Drake Jackson (DE)

49ers Work Out CB Casey Hayward, Expect Arik Armstead Back For Playoffs

Jason Verrett ran into yet another unfortunate setback last week, suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in practice. The 49ers are looking at adding another veteran cornerback as insurance.

Enter Casey Hayward, whom KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes worked out for the 49ers on Tuesday. Hayward, 34, has not played this season. But the 49ers, as their continued Verrett interest and past in-season additions show, place value on veteran corners in the event of injuries to regulars. They again want a veteran corner on their practice squad, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows.

San Francisco brought in the likes of Jackrabbit Jenkins, Josh Norman, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard from 2021-22; that group joined Verrett, whom the team continued to prioritize in recent offseasons despite his near-annual injury troubles. Hayward spent last season with the Falcons, but the team cut him early during the 2023 offseason.

The former Packers, Chargers and Raiders cover man played well in 2021, garnering a two-year, $11MM Atlanta agreement in March 2022. But he sustained a shoulder injury that limited him to six games last season. A 118-game starter who played on five straight Gus Bradley-run defenses from 2017-21, Hayward was medically cleared this summer. The 49ers are in fairly good shape at corner, with Charvarius Ward making the Pro Bowl and Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and ex-Hayward Falcons teammate Isaiah Oliver in place as sidekicks.

More relevant to the No. 1-seeded team’s Super Bowl chase: Arik Armstead appears set to return from his latest injury trouble. The veteran defensive tackle has missed the past five games due to foot and knee injuries. Armstead will practice this week, and Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch) he could have played against the Rams — had the team needed to win its regular-season finale. A ninth-year 49er, Armstead has been pivotal to the team’s Nick Bosa-era D-lines. He is set to team with Bosa, Javon Hargrave and Chase Young upon returning for the divisional round.

The 49ers also designated safety George Odum for return from IR, ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner tweets. Odum, used primarily on special teams during his San Francisco tenure, suffered a biceps injury on Thanksgiving. While that malady was expected to sideline the former All-Pro for the season’s remainder, Odum will be in play to return for the 49ers’ divisional-round game.

The news on safety Tayler Hawkins and defensive end Clelin Ferrell is not as good. Ferrell is likely to miss a few weeks due to a knee injury, Shanahan said. The seventh-year HC did stop short of saying this is a season-ending setback, however. Despite the arrivals of Young and Randy Gregory, Ferrell — who had drifted to healthy-scratch status at points with the Raiders — has started all 17 games this season. Hawkins, a rookie UDFA who made his NFL debut in Sunday’s nonessential Rams tilt, suffered a season-ending wrist injury, the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman notes.

Shanahan added Drake Jackson, who has been on IR since November with a knee injury, is not healthy enough to practice. In the event Odum comes back and Jackson is healthy enough to return, the 49ers are in good shape for injury activations. After using all eight of their IR-return moves during the regular season last year, they have five activations left.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/11/23

The NFL’s minor moves, including gameday callups for Sunday of Week 10:

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Latest On 49ers, DE Nick Bosa

Chris Jones and Zack Martin‘s holdouts qualified as more contentious than Nick Bosa‘s, but like the Chiefs interior defensive line standout, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year is close to missing regular-season time.

Bosa still has a few more days to sign an extension and end his holdout, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes the 49ers have moved past one hurdle as they attempt to finalize this deal. As expected, Bosa will soon become the NFL’s highest-paid edge defender. The 49ers have offered Bosa at least $30MM per year, as we heard late last week. T.J. Watt‘s $28MM-AAV deal has paced the edge rusher market since September 2021.

The issue of Bosa passing Aaron Donald‘s defender-record deal, which averages $31.7MM per year, still looms. More specifically, the topic of the $5MM roster bonus the Rams gave Donald as part of his guarantee package is part of the Bosa-49ers equation, Rapoport adds. This would seem a small barrier to negotiate, but the parties are running short on time to have Bosa in uniform for the San Francisco-Pittsburgh opener.

If Bosa is not uniform for the 49ers against the Steelers, they are prepared to start free agency pickup Clelin Ferrell and 2022 second-rounder Drake Jackson, The Athletic’s Matt Barrows tweets. This would mark a dramatic change for Ferrell, a bust with the Raiders after being the No. 4 overall pick in 2019. The 49ers have done well to coax quality play from discarded veteran D-linemen in recent years, and it will be interesting to see what D-line coach Kris Kocurek generates from Ferrell, a healthy scratch at points last year in Las Vegas. Ferrell signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal in March.

Bosa’s presence has helped the revolving cast of veteran defensive ends operate, however, and the 49ers have let this matter run up against the regular season. They are still expected to waive Bosa fines for skipping training camp, which the CBA permits for holdouts on rookie contracts, separating this from the Chiefs-Jones impasse. The 49ers have budgeted for a Bosa extension for years, but this journey’s completion is proving difficult.

The guarantees on Bosa’s contract will most likely dwarf Donald’s, as those were part of a three-year deal. The Steelers gave Watt a defender-most $80MM guaranteed at signing; Joey Bosa received $78MM locked in from the Chargers back in 2020. It will be interesting to see if Nick Bosa ends up on a lengthy contract like Trent Williams, who signed a six-year deal in 2021, or a medium-term pact like Deebo Samuel (three years).

Donald staged a holdout ahead of his fourth season and missed the first two games of the Rams’ 2017 season. The circumstances behind that differed, though the Rams did waive Donald’s fines and paid him for Week 1. That holdout came in Sean McVay‘s first season, when little was expected of a retooling Rams team. The 49ers are again a Super Bowl contender, a status Bosa helped restore after he missed most of a down 2020 season with an ACL tear. Not having the 25-year-old standout in a road game against the Steelers may well impact the NFC’s home-field advantage chase four months from now.

NFC West Rumors: Seahawks OL, Jackson, Greenlaw, Humphries

With Brandon Shell departing in free agency and Duane Brown and Ethan Pocic now rostered with the Jets and Browns, respectively, the Seahawks have had a bit of work this offseason piecing their offensive line back together. Seattle may even be in the extremely rare position of bookending their offensive line with two rookie tackles, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

While Charles Cross has long been expected to start for the Seahawks on the blindside as the No. 9 overall pick in the draft, it appears that third-round pick Abraham Lucas is currently favored to man the tackle spot opposite Cross. The most recent instance of this in the NFL that I could find is back in 2012 when the Cardinals were forced to start seventh-round pick Nate Potter across from fourth-round pick Bobby Massie late in the season. That was a result of some injuries, though. The last time a team started the season with two rookie offensive tackles, I believe, was in 2009 when Jacksonville trotted out in Week 1 with first-round pick Eugene Monroe at left tackle and second-round pick Eben Britton at right tackle.

Additionally, while the Seahawks return Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis as the starting guards from last year, backup guard Phil Haynes has reportedly been pushing both for playing time this offseason. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Brady Henderson, head coach Pete Carroll had plenty of good things to say about Haynes.

“Phil could start. He plays like a starter,” Carroll extolled. He looks like a starter out there and he’s pushing Gabe, he really is. He’s our guy that’s swinging right and left side right now. If he had to start for either guy right now, I would feel absolutely comfortable…I feel like we’ve got three starting guards right now that we could play and be fine with.”

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC West, starting with a couple rumors from the Bay Area:

  • The 49ers used a second-round pick this year to select Drake Jackson, a big-bodied defensive end out of USC. But they are determined not to limit Jackson to the outside of the line, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. San Francisco has been lining Jackson up all over the defensive line this offseason, placing him not only on both ends but at defensive tackle, as well.
  • When the 49ers rush an extra defensive back on the field in passing situations, one of their three starting linebackers is going to have to come off the field. When asked which starting linebacker would stay on the field with Fred Warner in those situations, Barrows posited that it had to be Dre Greenlaw. Barrows went on to say that the only way Azeez Al-Shaair would take hold over the No. 2 linebacker spot in San Francisco is if Greenlaw is injured.
  • Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries recently signed a three-year, $51.76MM extension. According to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the deal has a guaranteed amount of $32.82MM consisting of a $17MM signing bonus, the 2022 salary of $3.82MM, $4MM of the 2023 salary, and the 2023 roster bonus of $8.24MM. Additionally, the 28-year-old tackle can earn a per game active bonus of $14,117 for a potential season total of $240,000.

49ers Sign Entire 9-Man Draft Class

In the middle of their second week of OTAs, the 49ers managed to sign all their draft picks in a day. Each of San Francisco’s nine draftees agreed to terms on their four-year rookie contracts Thursday.

Because no first-rounders were part of this class, because of the 49ers’ Trey Lance trade-up, none of this group has a fifth-year option in his contract. While second- and third-rounders’ deals occasionally cause issues, this year being a moderately interesting one for Round 2 choices due to guaranteed years, each of the three 49ers Day 2 choices is locked in.

The 49ers began their draft by taking USC edge rusher Drake Jackson at No. 61 overall. Jackson, who recorded 12.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss in three Trojans seasons, will be expected to play at least a rotational role for the 49ers this year. Jackson received $3.14MM of his $5.8MM slot deal guaranteed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

San Francisco’s Dee Ford bet largely did not pay off. Ford is expected to be released soon. The team brought back Kerry Hyder, after his one-and-done Seattle tenure, and signed ex-Colts second-rounder Kemoko Turay. Ex-Ram Samson Ebukam also remains on the 49ers’ roster, after signing last year. But Jackson will certainly be expected to be part of the 49ers’ Nick Bosa-fronted edge mix as a rookie.

San Francisco added third-round skill-position players Tyrion Davis-Price (No. 93) and Danny Gray (No. 105) as well. Davis-Price, a 211-pound LSU-produced running back, joins 2021 third-rounder Trey Sermon, starter Elijah Mitchell and veteran Jeff Wilson in San Francisco’s crowded-looking backfield. Davis-Price left LSU after his junior season — a 1,003-yard slate. A 5-foot-11 wideout, Gray played a prominent role in SMU’s pass-happy offense. A former Texas 3A 100-meter champion while in high school, Gray caught 49 passes for 803 yards and nine touchdowns as an SMU senior.

Here are the draft picks the 49ers are set to take into minicamp and training camp:

Round 2: No. 61 Drake Jackson, DE (USC) (signed)
Round 3: No. 93 Tyrion Davis-Price, RB (LSU) (signed)
Round 3: No. 105 Danny Gray, WR (SMU) (signed)
Round 4: No. 134 Spencer Burford, OL (Texas-San Antonio) (signed)
Round 5: No. 172 Samuel Womack, CB (Toledo) (signed)
Round 6: No. 187 (from Broncos) Nick Zakelj, OT (Fordham) (signed)
Round 6: No. 220 Kalia Davis, DT (Central Florida) (signed)
Round 6: No. 221 Tariq Castro-Fields, CB (Penn State) (signed)
Round 7: No. 262 Brock Purdy, QB (Iowa State) (signed)