Matt Breida

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Lockett, 49ers

Despite suffering a leg contusion against the 49ers on Monday night, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett is expected to be available when Seattle returns from its bye in Week 12, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Lockett spent time at the hospital after injuring his leg (in what was called a “pretty severe situation” by head coach Pete Carroll), but he’s since flown back to Seattle. In the midst of a second consecutive excellent campaign, the 27-year-old Lockett has posted 62 receptions for 793 yards and six touchdowns through 10 games.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • While Lockett doesn’t figure to miss any time, 49ers running back Matt Breida isn’t so lucky. Breida aggravated a low ankle sprain against Seattle and will likely miss a week or two, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Breida is getting a second opinion on his injury, so the timeline could certainly change, but at this point it doesn’t appear he’ll be sidelined for too long. While he’s often banged up, Breida is typically able to produce at a high level when on the field. 2019 has been no different, as he’s managed five yards per carry on 109 attempts. San Francisco will now deploy Raheem Mostert alongside Tevin Coleman in Breida’s absence.
  • Breida’s loss won’t the only hit to the 49ers‘ running game — left tackle Joe Staley will also miss a few weeks after undergoing surgery on a dislocated/fractured finger, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Staley, of course, broke his fibula in Week 2 and had been sidelined until Week 9. San Francisco has been able to succeed on the ground even without Staley around, and the club will now turn back to Justin Skule — who’s played 451 offensive snaps this year — at left tackle.
  • In case you missed it, Rams center Brian Allen will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an MCL injury in Week 10.

Injury Updates: Barkley, 49ers, Lockett

The Giants may be a long shot to make the postseason, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to shut down their star players. When asked if the team would rest running back Saquon Barkley, head coach Pat Shurmur responded with an emphatic “absolutely not” (via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY).

Shurmur had previously acknowledged that Barkley was a bit banged up, and that was evident after the running back compiled a single rushing yard on 13 carries during the Giants’ loss to the Jets on Sunday. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports that Barkley had an X-ray on his shoulder after the game. There was some thought that the 22-year-old was suffering from an ankle or leg injury, but Barkley acknowledged that his legs are still feeling good.

The Giants and Barkley will look to get back on track when they return from their bye week. The team will visit the Bears on November 24th.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • We’ve got some updates on key 49ers skill players. ESPN’s Adam Schefter notes (on Twitter) that wideout Emmanuel Sanders‘s s-rays for a rib injury were inconclusive. The veteran was set to undergo an MRI today to determine the extent of the “damage.” Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that running back Matt Breida will get a second opinion on his sprained ankle. While the injury isn’t thought to be serious, Breida may still be sidelined for several games.
  • Seahawks wideout Tyler Lockett was at the hospital last night getting treatment for a leg contusion, but Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com passes along that the receiver is alright. Coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN that the bruise caused a “pretty severe situation” thanks to the subsequent swelling, and Lockett didn’t return with the team to Seattle. The 27-year-old is having another productive season, hauling in 62 receptions for 793 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Some good news out of Indy: Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters that wideout Devin Funchess should return to practice this week. “Technically, he could be cleared to play the game,” Reich said (via Jim Ayello of the Indy Star). “But he’s got a few more boxes to check. We have to make sure he’s good to go because this will really be his first week of practice. Then we still have to see how much he’ll be able to do Wednesday. We’re really encouraged. I think there’s another box he has to check before we can go full boar on the practice.” Funchess landed on the IR after breaking his collarbone during the season opener.
  • Bengals tight end Drew Sample suffered a high ankle sprain this past weekend, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 2019 second-rounder will undergo additional tests to determine how much time he’ll miss, but Rapoport notes that he’s a candidate for the injured reserve. The rookie has hauled in five catches for 30 yards in nine games (two starts) this season.

West Notes: Seahawks, Broncos, Breida

Although the Seahawks traded Frank Clark, have L.J. Collier sidelined for a while and Ziggy Ansah still yet to fully participate in training camp, they feature an additional pass rusher in Barkevious Mingo. The former first-round pick is now a full-time defensive end, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. The 28-year-old defender worked as an outside linebacker in Seattle’s 4-3 scheme last season but came into the league as a 3-4 edge. That has never translated to sack production (10 in six seasons), but it looks like the Seahawks will attempt to see if Mingo’s first NFL work as a full-time lineman can.

That’s what I came into this league to do,’’ said Mingo, who played 545 snaps last season with Seattle. “I came into this league to rush the passer. And teams I’ve been on before, they’ve had a different idea of what they wanted me to do. And that’s OK. … But looking back at it, I’m happy I get to go back and do it (rush the passer now). I wish it would have been a little earlier in my career. But still, I’m just excited for the opportunity to go out there and just help the team.”

