’s a decision that seems to remain truly up in the air.

  • If the Bears fire John Fox this offseason, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com believes that Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo should be considered for the job. DeFilippo would be an out-of-the-box hire since he is not a coordinator, but the feeling in Philadelphia is that no one has been more instrumental in Carson Wentz‘s development than the 39-year-old. It’s possible that DeFilippo could be the guy to help rookie QB Mitch Trubisky reach his full potential. And, with anywhere from 7-10 teams potentially looking for a new head coach this offseason, DeFilippo can be expected to draw some interest.
  • Redskins star tight end Jordan Reed has missed a lot of time in 2017 and looks to miss another game in Week 13, according to John Keim of ESPN.com. Keim notes that Reed didn’t practice or do any side running today as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Coach Jay Gruden confirmed that Reed would be held out for the next few days as well. “We’re going to take off that part of it here for a couple days, see where he’s at,” Gruden said. While there will still be some time for Reed to get on the field after, it’s tough to expect him to heal quick enough to be effective in game action considering his past injury problems.
  • With the Rams surging to an 8-3 record under first-year head coach Sean McVay, a lot of criticism has been tossed at former head coach Jeff Fisher for the way he handled the offense. Fisher appeared on the Amazon show All or Nothing over this past summer and expressed desire to get back on the sideline for the 2018-19 season. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opines that despite Fisher’s recent track record, he does bring a ton of experience in the game and has the skills to impress in the interview room. Florio hears that his name has already “bubbled up” for coaching jobs, so there’s some potential for interest to come from the NFL as well. They’ll also be a number of coaching jobs open, both head coach and as a coordinator. It’ll be a tough sell considering what has transpired in Los Angeles this season, but Fisher is clearly still held in high regard among the football community, so anything is possible.

49ers To Stick With Beathard Vs. Seahawks

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard will receive his fifth consecutive start when the team hosts Seattle on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). That means the recently acquired Jimmy Garoppolo will have to wait at least another week to receive his first snaps in San Francisco. C.J. Beathard (Vertical)

Though Shanahan said Garoppolo, who the team traded for before the deadline from the Patriots, is making progress, he doesn’t expect the quarterback to be fully up to speed in the team’s offense this season. “Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough. … I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year. Because that’s what guys need.”

Fans in the Bay Area might be ready to see what Garoppolo can do, but it is also tough to bench the third-round signal-caller just one game after he delivered the team’s first victory. In Week 10 vs. the Giants, Beathard completed 76 percent of his passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns and added another score on the ground.

San Francisco didn’t trade for the Eastern Illinois product for no reason, however, and the team is sure to give him a chance to show what he can do in Shanahan’s offense should Beathard make a misstep.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Keenum, Garoppolo, Beathard, Hyde, McCloughan

Case Keenum and the Vikings are now 7-2 after beating a tough Redskins squad today on the road. The third-string quarterback has been of the bigger surprise of stories of the season, especially with his play of late. Apart from leading his team to victory in their last five contests, the 29 year-old signal caller has thrown for 8 touchdowns during that stretch and collected his second 300 yard game of the season during today’s win.

Keenum’s inspiring play of late has kept him ahead of the now healthy Teddy Bridgewater on the depth chart and has Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports saying that the quarterback deserves to be re-signed by the team this season’s end. In a column published tonight, the veteran NFL analyst suggests that Keenum should be the priority of the Vikings three upcoming free agent QB’s (Keenum, Bridgewater and Sam Bradford) because of the other two quarterback’s history of injury issues.

La Canfora notes that Keenum brings a sense of mobility to the position that the team won’t have in the other signal callers and just seems to be getting better as he continues to get playing time. It’s a story that you couldn’t imagine seeing at the start of the offseason, but makes sense now considering the circumstances that have unfolded in Minnesota. There’s a ton of talent that could become available this offseason, but Keenum has made his case to the Vikings for why he should get some serious consideration as a legitimate starting option moving forward.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo almost made his San Francisco debut into today’s win over the Giants after starting quarterback C.J. Beathard injured his thumb. However, the rookie signal caller toughed out the injury and was able to finish off the victory. While the 49ers are now no longer winless, the team does intend to start their newly acquired QB in Week 12, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. But, head coach Kyle Shanahan offered a different view of the situation in his postgame press conference. “No, that never was the plan,” the first year head coach told the media. “As I told you guys, I’m taking it week by week so I don’t have to really pause on everything. I’m looking forward to seeing our guys tomorrow so we can review this and coach up. Take a team photo and try to get away from each other for a while. We’ll continue to work with Jimmy over the bye week here and there. We’ll have a bonus practice next Monday to get everyone loose and we’ll see where it goes from there. It’s not just about C.J. or just about Jimmy, there’s a lot of things that go into it,” (via Schefter). It remains to seen what will unfold regarding the 49ers QB depth chart after the team’s bye in Week 11, but there’s no doubt that Garoppolo is getting more comfortable in the offense and was ready to go if Beathard wasn’t able to continue playing.
  • In other 49ers news, running back Carlos Hyde went on the record before today’s win to address his upcoming free agency. At least for now the lead back doesn’t want to discuss a deal with his current team, according to Cam Inman of The Mercury News“I spoke to my agent about it, but I told him I don’t want to talk about contract extensions or anything like that right now,” Hyde said Thursday. “I want to focus on getting our first win, finishing the season off. I told him if we get to that point, then we can talk about it.” Now even though San Francisco is in the win column, it would be a lot to expect a change in heart from the 26 year-old. Hyde could be in line for a solid contract from his current franchise or potentially another RB needy team. The fourth-year back has hasn’t broke the 100 yard marker in any game this season, but has managed to put up decent numbers in an offense without a reliable passing game. He’s just one of many running backs available on the current list of 2018 Free Agents.
  • In off the field news, former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan is set to have his grievance hearing on December 18, according to Pro Football Talk. McCloughan has filed the lawsuit because he wants to be paid the remainder of the balance left on his contract. Washington argues that they should not pay their former G.M. because he was fired for alcohol abuse.

49ers Officially Announce Garoppolo As Their Backup QB

The Jimmy Garoppolo era has started in San Francisco, but he won’t be named the starter right away. Instead, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that the former Tom Brady backup will shift to bench duties behind rookie third round pick, C.J. Beathard, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Gate.

Jimmy Garoppolo (Vertical)

While the news may be a little bit of a downer for 49ers fans trying to get a look at their new signal caller, the move actually is a sign that Garoppolo is learning the playbook rather quickly.

The first-year head coach explained that the youngster’s ability to quickly grasp the offense influenced his decision to make him the primary backup. If Garoppolo had not picked up the offense, Nick Mullens would have been elevated from the practice squad.

“He’s worked real hard at it and I think he’s gotten more comfortable each day,” Shanaahn said. “He’s definitely not there yet, but if that situation presents itself we’ll have a plan to go with him so he (Garoppolo) can function.”

While this is encouraging news about the future prospects of the former Patriots backup getting playing time sooner rather than later, the Niners still won’t guarantee that Garoppolo will actually see the field this season.

Regardless, the team invested a high draft pick in the quarterback with the hope that the recently turned 26 year-old can become the face of their franchise for many years to come.

The former 2014 second round pick was one of the more intriguing options on the QB market over the past few seasons, despite him only appearing in limited action since being drafted over three years ago. Garoppolo has accumulated a 106.2 quarterback rating when on the field, throwing for 5 touchdowns and no interceptions, while also completing a more than solid 67 percent of his passes.

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Hue Jackson “Pushed Hard” For QB Trade This Offseason?

Prior to the 49ers snagging Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-round pick that’s likely to fall at the top of Day 2, the Browns were the team most connected with the former Patriots backup this offseason. And Hue Jackson may have been a key driver behind that Garoppolo-to-Cleveland buzz.

The second-year Browns coach “pushed hard” this offseason for the team to trade for Garoppolo or former Bengals charge A.J. McCarron, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports. Jackson felt Garoppolo could be a big part of a turnaround from Cleveland’s 1-15 season, Cabot reports, and made Tom Brady‘s then-backup his primary offseason target.

Cabot adds the Patriots would have traded Garoppolo to the Browns for “the right offer,” which the longtime Browns reporter notes would have had to include at least one first-round pick. The Browns had two of those going into the draft and ended up with three first-round selections while also carrying multiple second-round picks in April after making the Brock Osweiler trade.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported the Browns offered a second-round pick for Garoppolo, with Cabot adding the team did not go further on Day 2 of this draft to make the necessary offer to the Pats. Browns executive VP Sashi Brown said going into the draft the team was not interested in trading for a veteran quarterback.

Kyle Shanahan and Garoppolo spent time together when the current 49ers coach worked as the Browns’ OC in 2014, and Shanahan told cleveland.com at this year’s Super Bowl he had Garoppolo ranked high among the draftable 2014 passers during his one-year stay in northeast Ohio. Shanahan did not want Johnny Manziel, whom the Browns drafted, nor did he prefer Teddy Bridgewater. However, the short-term Browns play-caller did like Derek Carr and Tom Savage, per Cabot.

When the Patriots and Browns could not agree on terms for Garoppolo, Jackson pivoted to McCarron, Cabot reports. But Jackson viewed the current Bengals backup, whom he coached for two seasons in Cincinnati, as a stopgap until the Browns could land their long-term solution.

Cabot wonders if McCarron would be in play by today’s 3pm CT deadline but reports it would have likely taken at least two second-round picks to pry him from the Bengals this offseason. McCarron is under contract through the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Hyde, Ngata, McAdoo, Bucs QBs

Despite the noise of a Carlos Hyde trade, Kyle Shanahan attempted to put an end to those rumors during a media session today. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee passes along that the first-year 49ers head coach said that the reports of a speculative trade involving the running back were “absolutely, absolutely 100 percent false.” The rumors started to pick up after San Francisco was making calls to teams about now-former 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Despite the pushback, rookie Matt Breida has slowly started to cut into Hyde’s touches in recent weeks. The former Georgia Southern running back had his first double-digit carry game two weeks ago against the Colts, even though the rookie touched the ball just six times this past Sunday. Nevertheless, the 49ers are still winless through six weeks, which means that the trade winds will continue to swirl around the team with the deadline just a few weeks away.

  • Building off the news that Ben McAdoo gave up play calling to offenisve coordinator Mike Sullivan for their Sunday night contest against the Broncos, it is now known that neither owner John Mara nor Giants executive chairman Steve Tisch asked the head coach to give up the offensive playbook, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. It would seem that McAdoo made this decision on his own with the results being positive thus far as the team shocked many by going into Denver and winning by double digits.
  • Now that Haloti Ngata is out for the season with a torn biceps, the question remains: Just how long will the 33-year-old continue to play in the NFL? The Lions defensive lineman told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that he has not made any decision about the future yet. “We’ll have to see. To be determined,” Ngata told the pressThe veteran has not been the same player he was with the Ravens since he joined Detroit in 2015. Ngata did show signs of life this seasn, racking up two sacks in the team’s first five games, which matched the halfway mark of the number of QB takedowns he put up in the two seasons prior.
  • Although Jameis Winston left last Sunday’s game because of a shoulder injury, the Buccaneers still don’t expect to sign another QB for this week’s affair against the Bills, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Auman reports that Tampa Bay seems to be comfortable with Winston suiting up as an emergency backup for Ryan Fitzpatrick, if he can’t start. The move sounds a bit risky considering that the team still does not have a third-string QB with Ryan Griffin currently working to get off the IR. However, the news may be encouraging to some as it seems Winston has most likely avoided a long-term injury.