Nick Mullens

West Rumors: 49ers, Kaep, Broncos, Raiders

The NFL should seek to end the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance via settlement, if only for its own good, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The league has indeed broached the topic of a financial settlement with Kaepernick and his team, but those talks have reportedly gone nowhere, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com indicated earlier this week. A 2019 hearing now appears likely, but as Florio writes, the NFL has a lot to lose by allowing a hearing to take place. League personnel would likely be deposed, internal communications could be made public, and — in a worst-case scenario — Kaepernick could prove collusion did indeed take place. Of course, the former 49ers quarterback would have to be amenable to a settlement, and given that a) he’s earned more than $43MM during his career and b) his grievance and interests don’t appear to be financially motivated, it seems unlikely he’d agree to be paid for his silence.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • The Broncos are “doing a lot of homework” on collegiate tight end prospects in advance of the 2019 draft, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.net (Twitter link). Denver has spent consecutive fifth-round picks on tight ends, but both of the club’s selections have fallen victim to injury. 2017 draft choice Jake Butt missed his entire rookie year while recovering from an ACL tear; he played in three games this season before suffering yet another torn ACL (the third of his football career). Meanwhile, 2018 selection Troy Fumagalli has been on IR since August after going down with a thigh injury. Per Gavrino Borquez of USA Today’s Draftwire, the top draft-eligible tight ends include Noah Fant (Iowa), Kaden Smith (Stanford), and T.J. Hockenson (Iowa).
  • In his latest mailbag for The Athletic, Matt Barrows writes — perhaps unsurprisingly — 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is in no danger of losing his job despite a disappointing 2018 campaign. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch signed dual six-year contracts prior to the 2017 season, so he presumably has plenty of leeway to execute his vision in San Francisco. Additionally, the 49ers lost both quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon before September ended, making it difficult to evaluate the club’s offensive talent.
  • More from Burrows, who adds three-game starting quarterback Nick Mullens‘ “leash was shortened” following his lackluster performance against the Buccaneers in Week 12. After tossing three touchdowns in his first NFL start, Mullens — whom the 49ers signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017 — has regressed over the past two weeks, throwing just two scores against four picks while posting a 68.5 passer rating during that time. C.J. Beathard, who’s managed a 81.8 quarterback rating in six appearances this season, is now healthy and could get another shot under center if Mullens struggles against the Seahawks on Sunday.
  • Former Raiders/49ers edge rusher Aldon Smith turned himself into San Francisco police on Tuesday after being accused of domestic violence, reports Evan Sernoffsky of the San Francisco Chronicle. Smith, of course, has been no stranger to off-field incidents since being selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. The Raiders quickly released Smith following another domestic violence episode earlier this year, and it’s obvious Smith will never play in the NFL again.

NFC Notes: Cowboys, 49ers, Bucs, Panthers

The Cowboys don’t intend to fire head coach Jason Garrett during the season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t part ways with their head coach after the campaign is concluded, especially if Dallas doesn’t earn a postseason berth (something the team has a 26% chance to do, per FiveThirtyEight.com). Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has already been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Cowboys if Garrett is shown the door, but owner Jerry Jones, predictably, isn’t tipping his hand on any possible contenders for the head coaching job. “That would be total drawing it out of the air,” Jones said of Riley, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “Totally speculation.” Riley has also been mentioned as a target for the Browns, especially given that he coached Baker Mayfield with the Sooners.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Given how Nick Mullens has played through two starts, he’ll remain the 49ers‘ starting quarterback on an open-ended basis, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, including Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Mullens, who started in place on an injured C.J. Beathard in Week 9, completed 73% of his passes and tossed three touchdowns in his first career NFL action. While he came back to Earth a bit in Week 10 (250 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions), he still nearly led San Francisco to a victory over the Giants on Monday night. In the midst of what’s become a lost season, the 49ers might be well-served to get a full look at Mullens, who went undrafted out of Southern Mississippi in 2017.
  • Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David is likely to miss time with a sprained MCL, sources tell Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. While David has yet to be officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Giants, the nature of his injury usually dictates a two-to-four weeks absence, per Laine, meaning David could conceivably be sidelined through mid-December. Tampa Bay can ill afford another injury at the linebacker position, as the club has already placed starter Kwon Alexander and reserve Jack Cichy on injured reserve, while 2017 draft choice Kendell Beckwith is still on the non-football injury list.
  • Panthers defensive tackle Dontari Poe collected a $125K bonus today by weighing in at less than 330 pounds, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Poe inked a three-year, $28MM contract with Carolina this offseason, and the deal provides the opportunity for the interior defender to collect up to $500K per season via weight bonuses. The former Chief and Falcon is playing far fewer snaps in 2018 than he has in years prior — whereas he typically played in 75%+ of his team’s snaps from 2012-16, he’s now sitting at the 50% mark with Carolina.