Moving first to some backfield situations, here is the latest from some of the NFL’s Mountain and Pacific Time Zone teams.

  • While Pete Carroll said 2018 first-rounder Rashaad Penny had a “great” offseason, the Seahawks still appear to be leaning toward keeping 2017 seventh-rounder Chris Carson as their starting running back. Penny is not playing on the same level Carson is during camp, per The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar (subscription required). Penny, though, will be a bigger part of Seattle’s offense than he was as a rookie. Mike Davis‘ Chicago relocation will ensure the San Diego State alum sees more time.
  • Theo Riddick visited the Broncos and Saints before deciding on Denver, but the six-year Lions back said (via Mike Klis of 9News) 10 teams reached out after Detroit released him. Riddick, 28, signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal to join Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in the Broncos’ backfield equation. The longtime pass-catching back took reps with the Broncos’ first-string offense in his initial practice with the team.
  • As for where that leaves Devontae Booker: Klis notes there is a chance the team keeps four halfbacks and fullback Andy Janovich. However, Booker may now be a trade candidate. The Broncos used former California high school sprint champion Khalfani Muhammad in all four quarters of Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game.
  • Matt Breida may join Booker on the trade block, though that is not certain yet. The 49ers have one of the NFL’s deepest backfields, with Breida joining Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. It’s been posited the 49ers will not have room for all three on game days, considering Raheem Mostert was re-signed for his special teams ability. A way Breida (5.3 yards per carry last season) could see time will be as a kick returner, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Breida has only returned five NFL kicks, all coming in his 2017 rookie year.
  • Seahawks recently waived tight ends Justin Johnson and Tyrone Swoopes cleared waivers and will revert to the team’s IR list, Condotta tweets.

West Rumors: Miller, Celek, 49ers, RBs

Von Miller turned 30 this offseason and will soon start his ninth NFL season, but it doesn’t look like the Broncos will need to consider making plans for a near-future Miller retirement. Denver’s all-time sack leader said (via USA Today’s Lila Bromberg) he wants to play long enough to make a run at Bruce Smith‘s NFL record. That will be quite difficult, with Miller (98 sacks) having averaged 12.25 sacks per season (a figure weighed down by his 2013 suspension-shortened slate) and Smith having recorded 200 during his 19-year career. Miller would need to average 10.2 sacks over the next 10 seasons to get there. However, Miller sits second among active NFLers in sacks — trailing only Terrell Suggs (132). While the odds are against him eclipsing the Smith standard that has stood for 16 years, it is notable the likely Hall of Fame-bound pass rusher plans on playing for several more seasons. Three seasons remain on Miller’s six-year, $114.1MM contract.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to the NFC West:

  • The back surgery 49ers tight end Garrett Celek underwent this month features an approximate two-month recovery timetable, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes, adding that it no longer appears certain the 31-year-old skill-position cog will be able to continue his career. Celek ended last season in concussion protocol, where he remains for procedural purposes, and the extension he signed in 2016 has just one more season remaining on it. The 49ers prepared for this possibility by signing Levine Toilolo, drafting Kaden Smith in the sixth round and adding Wyoming product Tyree Mayfield as a UDFA.
  • Tevin Coleman‘s history with Kyle Shanahan, and the time Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida missed this offsason, makes him the best bet to be San Francisco’s top back, Maiocco writes. McKinnon is expected to return for the start of training camp, but it has been a while since the former Vikings running back — who received $18MM guaranteed in 2018 — has played. The 49ers will likely make one of these players a healthy scratch on game days, with Maiocco adding the presences of Kyle Juszczyk and top special-teamer Raheem Mostert will force Shanahan to deactivate one of his top three backs. This situation bears monitoring during the preseason, as it would seem a trade could benefit the 49ers.
  • Robert Nkemdiche‘s recent arrest may spell the end of his underwhelming Cardinals stay.
  • More clarity emerged on the Todd Gurley front, but the two-time All-Pro Rams running back’s situation figures to remain murky until we near the regular season.

Bay Area Rumors: Breida, 49ers, Raiders

Many 49ers are not healthy as the team goes through its OTAs. In addition to the likes of Jerick McKinnon, Weston Richburg, Jason Verrett and Kwon Alexander, the team lost one of its running backs because of a weightlifting injury. The 49ers will not have Matt Breida available until at least training camp. The running back, who battled maladies last season before ending the year on IR, suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle while lifting recently, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. San Francisco is already without McKinnon and backup Raheem Mostert, who is battling for a roster spot now that the team employs Tevin Coleman. While torn pectorals of any kind are obviously a concern, Kyle Shanahan said Breida will not require surgery. But the 49ers’ optimal backfield still has a ways to go before coming together.

Here is the latest from the NFL’s Bay Area teams, in their final offseason sharing a region.

  • While Breida is expected to return before the start of the regular season, Garrett Celek‘s timeline is more concerning. The eighth-year 49ers tight end suffered a concussion in Week 16 last season and has yet to be cleared from concussion protocol, according to Shanahan. Celek is also dealing with a back injury. The soon-to-be 31-year-old tight end resides as the 49ers’ second-longest-tenured player, having been with the team since 2012. The 49ers did draft Kaden Smith in the sixth round but, beyond Celek, do not have much at tight end behind George Kittle.
  • Jimmie Ward‘s injury likely will not keep him out for the rumored three-month span, with Maiocco believing that to be on the cautious side of the safety’s timeline. Should they get Ward back by training camp, the 49ers are not likely to sign a veteran safety — like Eric Berry or Tre Boston — to replace Ward, Maiocco adds. Although Ward is back on only a one-year deal, the 49ers believe he is their best defensive back when healthy. On a team that employs Richard Sherman, that’s certainly a notable distinction.
  • The Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime reshuffled their front office and scouting staff recently. The roles of recently hired staffers Dwayne Joseph, DuJuan Daniels and Walter Juliff are now known. Daniels, who joined the Raiders after a Patriots tenure, is now Mayock’s assistant director of player personnel. Joseph, who came over from the Eagles, will become the Raiders’ director of pro personnel. A former Cowboys exec, Juliff is now a senior advisor to the GM, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair tweets. Recently with the Senior Bowl and the Bills, Jack Gilmore is now in place as Raiders scouting coordinator. The Raiders also hired recent Eagles scouting coordinator John Hill as a pro scout. Lastly, Oakland promoted Trey Scott and Teddy Atlas (not that one) to assistant player personnel director and assistant director of college scouting, respectively. Scott was one of the few staffers to help with the Raiders’ draft, after Mayock dismissed the scouts prior to draft weekend.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/29/18

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Detroit Lions

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

49ers Work Out Five Running Backs

With Matt Breida unlikely to suit up for Monday’s game against the Packers, the 49ers auditioned several running backs today. Veteran NFL reports Howard Balzer reports (via Twitter) that the team worked out Matthew Dayes, Andre Ellington, Jeremy McNichols (as was reported yesterday), Shane Vereen, and Charcandrick West. The 49ers ended up adding Dayes to their practice squad.

While Breida was able to avoid a high ankle sprain, he’ll likely miss Monday’s contest. With Jerick McKinnon already out for the season, this leaves the 49ers with a pair of healthy running backs: Alfred Morris and Raheem Mostert. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the team could end up promoting Jeff Wilson from the practice squad for some extra depth, or maybe they’ll look outside the organization for reinforcement.

Breida has stepped up during McKinnon’s absence, compiling 369 rushing yards and one touchdown on 49 carries. His 7.5 yards per attempt is currently the best mark in the NFL, and he’s yet to commit a fumble this season. On the flip side, Morris and Mostert have been underwhelming, combining for 3.5 yards per carry.

The team may be willing to ride it out with Morris as their starting running back, especially since the majority of the auditionees have served as third-down backs throughout their careers. Vereen was the most productive in 2017, as he hauled in 44 receptions for 253 yards (he also had another 164 rushing yards on 45 carries). West finished last season with 27 receptions in 13 games with the Chiefs, while Ellington had 39 receptions during his stints with the Cardinals and Texans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Olsen, Eagles, Breida, Giants

Greg Olsen opted against undergoing surgery on his refractured foot this season, but the Panthers tight end does expect to need a corrective procedure done on it. The Pro Bowl tight end said (via The Athletic’s Joe Person, on Twitter) he likely will need a surgery to fix his Jones fracture. However, he will try to make it through the season before doing so. Olsen’s missed the past four Panthers games but could be in line to return on Sunday, Ron Rivera said. He’s been ramping up his workouts in recent weeks and views Wednesday as the key day in determining his Week 6 availability, per the Charlotte Observer’s Jourdan Rodrigue.

As one of the finest quarterbacks in the NFC’s history continues his coronation night, here’s the latest from the conference:

  • The ACL Jay Ajayi tore is in his left knee, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane reports (on Twitter). This is key because Ajayi’s past issues have been with his right knee. Ajayi tore his right ACL while at Boise State, and his draft stock took a hit because of reports of chronic issues with that knee. The Eagles running back will undergo surgery on Thursday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). He’s not believed to have torn any additional knee ligaments. Rapoport adds this injury came while Ajayi was working in pass protection, but the fourth-year veteran played through it until game’s end.
  • Philadelphia has engaged in “exploratory” conversations regarding Le’Veon Bell, according to Rapoport (video link), but those talks haven’t really gotten off the ground. The Bell-to-Philly subject has been a disputed topic thus far this month, with some outlets reporting the Eagles aren’t going down that road and others indicating they have strongly considered doing it.
  • Fletcher Cox‘s restructured contract gave the Eagles $6.5MM in 2018 cap space, pushing that total to around $10MM. The veteran defensive tackle will see $8.19MM in base salary converted to a roster bonus, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, adding that his 2019 base will be reduced to $930K. An option bonus of $14.76MM will be included in Cox’s contract now, per Yates, though it’s unclear when that option would vest. But Cox accepting the restructure would indicate he’s not in danger of losing that money he transferred from his 2018 and ’19 base salaries.
  • The 49ers will likely have another starting running back when they take the field against the Packers on Monday night. Matt Breida is going to be doubtful to suit up in Green Bay, Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, on Twitter). The good news on Breida, though, is he didn’t suffer a high ankle sprain. Instead, it’s a less severe mid-ankle sprain, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Alfred Morris would be in line to start, with Raheem Mostert possibly backing him up. Shanahan said the team will consider bringing Jeff Wilson up from the practice squad. The 49ers intended to deploy Jerick McKinnon as their starter, and they turned to Breida after the initial first-stringer’s season-ending injury. But Breida should be expected to return fairly soon.
  • Pat Shurmur wants to add a kicker to the Giants’ practice squad, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets. Big Blue will need another offensive tackle soon as well, being set to end the Ereck Flowers era on Tuesday. Aldrick Rosas serves as the Giants’ kicker, and the second-year UDFA is 100 percent (11-for-11) on field goals thus far.
  • Prior to signing Bryan Witzmann, the Bears visited with offensive lineman Willie Beavers, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Beavers was a fourth-round Vikings pick in 2016.

NFC Notes: Lions, Vikings, Bucs, Kelley

With more teams debuting their preseasons Friday night, here’s the latest out of the NFC, beginning with one of the teams that indeed begins its 2018 run tonight.

  • A fourth-round pick two years ago, Miles Killebrew may be moving to a different position in order to increase his chances of making the Lions‘ 53-man roster. The third-year safety’s been working exclusively as a linebacker in practice as of late, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Killebrew started three games at safety for the Lions last season, but Birkett adds that the Southern Utah product was working as the fifth safety during camp in a unit that’s now including former full-time cornerback Quandre Diggs. Rookie Tracy Walker was also running ahead of Killebrew.
  • Nick Easton‘s season-ending injury now has the Vikings down three starters, with Pat Elflein still on the PUP list and Mike Remmers also sidelined. Tom Compton is the favorite to fill in for Easton at left guard, and ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin notes the Vikings were eyeing the former Redskins and Bears blocker in the past prior to signing him this offseason. Compton, though, has only made 16 starts in six seasons. The Vikings are likely to keep Compton at guard rather than have him also work at tackle, Mike Zimmer said. Second-year man Danny Isidora looks to the the top insurance option at the other guard spot in case Remmers, down with an ankle injury presently, doesn’t return soon, per Cronin. A fourth-year UDFA out of Portland State, Cornelius Edison is currently working as Minnesota’s first-team center in Elflein’s absence.
  • The Buccaneers will be without Vernon Hargreaves for a bit, potentially the rest of the preseason, with a groin injury. Dirk Koetter, however, doesn’t expect the former first-round pick to miss any regular-season time because of this malady (Twitter link, via the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud).
  • The 49ers will be dealing with similar timelines involving key personnel. Likely tight end starter George Kittle and No. 2 running back Matt Breida suffered separated shoulders in San Francisco’s preseason opener Thursday night, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Both will miss the remainder of the preseason calendar. Kyle Shanahan said the earliest either will return is Week 1.
  • Derrius Guice‘s ACL tear deprives the Redskins of a potential impact player being part of their 2018 offense, and they will likely turn to former starter Rob Kelley in his place, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington writes. He expects Samaje Perine, who was in danger of not making the roster prior to Guice’s injury, to work in off the bench on early downs. Tandler adds the Redskins could go after a veteran back, and while many are available, it’s not certain the team will move in that direction just yet. Kelley rushed for 704 yards (4.2 per carry) in 2016, a season that featured him start down the stretch, but gained just 194 last year (3.1 per tote) in seven games as Washington’s starter.

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.