Azeez Al-Shaair

49ers Rumors: Al-Shaair, Garoppolo, DBs

This will be a key year for Azeez Al-Shaair. The fourth-year linebacker is less than a year away from a possible free agency bid, and he may have an opportunity to join Fred Warner as a three-down ‘backer. With Dre Greenlaw missing much of last season due to injury, Al-Shaair stepped in as a full-timer. This season figures to determine which contract-year linebacker — Greenlaw or Al-Shaair — the 49ers aim to keep. The one that ends up playing less figures to be the cheaper option, with Matt Barrows of The Athletic noting that might be the player San Francisco attempts to retain (subscription required). Such a strategy would mesh better with Warner, who is tied to a top-market off-ball linebacker deal. A 2019 UDFA out of Florida Atlantic, Al-Shaair registered 102 tackles (nine for loss), two sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 13 games last season — his first as a full-timer. Al-Shaair, however, is recovering from offseason knee and shoulder surgeries, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. The team is targeting a training camp return for Al-Shaair.

Here is the latest out of San Francisco:

  • New 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese has dealt exclusively with the quarterbacks who have attended the team’s offseason program. He has not communicated with Jimmy Garoppolo since taking over, via Maiocco (on Twitter). While Garoppolo will surely still have a good grip on Kyle Shanahan‘s offense, this does mark another sign the franchise remains intent on finding a trade. Dealing Garoppolo is not a guarantee, but it has long been the team’s goal.
  • Elijah Mitchell made a surprise ascent early last season, leapfrogging third-round pick Trey Sermon and finishing with 963 rushing yards in just 11 games. The 49ers added another third-round back this year, in LSU’s Tyrion Davis-Price, and have a new running backs coach in Anthony Lynn. The team still views Mitchell as its top backfield option, according to ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner, who adds the incumbent plans to be roughly 15 pounds heavier than he was last season. The 2021 sixth-round pick, who missed a chunk of the season due to multiple injuries, played at around 200 pounds as a rookie.
  • K’Waun Williams operated as the 49ers’ slot cornerback for five years, signing multiple contracts to stay in that role. But the veteran defected to the Broncos in free agency this year. Veteran Darqueze Dennard could benefit. Despite being a January practice squad addition, Dennard resides as the top slot option for San Francisco as of OTAs, Barrows adds (subscription required). Fifth-round pick Samuel Womack may be Dennard’s top challenger, per Barrows. Although Dennard played in just two regular-season games last year (one as a Giant, one as a 49er), he spent several years as the Bengals’ primary slot defender. This will be the former first-rounder’s age-31 season.
  • Jaquiski Tartt is not expected back with the 49ers this year. As of OTAs, Talanoa Hufanga and Tarvarius Moore reside as the top options to replace him, Barrows notes. Hufanga received the first crack at the strong safety job this week, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Moore’s contract tolled from 2021, a season he missed due to a torn Achilles suffered during the 49ers’ 2021 offseason program. The 49ers drafted Hufanga in last year’s fifth round; he started three games as a rookie. The team also signed ex-Colt safety George Odum this offseason.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/25/22

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Houston Texans

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/16/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender decisions from around the NFL:

RFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/15/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender decisions from around the NFL:

RFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

49ers Place S Jaquiski Tartt On IR

More bad news for the 49ers’ defense. Shortly after Kyle Shanahan confirmed season-ending surgery was on tap for Javon Kinlaw, they placed the second-year defensive tackle on IR. Jaquiski Tartt will join Kinlaw on San Francisco’s injured list.

Tartt should not be expected to miss the rest of the season, having suffered a knee contusion against the Colts. But the veteran safety is down for at least the next three games. A seventh-year veteran, Tartt has made 56 regular-season starts but has dealt with injuries for most of his career.

This is a familiar transaction for Tartt, who missed time due to injury in each of the 49ers’ past four seasons. A broken arm moved Tartt to IR in 2017, and a shoulder malady shelved Tartt for part of the 2018 season. A rib injury cost Tartt four games in 2019, though he returned for the 49ers’ three playoff contests, and a turf toe bout ended his 2020 campaign. The turf toe issue dragged into this summer’s training camp, with Tartt beginning on the 49ers’ active/PUP list. He returned in time for Week 1, but more injury trouble has intervened.

Overall, Tartt missed 28 games from 2017-20. These setbacks have not shaken the 49ers’ confidence in Tartt. They extended the former seventh-round pick in 2018 and gave him another new deal this year. The most recent Tartt contract only runs through season’s end, however.

Tartt joins Kinlaw and linebacker Dre Greenlaw on IR. The 49ers will also be without Dee Ford and starting linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair for Week 8. Rotational defensive lineman Kevin Givens is back on San Francisco’s active roster, however, after his IR stay. The 49ers also promoted tight end Jordan Matthews and safety Kai Nacua from their practice squad.

49ers LB Dre Greenlaw To Undergo Surgery

This 49ers September is starting to look somewhat familiar. After losing starters Raheem Mostert and Jason Verrett for the season, the team will be down linebacker Dre Greenlaw for a while.

The promising defender is set to undergo groin surgery, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (on Twitter). Although this procedure is not set to knock Greenlaw out for the season, he is expected to miss four to six weeks, Barrows tweets. That timetable could be on the optimistic side, with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport noting Greenlaw could be down for eight weeks (Twitter link).

While this does not quite match the injury misfortune September 2020 brought the 49ers, the team left its opener with some significant health issues. Greenlaw and Fred Warner serve as San Francisco’s three-down linebackers. The former returned an interception for a touchdown in the 49ers’ 41-33 Week 1 win.

A 2019 fifth-round pick, Greenlaw has been a starter since his rookie season. He joined Warner in helping the 49ers transition post-Reuben Foster at linebacker, with Greenlaw also making high-priced addition Kwon Alexander expendable. Greenlaw finished last season with 86 tackles in 13 games during a season in which he missed some time due to a quadriceps injury. He was still one of San Francisco’s healthier starters during an injury-defined 2020 slate.

Azeez Al-Shaair is expected to take over Greenlaw’s every-down role alongside Warner, Barrows tweets, with Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles moving into the 49ers’ base sets as their third starting linebacker. Al-Shaair has started 10 games in three seasons, including San Francisco’s opener last week. A former UDFA like Al-Shaair, Flannigan-Fowles made one start in 2020.

49ers Add 10 Undrafted Free Agents

Teams continue to finalize their UDFA hauls. Here are the players who will try to make the 49ers’ 53-man roster:

Michigan’s starting quarterback in 2016, prior to a back injury that ended up costing him the job, Speight finished his career in Los Angeles and appeared in seven games for the 2018 Bruins. He threw just six touchdown passes in his lone UCLA campaign. He will become the fourth quarterback on the 49ers’ roster.

Garcia-Williams stands 6-foot-7 and is coming off a breakout year, when he recorded 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. He will compete for time along the edge for a San Francisco team suddenly much stronger at that spot. Givens profiles as an interior defender, a spot where the 49ers have been deep for years due to their continued first-round investments.

The 49ers guaranteed $25K of Mayfield’s base salary, along with a $10K signing bonus, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Mayfield comprised part of the 49ers’ pre-draft visitor list. Despite Henry totaling fewer than 400 yards at Division II West Georgia last year, the 49ers are guaranteeing him $90K, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required).