Nick Mullens Expected To Remain 49ers’ Starting QB

After 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard — who was only starting for San Francisco because No. 1 signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo is out for the season with an ACL tear — was injured during the team’s Week 8 loss to the Cardinals, the 49ers turned to Nick Mullens to replace him for their Thursday night bout against the Raiders.

All Mullens did was turn in one of the best NFL debuts in league history. The 2017 UDFA out of Southern Miss was 16 of 22 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions as the 49ers trounced their Bay Area rivals 34-3. Most have assumed that performance would allow Mullens to retain control of the starting job moving forward, and that is apparently the correct assumption.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Mullens is expected to remain the 49ers’ starting quarterback when their season resumes next Monday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has not yet made an official announcement, as he wants to talk to his players first, but Rapoport says it would be a major surprise if Mullens did not get the nod.

Even after the win, the 49ers are 2-7, and whatever playoff hopes they had went out the window when Garoppolo went down. And since the team has seen Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick, produce one win and mediocre statistics during his ten games as a starter over the last two seasons, it makes sense to at least give Mullens a shot.

Mullens, who was summoned from the practice squad to serve as Beathard’s backup in September, is Southern Mississippi’s career passing leader in every major category. His collegiate numbers considerably outshine those of fellow Golden Eagles alum Brett Favre, but it’s probably a bit too early to begin comparing their professional careers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Promote Nick Mullens From P-Squad

The 49ers will promote quarterback Nick Mullens from the practice squad, as Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Mullens will serve as the No. 2 quarterback behind C.J. Beathard, who has been promoted to the top job after Jimmy Garoppolo‘s ACL tear. 

The Niners’ QB search isn’t necessarily done there. On Tuesday, they’ll work out a group of veteran QBs including Tom SavageT.J. Yates, and Kellen Clemens. Former Dolphins backup Matt Moore may also take part in the audition. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has already said that the team won’t bring in any competition for Beathard, so any quarterback signed would be added as a backup.

Mullens, a Southern Mississippi product, threw for 87 touchdowns against 46 interceptions across his four-year collegiate career. He spent time in camp with the club last offseason and was re-signed on a futures deal this past January.

The 1-2 49ers will have their work cut out for them without Garoppolo and their first test comes on Sunday against the Chargers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cardinals, Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Signed:

Claimed:

Cut:

Practice squad:

Los Angeles Rams

Practice squad:

San Francisco 49ers

Signed to practice squad:

Seattle Seahawks

Claimed:

Cut:

* = practice squad exception

49ers Cut 21 Players, Reach 53-Man Max

The 49ers have reached the 53-man roster maximum after releasing 21 players on Saturday afternoon. Here’s the full rundown:

The following players have been released:

In addition to those cuts, the Niners also have a few extra spots on their initial 53-man roster thanks to suspensions for wide receiver Victor Bolden and linebacker Reuben Foster. They’ll also be without defensive lineman Kentavius Street as he sits on the NFI list.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/2/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • WR Jake Kumerow
  • WR Colby Pearson
  • TE Robert Tonyan
  • LS Zach Triner
  • WR DeAngelo Yancey

Read more

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cardinals, Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

49ers Slash Roster To 53

The 49ers completed their wave of cuts and have reduced their roster to the regular-season limit. Here are the final cuts that moved the 49ers down to 53 players.

Released:

Waived:

49ers Sign Five Draft Picks, 16 UDFAs

The 49ers are making quick work of their 2017 draft class, as the club announced today that they’ve signed defensive back Adrian Colbert, defensive lineman D.J. Jones, tight end George Kittle, defensive lineman Pita Taumoepenu, and wide receiver Trent Taylor to rookie contracts. San Francisco also confirmed the previously-reported signing of fourth-round running back Joe Williams.

Additionally, the 49ers have announced the signing of 16 undrafted college free agents: