Jarryd Hayne

NFC Rumors: Sproles, 49ers, Lions, Slay

Darren Sproles makes his offseason home in California and, on paper, his experience be a welcome addition to the 49ers‘ roster. However, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee can think of a few reasons why he wouldn’t be a great match for the Niners.

For one, the 49ers likely would be wary of striking a new deal with a runner who turns 33 next month. San Francisco has already bid farewell to several notable names that were north of 30, including Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and Anquan Boldin. And, even if SF really wanted him, the Eagles would probably be hesitant to help out their former head coach in any way. For what it’s worth, the Eagles say Sproles is not available, even though the team reportedly received trade inquiries on him during the draft.

Here’s more out of the NFC:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jets, Luck, Mebane, Hayne

Jets receiver Eric Decker told SiriusXM NFL on Tuesday afternoon that, right now, the Jets “have to move on without” free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, as a guest on NFL Total Access on Tuesday evening, he expressed confidence that the Jets and Fitzpatrick will ultimately get a deal done, writes Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.

“Something is going to happen. It might be before training camp, the day or two before, but I believe that he’ll be back on the team come this fall,” Decker said, though he did acknowledge that the two sides “are so far off” from each other when it comes to the quarterback’s dollar value.

In other NFL news…

  • It looks as if Colts quarterback Andrew Luck‘s injury-plagued 2015 campaign is behind him. The four-year veteran is participating in Colts workouts with “no limitations,” he said Tuesday (via Mike Wells of ESPN.com). After appearing in all of the Colts’ games during his first three seasons, Luck missed nine contests last year with injuries to his kidney, ribs and shoulder, and experienced a precipitous statistical decline while on the field. Now, Luck “looks really good,” according to head coach Chuck Pagano. As of late April, the Colts were focusing on an extension for Luck, whose deal expires at the end of the upcoming season. It’s likely a new contract for the 26-year-old would make him one of the league’s highest-paid players.
  • Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who signed with the Bolts in free agency, spoke effusively about the team’s defensive personnel Monday (per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune). “I was telling guys, there’s more talent on this defense than in Seattle. If you look at the draft, you’ve got four first-round draft picks. You’ve got five second-round draft picks, all total on defense. In Seattle, we only had two first rounders and one second rounder. Everybody else was pretty much down in the draft or undrafted.” Mebane is quite familiar with the Seahawks’ defense, of course, having spent the first nine years of his career in Seattle. Regardless of draft pedigree, however, the Seahawks has been among the NFL’s defensive elite over the past several years, whereas the Chargers’ stop unit was toward the bottom of the league in all notable categories last season. With Mebane and third overall pick Joey Bosa now aboard, at least some improvement should be in order this year.
  • Chip Kelly understood Jarryd Hayne‘s decision to retire in light of a potential Olympic rugby opportunity, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. On the subject of Hayne, the NFL’s drug-testing protocol may keep him out of the Olympics despite American football having no presence in the Games. Prospective Olympic athletes must be in a World Anti-Doping Agency-compliant pool for at least six months, Jamie Marcuson of the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The NFL does not fall under the WADA umbrella, and former Australian Anti-Doping Agency chief Richard Ings told Marcuson that Hayne has “no chance” of playing for his native Fiji this August as a result. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if Hayne’s exit strategy stemmed instead from the fact he didn’t have much of a chance to make the 49ers‘ 53-man roster.
  • Titans safety Rashad Johnson told SiriusXM (Twitter link) that the Cardinals expressed some interest in having him back, but did not make an offer.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Jarryd Hayne Retires

MONDAY, 5:30pm: The 49ers have officially put Hayne on reserve/retired list, tweets Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.

SUNDAY, 12:32pm: 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne has announced his retirement from the NFL, according to the team’s official website. Hayne, of course, was born in Australia and put together a very impressive rugby career before announcing in October 2014 that he intended to pursue his dream of playing in the the NFL.

