George Odum

Talanoa Hufanga Targeting Week 1 Return; Ji’Ayir Brown Likely To Remain 49ers Starter

Dre Greenlaw was not the only 49ers defensive standout unavailable for the conclusion of Super Bowl LVIII; the team played the stretch run without All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga. The two-year starter’s late-season ACL tear leaves his status for 2024 in question.

Hufanga suffered the injury during the 49ers’ Thanksgiving win over the Seahawks. It is not certain Hufanga joins Greenlaw as starters sidelined to open the season, but the contract-year DB is still a ways away from being ready to return.

The goal is to ready by Week 1,” Hufanga said, via’s David Bonilla. “The goal is to be in training camp, not at the very beginning, but to ramp me up correctly, just so it’s not, ‘Throw you out there to the wolves and good luck.'”

A former fifth-round pick, Hufanga showed himself to be a difference-maker at safety during the 2022 season. He became the second 49ers safety this century, joining Dashon Goldson (2012), to earn first-team All-Pro acclaim. Hufanga, 25, profiles as an extension candidate for a 49ers team flush with those. In the secondary alone, Hufanga joins Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir as contract-year cogs. Ward is targeting a 49ers extension; Hufanga stands to be in this conversation upon return from his knee injury.

After a four-interception 2022, Hufanga picked off three passes before his injury last season. The 49ers moved third-round rookie Ji’Ayir Brown into the lineup alongside Tashaun Gipson. Although Gipson has come up as a player the 49ers would consider re-signing, the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman notes Brown looks to be locked into a starting role. This would shift the conversation of a San Francisco safety addition to that player merely being a placeholder until Hufanga returns.

The 49ers signed De’Vondre Campbell for a gig like this, as the three-year Packers starter is expected to begin the season as a three-down linebacker alongside Fred Warner until Greenlaw returns. Brown moving to a level in which the 49ers feel comfortable using him as a full-timer would change the conversation at safety, and it would give the defending NFC champions a low-cost piece on a team featuring several contract situations. Brown’s rookie contract runs through 2026.

The Penn State product started five games in place of Hufanga during the regular season and was in San Francisco’s lineup for its three playoff outings. He intercepted a Patrick Mahomes pass in the Super Bowl. While Gipson started the past two seasons with the 49ers, the well-traveled veteran has played 12 seasons and is not a lock to pursue a 13th.

San Francisco drafted Malik Mustapha in the fourth round and used All-Pro special-teamer George Odum as the first-stringer alongside Brown during the offseason program. If Gipson does not want to play an age-34 season, the 49ers would have some options as veteran insurance while Hufanga rehabs. A few free agent safeties, however, probably view themselves as overqualified for a placeholder/insurance gig. While the market includes Justin Simmons, Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams, they will likely hold out for a better opportunity. Marcus Maye and Eddie Jackson join this trio as unattached, and opportunities might be scarce come training camp. This should put the 49ers in good position to add if they choose to.

49ers To Extend S George Odum

George Odum did not profile as a free agent the 49ers wanted to retain, but the veteran special-teamer remains in the club’s plans. San Francisco has reached an Odum extension agreement.

The All-Pro special-teamer’s deal will now run through 2026, via’s Tom Pelissero, who reports the team and player have agreed to a deal worth up to $10MM. Odum has been with the 49ers since 2022.

Sporting first- and second-team All-Pro nods over a six-year career, the former Colts safety made an unexpected return to help the 49ers last season. Suffering what was believed to be a season-ending biceps injury on Thanksgiving, but he made it back during the NFC playoffs. The 49ers are extending this partnership soon after.

Sustaining an injury that required surgery, Odum rehabbed and was activated from IR in time for the 49ers’ divisional-round game. He played in each of San Francisco’s playoff contests, helping the team play even with the Chiefs until their overtime walk-off. Odum, 30, does not play much on defense. But the 49ers have used him often on special teams. The ex-Colts UDFA logged 79% of the 49ers’ ST work in 2022 — a second-team All-Pro season — and was on the field for 69% of those plays last season.

49ers Activate S George Odum, Place DE Clelin Ferrell On IR

Shortly after losing starting safety Talanoa Hufanga for the year to a torn ACL, the 49ers were worried that they would be down another body in the secondary after George Odum suffered a biceps injury that the team feared could be season-ending. Luckily, they were wrong. San Francisco activated Odum off of injured reserve today, opening a roster spot for him by placing defensive end Clelin Ferrell on IR in his place.

Odum, a former undrafted free agent, signed a three-year contract with the 49ers after a breakout year that saw him start seven games for the Colts. Up until that breakout season, Odum had seen most of his use coming on special teams. The patient defender was given his opportunity to start thanks to multiple injuries to starters Khari Willis and Andrew Sendejo. He took advantage of that opportunity, finishing sixth on the team with 55 total tackles while recording an interception and two passes defensed. While Odum may not be a game changer on the 49ers defense, the depth he provides at safety will be a welcome one as San Francisco starts their 2023 playoffs.

Ferrell, a former top-four pick out of Clemson, has ultimately failed to live up to his draft stock over his five years in the league. After seeing his fifth-year option declined by the Raiders, Ferrell signed a one-year deal to come to San Francisco. Despite not meeting expectations in Las Vegas, Ferrell stepped in as a full-time starter for the 49ers this season. Ferrell hasn’t been very productive as a pass rusher (only 3.5 sacks), but he hasn’t needed to be as Nick Bosa (10.5), Javon Hargrave (7.0), and Arik Armstead (5.0) have fed off of their combined pass rushing effort. With Ferrell out with a knee injury, trade acquisition Chase Young, who has been coming off the bench since being acquired before Week 10, will once again step into a starting role.

In addition to the two IR transactions, the team also announced their standard gameday practice squad elevations for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Defensive tackles Alex Barrett and T.Y. McGill will be called up to add some depth to the defensive line against the Packers tonight.

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,’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: 11/27/23

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Waived from reserve/retired list: WR John Ross

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Ross signed a reserve/futures deal with the Chiefs in January but retired before training camp. The Combine 40-yard dash record holder now intends to resume his career, according to’s Mike Garafolo. Ross, who turned 28 today, has not played in a regular-season game since 2021 with the Giants.

A Raiders spring signee, Shelley did not make Las Vegas’ 53-man roster. The Rams picked him up before the season and have used him mostly on special teams. Shelley, who Bears and Vikings prior to this two-team 2023, has logged 76 defensive snaps this season. But the veteran cornerback has been on the field for 65% of Los Angeles’ special teams plays.

49ers Fear S George Odum Will Miss Rest Of Season

Back in dominant form after a midseason slump, the 49ers did not escape their one-sided Thanksgiving win without another major injury. A week after losing Talanoa Hufanga to a torn ACL, San Francisco is likely to be without George Odum moving forward.

The veteran special-teamer left Thursday’s game after sustaining a biceps injury, and Kyle Shanahan said (via’s David Bonilla) the All-Pro role player “most likely” suffered a tear. Odum, 30, is in his second season with the 49ers.

An MRI has since confirmed a tear, per’s Tom Pelissero, though with this a two- to four-month recovery, the possibility of Odum coming back late in the season remains open. The 49ers have a better injury outlook compared to 2022, when they used all eight of their IR activations during the regular season. An Odum return sounds doubtful, but the team could probably make it work roster-wise.

Odum left the game after DeeJay Dallas‘ muffed punt gave the 49ers possession in the second quarter. The 49ers may not feel this impact their secondary directly, but the depth is running thin at this position. Signed to a three-year, $5.7MM deal during the 2022 offseason, Odum has played only 37 defensive snaps this year. This comes after he logged 38 in 2022. But the 49ers are set to lose a top-tier special teams talent and a player with some starting experience on defense.

Coming to San Francisco from Indianapolis, Odum started seven games for the Colts in 2021. He has also collected two All-Pro honors for ST work, earning first-team acclaim in 2020 and second-team recognition after his first 49ers season. The former UDFA has 12 tackles this season.

The 49ers played their Week 12 game with three safeties — Odum and starters Tashaun Gipson and Ji’Ayir Brown. At least one roster move will come out of this latest injury setback. The team lost Jimmie Ward in free agency but added Brown in Round 3 of this year’s draft. While second-year UDFA Tayler Hawkins resides on San Francisco’s practice squad, the NFC West leaders may need to look outside the organization for a depth piece in the wake of Hufanga and Odum’s injuries.

49ers S Talanoa Hufanga Suffers Torn ACL

NOVEMBER 20: Shanahan confirmed on Monday that Hufanga did indeed tear his ACL. His third season with the team – one in which he appeared to be on his way to a second straight Pro Bowl nod – is over as a result. San Francisco’s secondary will be significantly shorthanded for the rest of the campaign.

NOVEMBER 19: It’s safe to say the 49ers have rebounded strongly from their three-game losing streak with two straight wins as they’ve continued to get healthy. That march towards perfect health will take a step back, though, as it looks like San Francisco will be without starting safety Talanoa Hufanga for the remainder of season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Hufanga “most likely” suffered an ACL injury, per Jake Hutchinson of KNBR.

Hufanga has quietly become one of the league’s top safeties. After a quiet start to his rookie year as a fifth-round pick, Hufanga found playing time filling in for an injured Jaquiski Tartt in the middle of the season. After that, the 49ers staff got creative in trying to fit Hufanga into more packages for the rest of the year. When Tartt’s contract expired at the end of the season, San Francisco decided to invest a bit more in the youthful option out of USC.

Hufanga became a starter in his sophomore season and exploded onto the scene. During a season in which he demonstrated his physicality with nearly 100 tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles, Hufanga showed his true range as a safety with nine passes defensed and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, as well. He was rewarded for his efforts with a Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selection.

So far this year, Hufanga has continued his stellar play. Before falling to injury today, he was well on track to match or exceed his tackle-total from last year and could’ve surpassed last year’s four-interception performance with three already and seven games to go. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) even noted an improvement in Hufanga’s game this season, rating him as the league’s 13th best safety after ranking him at 23 last year.

With Hufanga out today, the 49ers relied on a two-man front to replace him in Ji’Ayir Brown and George Odum. Odum had gotten more run than Brown so far this season, but Brown put up such a stellar performance in the team’s win over the Buccaneers today that a bigger role could be in the works for the third-round rookie out of Penn State. Given his most playing time of the year, Brown was all over the field with four tackles, three passes defensed, and his first career interception. If Brown continues to play like that, the 49ers should feel pretty good lining him up next to Tashaun Gipson as a starter. If not, a rotation with Odum, a veteran with some starting experience, could ensue.

This isn’t Hufanga’s first time suffering a season-ending injury as a broken collarbone ended his freshman year with the Trojans. An ACL tear is a different monster, though. Hopefully, the young All-Pro will prove his resilience with a relatively quick recovery from what seems to be a season-ending injury.

NFC West Notes: Rams, Hopkins, Seahawks

Coming off disappointing seasons, the Cardinals and Rams may be looking to make high-profile cost cuts. DeAndre Hopkins and Jalen Ramsey may well be available in trades, with the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora noting deals involving the two former All-Pros will come down to “when” and they are moved and not “if.” Both Ramsey and Hopkins have already been traded, each moving from the AFC South to the NFC West — Ramsey in 2019 and Hopkins in 2020. Although Ramsey required two first-round picks to be pried from Jacksonville, La Canfora adds neither player should be expected to bring in the kind of haul fans would anticipate.

