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.
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 Hufangato 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 49erswebzone.com’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 NFL.com’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.
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-year 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.
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:
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.
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 ESPN.com 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.
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.
Moore, who seemed likely to be taken during Day 3 of the draft, is the biggest name in this group. Moore led his team in tackles in all four of his seasons (interrupted by a medical redshirt year to rehab from a herniated disk in 2016), but evaluators worried about his lack of size and speed. The slim 6’2″ linebacker will now try to catch on as a reserve behind starters John Simon, Antonio Morrison, and Najee Goode.
The Colts seem well set at kicker with Adam Vinatieri under contract for another season, but Badgley will try to give him a run for his money. At The U, Badgley connected on 79.4% of his field goal tries, including a career-long 57-yarder in 2015.