Sep 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne (38) looks on during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In March of last year, the 49ers signed Hayne to a three-year deal, and he ultimately made the team’s 53-man roster on the heels of a successful preseason that only added to the considerable hype surrounding Hayne. He racked up only eight carries over San Francisco’s first six regular season games, though he did return at least one punt in each of those contests, including a memorable muffed punt in the team’s Week 1 matchup against the Vikings.

The 49ers waived Hayne on October 31, 2015, but he was ultimately re-signed to the club’s practice squad after clearing waivers. He was promoted from the practice squad back to the 53-man roster for the final two weeks of the season, picking up nine carries for 27 yards and five receptions for 20 yards in the team’s penultimate game against the Lions.

He finishes his NFL career with 17 carries for 52 yards and six receptions for 27 yards, to go along with eight punt returns for a total of 76 yards. He will return to the sport he starred in for so long, joining the Fiji Rugby Sevens for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Hayne and the 49ers have both issued formal statements, which can be found at the above link.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Extra Points: Manning, Hayne, Raiders, Eagles

The 49ers tried to lean on then-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s familiarity with Peyton Manning as a recruitment tool when they, the Titans and Broncos were finalists for the then-free agent’s services, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Fangio, the Bears’ current DC and then the 49ers’ defensive boss, was the Colts’ defensive coordinator under Jim Mora from 1999-01 and recalled the back-and-forths he had with the wunderkind quarterback during their time in Indianapolis. The two would verbally jostle in practices if Manning felt the defense was playing the wrong coverage, and Fangio would counter that the practices weren’t geared only to Manning success.

Fangio thought a 49ers talented defense that had the team on the cusp of Super Bowl XLVI the season prior would be the then-36-year-old quarterback’s ticket to another championship.

When we were talking to him about coming to the 49ers,” Fangio told Branch, “I told him we’d let him win in practice if he signed.”

Manning will play in the 49ers’ stadium Sunday, doing so in a non-preseason setting for the first time since since joining the Broncos.

Here’s the latest from around the league as the Pro Bowl’s conclusion leaves just one game remaining in the 2015 season.

  • Trent Baalke still sees a place for ex-rugby standout Jarryd Hayne on the 49ers even after a regime change, Michael Chammas of the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald reports. “[Chip Kelly is] excited to get his hands on him, the whole coaching staff is. We’ll find out in short order who fits and who doesn’t fit,” Baalke told Chammas. The Sydney-based reporter notes Hayne’s 2016 season will determine if he returns to the National Rugby League after that, with the 28-year-old being waived by the 49ers last season and re-signed to the team’s practice squad. “I think that there were enough signs that he was still ways away in respect to development, that we felt there was a good chance he would make it through waivers and we’d be able to put him on our practice,” Baalke said of the soon-to-be-28-year-old running back.
  • Ryan Clady earlier today said he’d be willing to rework his contract to help the Broncos, which would increase his chances of being on the team for a ninth season. Entering his age-30 campaign off of two season-ending injuries in three seasons, Clady intimated to Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press he’s ready for offseason work after undergoing surgery in June 2015, but said the Broncos may want him to skip OTAs to be ready for training camp. A former first-team All-Pro, Clady tore his ACL during OTAs last season, prompting the Broncos to sign current left tackle Ryan Harris as an emergency replacement.
  • The NFL doesn’t see Oakland coming up with a viable stadium plan in the near future, Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets. The Raiders are scouring the Pacific Time Zone for other avenues and haven’t discussed a new stadium since the owners’ meetings Jan. 12.
  • Sam Bradford faces a complex decision on whether to return to the Eagles, and the Texans will be their primary competition, should the seventh-year former No. 1 overall pick reach free agency, the Philadelphia Daily News writes. Paul Domowitch writes the Kelly trade target will depart due to the Texans having a superior defense and Doug Pederson‘s arrival negating the familiarity edge for the Eagles, while John Smallwood notes the Broncos could be in play, should they decide Brock Osweiler won’t be enough to keep them in the Super Bowl conversation. Overall, 11 of the 19 Daily News staffers polled, however, indicated Bradford would be back on the Eagles in ’16.

NFC West Notes: Dawson, Niners, Rams

49ers kicker Phil Dawson will turn 41 next month, which would make him one of the NFL’s oldest players, but the 17-year veteran wants to sign a new contract and continue his career next season, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Dawson also believes he can still handle kickoff duties, a role the Niners handed over to rookie punter Bradley Pinion this season.

“I miss [kicking off],” Dawson said. “I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of the game, and I still feel like I can do it. But Bradley has done a tremendous job, and he’s helped the team. So (there’s) no problem here on that front.”

For now, Dawson hasn’t spoken to the 49ers about signing an extension with the club, but he hopes to discuss the topic sometime after the regular season finale, and it sounds like he intends to convey an interest in remaining in San Francisco.

“When the proper time and place comes, I’ll definitely communicate how I feel about this place and how grateful I am to have been here for three seasons,” Dawson said. “But the time is not now for those conversations.”

Here’s more from around the NFC West:

  • The two running backs signed by the 49ers last week received multiyear deals, according to Maiocco, who tweets that DuJuan Harris was signed through 2016 and Jarryd Hayne was locked up through 2017.
  • The fact that the Rams get all stadium revenue for football, including naming rights, is a key aspect of St. Louis’ stadium proposal, says Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (Twitter links). The plan also includes a rebate on amusement tax, and revenue from the lease if an MLS team moves in, which should make it more appealing to the Rams and to the NFL.
  • With his contract set to expire at season’s end, Rams quarterback Case Keenum will be looking for a more permanent NFL home this winter, and he’s increasing his free agent value with a nice run to end the year. If he can lead the Rams to victory in San Francisco this weekend, Keenum will finish the season with four straight wins. Michael Wagaman of The Associated Press examines the QB’s situation.
  • Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu will go under the knife next Tuesday, undergoing a procedure to repair his torn right ACL, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com.

Sunday Roundup: Matthews, Dimitroff, Brees

As the NFL world continues to reel from the Peyton Manning HGH allegations, let’s take a look at some links from around the league:

  • Although the majority of the fallout from the Al Jazeera documentary has naturally focused on Manning, it should not be forgotten that other star players, like Packers LB Clay Matthews, were also named in the report. Per Mike Garafolo of FOXSports, via colleague Jay Glazer, Matthews has denied even knowing who former Guyer Institute intern Charlie Sly is and has naturally denied receiving any medications from him (Twitter link).
  • No one disputes that there is a talent deficiency on the Falcons roster, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says GM Thomas Dimitroff will not necessarily take the fall for that deficiency. Per Rapoport, owner Arthur Blank will sit down with Dimitroff after the season to hear his GM’s plan for the team moving forward, and Blank will make a decision about Dimitroff’s future then (Twitter links).
  • Speaking of embattled GMs, Kevin Patra of NFL.com (citing Rapoport) says Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey–who was essentially rendered superfluous when the team hired Mike Tannenbaum–will likely be fired at the end of the season.
  • Les Bowen of The Philadelphia Daily News has even more troubling news for Eagles fans, reporting that veteran left tackle Jason Peters took himself, unhurt, out of last night’s loss to Washington because he did not want to risk getting injured for a team that was not going to make the playoffs.
  • Following a report this morning that Drew Brees would need to take a hometown discount to remain with the Saints in 2016, former NFL agent Joel Corry weighs in on the matter in a series of tweets. Corry says that New Orleans will have to make a quick decision on Brees’ future, as $10.85MM of his $19.75MM base salary becomes fully guaranteed on February 10, 2016, the third day of the waiver period. Because there is no offset language in Brees’ deal, if the Saints were to wait until after February 10 to cut him, they would be saddled with nearly $21MM of dead money. As Corry points out, that reality gives Brees a great deal of leverage, which should allow him to “slow play” contract negotiations.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com looks at the dilemma the Panthers will face this offseason when deciding whether to re-sign Josh Norman, put the franchise tag on him, or let him walk in free agency.
  • Citing a league source, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee tweets that the 49ers plan to keep Jarryd Hayne on the team’s active roster through the end of the season, thereby allowing San Francisco to keep Hayne under club control for 2016.

49ers Send Alex Boone To IR, Sign Jarryd Hayne

The 49ers placed fourth-year starter Alex Boone on injured reserve and signed Jarryd Hayne from their practice squad, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports (on Twitter).

Boone missed last week’s game with a knee injury but has started 59 games since starting his career at right guard at the outset of the 2012 season.

The 28-year-old former undrafted free agent will enter unrestricted free agency this offseason.

Boone will enter that courting period, however, on the heels of an ineffective season, according to Pro Football Focus, which rates the 49ers’ starting left guard 40th among guards this season. The Ohio State product was a second-team All-Pro selection in 2012.

Hayne returns to the active roster after spending the past two months on San Francisco’s practice squad. The 27-year-old ex-rugby standout’s played six games this season, mostly as a special-teamer,

NFC West Notes: Hayne, Brown, Fauria

The 49ers and Rams don’t have much to play for other than pride during the last two weeks of the NFL season, but both teams still have plenty to learn about their roster before the offseason. Here are a few players that could have a lot riding on Week 16 and 17 for the bottom two teams in the division.

  • With Shaun Draughn set to miss this Sunday’s action with injury, America’s favorite former rugby star Jarryd Hayne could be on track to get promoted from the practice squad back to the 49ers active roster, writes Cam Inman of MercuryNews.com. He would be the third running back, but getting called up depends if he would be one of the 46 players to dress for the game.
  • 49ers rookie offensive tackle Trent Brown saw his first significant action last week, playing the fourth quarter at right tackle after guard Marcus Martin suffered a concussion. Erik Pears had been filling in for Anthony Davis at right tackle, but slid over with the injury opening up room for Brown to play. He did a good job against Carlos Dunlap, and is set to start this Sunday, writes Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. More importantly, at close to 6’9″ and nearly 350 pounds, the physical specimen could potentially go from undrafted free agent to the future at right tackle in San Francisco if his work ethic can catch up to his natural gifts.
  • Tight end Joseph Fauria visited with the Rams, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Fauria most recently was on the Patriots’ practice squad, but is best remembered for his 2013 season, when he caught 18 passes but seven of them went for scores with Matthew Stafford and the Lions.

NFC West Notes: Mathieu, Rams, 49ers, Lynch

Tyrann Mathieu‘s season-ending ACL tear did come with some positive news. Bruce Arians informed media the standout defender’s tear is “clean,” unlike the ACL and LCL tear the Cardinals‘ third-year dynamo suffered in Dec. 2013, NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling reports.

Arians hopes Mathieu will be ready for OTAs, as Carson Palmer was following his late-season tear in 2014.

The former LSU star boasted a brace on his right knee and was instructing Arizona defensive backs on the practice field Wednesday.

Here is some more from the NFC West.

  • Rams starters Robert Quinn and T.J. McDonald went on injured reserve just before Mathieu, and both St. Louis defenders underwent successful surgeries this week, Joe Lyons of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Both Quinn (back) and McDonald (shoulder) should be back for OTAs in April, Lyons adds. “From a timing standpoint, we needed to do it, just so we could get (McDonald) in the offseason program. Both of them will be fine early in the offseason,” Jeff Fisher told media, including Lyons.
  • Although Fisher noted Stedman Bailey‘s injuries were severe enough to end his NFL career, the third-year Rams wideout returned home from the hospital a month after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to the head, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports.
  • Marshawn Lynch will return to an altered Seahawks offense now that Russell Wilson‘s taken his game to a higher level. A faster Seahawks tempo will be an adjustment for the Pro Bowl running back, offensive line coach Tom Cable told media (including Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree). “We’re counting on him to get healthy whenever that is and then once that happens, it’s for him to come back in and be able to adapt to this football team and the way it acts and the way it’s moving right now collectively,” Cable said. “That will be his challenge, but right now his number one thing is getting healthy.” Pete Carroll remains iffy on when the 29-year-old bruiser will return, noting there’s “a chance” he’s back by the time Seattle plays its wild card game in just more than two weeks. PFT’s Mike Florio continues to opine that Lynch, due to occupy an $11.5MM cap number in 2016, will not be back with the Seahawks next season.
  • 49ers GM Trent Baalke has been out on the practice field instructing defenders, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes, despite his only coaching experience coming as the defensive line/strength and conditioning coach at South Dakota in the early 1990s. Although it’s unlikely 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini would tell one of his bosses to step off here, the former Jets head coach said Baalke hasn’t been shy about helping out on the field. “I haven’t been everywhere, but there are some GMs who might not be as present and maybe that works for their style,” Mangini told media. “For these guys it’s a little bit different and Trent has always been on the field at different points.”
  • The 49ers’ No. 1 need going into 2016 will be on their offensive front, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes. Although Barrows offers recently retired right tackle Anthony Davis could well return for his age-26 season, the Northern California scribe obviously notes the team cannot count on him. Both starting guards, Alex Boone and Andrew Tiller, are due to be free agents.
  • Jarryd Hayne remains in the 49ers’ plans going forward despite being passed over for a late-season promotion onto the active roster, 49ers OC Geep Chryst told media (including Maiocco). The former rugby star not being as likely to be active on game day as newly signed DuJuan Harris led to the 49ers leaving Hayne on the practice squad.


Extra Points: Pettine, Scobee, Hayne

Earlier this week, Browns coach Mike Pettine said Russell Wilson wasn’t in the top tier of quarterbacks. On Friday, the Seahawks responded.

Defensive end Michael Bennett was quite vocal about Pettine’s comments, questioning the coach’s ability to evaluate quarterbacks. In particular, Bennett was trashing the team’s handling of Johnny Manziel, who the Seahawks will face off against this Sunday.

“Obviously he’s not good at picking quarterbacks,” Bennett said during an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “Maybe he doesn’t know what elite is. I think that Russell Wilson is very elite. He’s been to two Super Bowls. It’s only his fourth year. I don’t think a lot of guys can say that.

“There’s a lot of guys with a lot of passing yards that haven’t had any success and don’t even go to the playoffs, like Philip Rivers and guys like that. Drew Brees hasn’t been to the playoffs in two years. So Russell Wilson is definitely an elite quarterback, and he can lead a team. … I think Russell Wilson has done a great job of proving that he is up there at the top tier of players.”

Let’s take a look at some more assorted notes from around the league…

  • After spending more than a decade with the Jaguars, kicker Josh Scobee was traded to the Steelers this past offseason. Despite the surprising move, the 33-year-old wasn’t angry at his former team. “I was very fortunate to have been here for 11 years, and I’m happy I was here that long,” he told Garry Smits of Jacksonville.com. “I’ve never had any animosity to the team. I understand the business end of it and I’m looking forward to the next stage of his career. I’m always going to be a Jaguar at heart.”
  • The veteran only lasted four games in Pittsburgh, as the squad cut him loose following an inconsistent start to the year. Scobee blamed his issues on a pair of muscle injuries in his kicking leg, but he acknowledged that he expects to play next season. “I’m just now healthy enough to where I’m open to going to a new team,” he said. “No one really knew about it [the injuries] because I just didn’t talk about it. After I got released, I didn’t talk about it.” The kicker said he’s been in contact with eight teams.
  • Former rugby star Jarryd Hayne hasn’t had the best rookie campaign, as three fumbles led to him being demoted to the 49ers practice squad. Still, the running back has been pleased with his progress. “It’s definitely been a great year. I overachieved what I ever expected,” Hayne told Chris Biderman of the Associated Press. “I think what people don’t realize that every day for me is like a month to everyone else because of the way I pick things up and the way I learn…I just feel like in these short six weeks that I’ve been on the practice squad, I learned so much. There was two weeks where I literally took every single rep in the look-card squad. That was huge. The most reps I took in a row (before that) was probably three or four.”