Both talents are signed to lucrative extensions. Ramsey’s five-year, $100MM deal (which set the cornerback market in 2020) runs through 2025. Hopkins’ $27.25MM contract runs through 2024. Ramsey, 28, should be expected to command more in a trade compared to Hopkins, 30. Coming off a suspension- and injury-limited 2022, latter has been rumored to be a possible trade chip. Several teams called the Cardinals on Hopkins at the deadline. Ramsey, however, has been a dependable piece in L.A. His exit would leave the Rams vulnerable at corner, considering they have rotated low-cost pieces around Ramsey at the position for years.

A Ramsey trade before June 1 is not especially palatable for the Rams, who are again projected to enter the offseason over the cap. Dealing the All-Pro talent after that date, however, would save the team $17MM. The Rams having not restructured Ramsey’s deal makes a trade something to monitor, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue notes (subscription required). Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • This season’s Rams staff did not particularly appeal to Sean McVay by season’s end, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Upon returning, McVay is expected to make staff changes. This may have been behind the Rams’ call to allow their position coaches to interview for other jobs without the threat of blocking the meeting. Whatever the reason, the Rams’ staff should look different in 2023. McVay also likely has a bit of regret of not taking a major TV job last year, per King, who adds no top-level gig was on the table for the six-year Rams HC this year.
  • The Rams will attempt to extend one of their UFA-to-be D-line starters (A’Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines), Rodrigue adds, but probably will not keep both. A former sixth-round pick who has started for the past two seasons, Gaines appears likelier — per Rodrigue — to be the team’s higher priority. Robinson’s expected market value could price out the Rams, who have Aaron Donald making a cool $10MM more than any other interior D-lineman.
  • Jamal Adams, who suffered a torn quad tendon in Week 1, remains without a timetable, Pete Carroll said this week. Jordyn Brooks‘ ACL surgery is scheduled for Friday. The late-season ACL tear will make top Seahawks tackler a candidate to begin next season on the PUP list. Surgery could be in the cards for tight end Will Dissly, but he will first attempt to rehab his knee injury without a procedure (Twitter links via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).
  • Despite issues in the first season under DC Clint Hurtt, the Seahawks are planning neither staff changes nor a move back to a 4-3 defense, Carroll said. Seattle, which brought in Hurtt and ex-Bears DC Sean Desai to install a Vic Fangio-style scheme, finished outside the top 20 in yards, points and DVOA this season.
  • The second-team All-Pro nod 49ers special-teamer George Odum received will increase his 2023 base salary by $250K, Field Yates of tweets. Odum, who signed with the 49ers in 2022 after a Colts tenure, will also collect a $250K incentive for the All-Pro nod. Odum led the league with 21 special teams tackles. Attached to a three-year deal worth $5.7MM, Odum has become one of the NFL’s best special-teamers. He earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2020.

49ers Sign S George Odum

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Colts, George Odum is off to the NFC. The safety and special teams ace is signing with the 49ers, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It’s a three-year deal worth $10.95MM.

“I wanted to start out by saying how grateful I am to the city of Indianapolis and the Colts organization,” Odum said in a statement on Twitter. “I wanted to thank Mr. Irsay and Ballard for giving a kid from Central Arkansas an opportunity to play in the NFL! I also wanted to thank Dodds, Reich, Flus, Allen, Bubba and many more for always believing in me and helping me grow both on and off the field! I wanted to thank each and every teammate that helped push me and help me grow over the past 4 years!”

Odum was an undrafted free agent out of Central Arkansas in 2018, and he ended up transforming into one of the best gunners in the NFL. Odum earned a first-team All-Pro nod for special teams in 2020 after leading the NFL with 21 special teams tackles.

The 28-year-old played a larger role on defense in 2021, appearing in a career-high 43 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. He saw time in 17 games (seven starts), collecting a career-high 55 tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/16/21

Tomorrow is the deadline for NFL teams to extend tender offers to their own restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents. We’ll keep tabs on the latest here: