Jeff Wilson

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Akers, Reddick, Ward

The 49ers capitalized at the trade deadline Tuesday, acquiring a fifth-round pick in exchange for running back Jeff Wilson. When the offer came in from Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, it was an easy decision for 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan to make, as they had already agreed on the lowest possible compensation they would take for Wilson, according to Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports.

Wilson was strategically available in this fashion due to the 49ers’ recent acquisition of former Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey“You can only keep so many, just from a roster approach,” Lynch told the media. “We knew when we made the Christian move, someone was going to have to go, and, ultimately, Jeff’s the one.”

San Francisco will move forward with McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell (currently on injured reserve), rookie third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price, and undrafted rookie Jordan Mason. In Miami, Wilson will reunite with backfield-mate Raheem Mostert and head coach Mike McDaniel. He’ll also compete for snaps with Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin.

Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC West, starting with some insight in LA:

  • After lots of talk around trading running back Cam Akers, the Rams retained the 23-year-old back, allowing him to return to the team. Akers has insisted on multiple occasions that “he didn’t know why he was asked to leave the team,” according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN. He spoke in the locker room and told Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic that “at no point did he ask the Rams for a trade or release.” Regardless, he reported that a conversation he had with head coach Sean McVay yesterday was good for both parties and that Akers and his teammates are glad to have him back around the team.
  • After three average years in the Cardinals‘ defense, linebacker Haason Reddick made a request that would save his career, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic. Underachieving as an inside linebacker led Arizona to decline the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option. In an act of desperation, Reddick suggested to his coaches that he revert back to the pass rushing position he excelled at in college, taking advantage of the team’s star pass rusher, Chandler Jones, going to IR. He had been considered too small to succeed at the NFL level as a pass rusher, but the circumstances left Arizona with little choice. Reddick would finish the year with 12.5 sacks, leading to the resurgence of his young career.
  • It took a while for 49ers veteran defensive back Jimmie Ward to find success in the NFL. For three years, San Francisco tried to force Ward into a nickelback role before eventually settling him into success at free safety. Now, at 31-years-old, Ward has been asked to return to a nickel cornerback role, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. After playing only one snap in the first six games of the season due to a hamstring injury and a broken hand, Ward lost his starting job to Tashaun Gipson, who has simply played well in Ward’s absence. Now, with Gipson firmly at free safety and Ward coming back from injury with a club cast, Ward’s role comes at nickel corner. He’s accepted the circumstances and his new role moving forward with the team.

49ers To Trade RB Jeff Wilson To Dolphins

Minutes after trading away one running back, the Dolphins have acquired another. San Francisco is sending Jeff Wilson to Miami, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Tom Pelissero of NFL Network adds that the Dolphins are sending a 2023 fifth-round pick in return (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Dolphins To Acquire LB Chubb From Broncos]

Last week, it was reported that the 26-year-old was drawing trade interest. That came as little surprise, given San Francisco’s acquisition of Christian McCaffrey to operate as their new No. 1 back. Wilson represented one of several veterans at the position who either have been (or have been rumored to be) on the move in advance of this afternoon’s deadline. Moving him will allow the 49ers to recoup a small amount of draft capital after the McCaffrey trade.

Wilson will represent a familiar face for Miami despite the cross-country move, of course. He will be reunited with Mike McDaniel, who is in his first season as the Dolphins’ head coach after working on San Francisco’s staff. Wilson had spent each of his four-and-a-half seasons in the Bay Area, making contributions as part of the team’s rotation at RB along the way. His career high in rushing yards was 600 (set in 2020), but he was enjoying another productive year in 2022 (5.1 yards per carry).

Wilson will also resume his work in a tandem with Raheem Mostert in the backfield for Miami, just as the pair did in San Francisco. The latter signed a one-year deal this March in following McDaniel to the Sunshine State. Wilson, too, has been operating on a one-year pact in 2022. He and Mostert are in line to lead the Dolphins’ backfield for the remainder of the season, after Chase Edmonds was included in the package sent to the Broncos for pass rusher Bradley Chubb

To say the Dolphins’ plan of teaming Jaylen Waddle with Tyreek Hill has worked so far would be a dramatic understatement. The wide receiver tandem has proven to be arguably the league’s best, with Hill and Waddle ranking first and fourth league-wide in yards, respectively. The ground game has been much different, however. Miami sits 28th in the NFL with an average of only 88 rushing yards per game.

That figure demonstrates the team’s inability to substantially improve on last year’s struggles in the run game, something which played a key role in their offensive inconsistency. With Wilson in place now, how much of a step forward the team takes in at least complimenting the pass game (and what is now a much-improved defense) will be worth watching down the stretch.

49ers RB Jeff Wilson Drawing Trade Interest

The 49ers have already been major players on the trade front with respect to the running back position, and they could be making another move soon. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that San Francisco has fielded calls about the availability of Jeff Wilson.

Not surprisingly, Fowler adds that the 49ers are willing to entertain offers on the 26-year-old. The team added a new No. 1 to their backfield last week when they acquired Christian McCaffrey from the Panthers. That, coupled with the fact that Elijah Mitchell is nearing a return, leaves them with an impending logjam at the position. With the latter being under contract for two more seasons after 2022, Wilson represents the logical trade candidate.

Wilson has spent his entire career in San Francisco. Since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2018, Wilson has ridden his tenure out on a series of one-year contracts, the most recent being signed this past March. He’s never been the de facto No. 1 back in San Francisco, but a litany of injuries has given him plenty of run as a lead back over the years. After starting 14 of the 44 games he’s played in over the past five years (five of those starts coming this season), Wilson has established himself as a dependable backup.

Wilson has displayed a decent amount of success and production in the Niners’ system. San Francisco has operated in a running-back-by-committee type of offense, though not exactly by choice. Over the years, injuries to running backs such as Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Mitchell, and Wilson have made it impossible to formulate an entire offense around one feature back. The addition of star running back Christian McCaffrey is intended to remedy this situation, despite McCaffrey’s recent injury troubles.

Regardless, the arrival of McCaffrey, along with the eventual return of Mitchell and the development of third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price, makes Wilson an expendable asset. Since many other teams expressed their interest in McCaffrey when he was made available, it stands to reason that those teams may still have interest in a running back, albeit one of a lower tier of production so far in his career, so it’s little surprise that teams have inquired about Wilson.

Expect this potential trade to be treated like the Jimmy Garoppolo trade situation. The 49ers have shown that they are willing to be patient when offering up a trade asset that still holds value to them. They will continue to utilize Wilson, like they have Garoppolo, until someone gives them an offer they feel matches Wilson’s worth.

Ely Allen contributed to this post.

Latest On 49ers’ Running Backs Room

The 49ers’ running backs room is loaded with talent but loaded, too, with questions marks and a history of injuries. In a breakdown of every San Francisco player from OTAs to minicamp, The Athletic’s Matt Barrows laid out the situation. 

The 49ers counted on a sixth-round rookie as their lead back last year. Elijah Mitchell took over early in the season as the Week 1 starter, Raheem Mostert, ended his year after only two carries. Mitchell went on the start ten games for San Francisco totaling 963 yards in eleven appearances to break the 49ers’ single-season rushing record for a rookie. The one notable drawback on Mitchell’s rookie campaign was that he was inactive for six games, a theme that will be repeated throughout this piece. Continuing on that note, Mitchell had knee surgery in the offseason that forced him to miss all of the team’s spring practices. He’s expected back for training camp and is likely to start the season as the 49ers’ lead back once again.

The top backup running back is a bit up to debate as Barrows believes Jeff Wilson is next in line, while ESPN’s Nick Wagoner asserts that rookie third-round draft pick Tyrion Davis-Price will jump the rest of the room on the depth chart.

Wilson served as the starter when Mitchell missed time last year and took over RB1-duties this spring with Mitchell sidelined. Surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee forced Wilson to miss the first eight games of the year last season, and it took him a little while to regain his footing. Now over a year removed from surgery, Wilson should be back to full strength and provide a strong secondary-option beside Mitchell.

Davis-Price declared for the 2022 NFL Draft early after a strong junior year at LSU where he rushed for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was brought in to shore up a running back room that’s been oft-riddled with injuries, but Davis-Price suffered a minor injury in the first week of OTAs and sat out the remaining work outs. Hopefully, this is the extent of the effect San Francisco’s running back curse has on the 21-year-old.

Trey Sermon was drafted three rounds before Mitchell last year but saw his teammate overtake him on the depth chart as the speed of the game at the NFL-level proved a bit too much for Sermon during his rookie season. Sermon had two starts early in the year, when Mostert and Mitchell were injured and Wilson had yet to return from surgery. Coaches desired that he be more decisive when toting the ball and he found himself sidelined for the last six weeks of the season, once Wilson and Mitchell were back and (relatively) healthy. Sermon served as RB2 this spring with Mitchell out, but, if Wagoner is correct and Davis-Price is slotted in as the second-string running back, Sermon could find himself fourth on the depth chart to start the season, and it’s hard to imagine San Francisco carries more than four running backs into the regular season.

If that last statement is true, and hypothesizing that the 49ers will decide to carry four running backs into September, Sermon will have his work cut out for him as he competes with JaMycal Hasty. The former undrafted free agent isn’t quite the rusher that Sermon is, but Hasty has been the team’s best pass-catching option out of the backfield all spring. If the coaches trust Wilson to return to 100%, they may be able to rely on him on those passing downs, but Hasty’s quickness could grant him favor in those situations. Plus, Hasty’s ability and history returning kickoffs adds a special teams value that Sermon doesn’t provide.

There it is, all laid out. Based on talent, the depth chart likely reads: Mitchell, Wilson, Davis-Price, Sermon, Hasty. Maybe, due to the injury luck they’ve had in seasons past, San Francisco decides they want to utilize 5 of their 53 roster spots on running backs (not including full back Kyle Juszczyk). If not, a top-three of Mitchell, Wilson, and Davis-Price seems likely with a possible fourth-spot being granted to either Sermon or Hasty, depending on need and value.

49ers Re-Sign RB Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson is sticking around San Francisco for at least another season. The running back announced on Instagram that he’s re-signing with the 49ers.

“We got business to handle,” Wilson wrote. “When you got something to prove it hit different! Last year was honestly the toughest time of life but through those times it has built and molded me to what you’ll see! Ready to slide with my guys.”

Following a breakout 2020 campaign that saw him finish with 733 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns, Wilson had a delayed start to the 2021 season after suffering a summer foot injury. The running back returned to the field in November and ended up seeing time in nine games (four starts) for the 49ers, collecting 325 yards from scrimmage and two scores. He didn’t get a touch in two playoff games.

Elijah Mitchell exploded as a rookie in 2021, and he’ll likely lead the depth chart heading into his sophomore season. The 49ers are also rostering fellow 2021 draft pick Trey Sermon along with JaMycal Hasty.

Latest on Niners’ Trent Williams

After injuring his ankle in the 49ers’ Divisional Round win over the Packers, offensive tackle Trent Williams is looking likely to start in the NFC Championship game tomorrow in Los Angeles, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. In the tweet, Wagoner relayed a message from head coach Kyle Shanahan that Williams is adamant that he will be able to play and that Shanahan would be surprised if he doesn’t. 

There was a bit of concern for Williams in Green Bay last Saturday night when he was seen on crutches after the game. The first-team All-Pro appeared to injure his ankle early in the third quarter, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn, but finished the game with some ankle tape and some true grit. Williams was a question mark to play in the team’s Wild Card win over the Cowboys due to an elbow injury suffered in Week 17. He sat out the regular season finale – which would have ended San Francisco’s season if not for a come-from-behind victory over their next opponent, the Rams – but was able to start once again for both playoff games. The nine-time Pro Bowler has continued to play at an elite level in his second season with the 49ers, an encouraging sign given that he is under contract with the team for another five years after this season concludes.

Wagoner continued in a follow up tweet that running back Jeff Wilson is the only other player on the injury report, being the listed as questionable alongside Williams.

49ers Add RB Brian Hill To Practice Squad

San Francisco is adding another piece to its running back room. Four-year veteran Brian Hill will join the team’s practice squad, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco (via Twitter). 

A Falcons fifth-round pick in 2017, Hill has spent most of his career in Atlanta. He totaled 982 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 202 carries (an average of 4.7 per carry), adding 38 receptions for 313 yards and one score during his time with the Falcons. Atlanta’s new regime did not re-sign him this offseason.

In between his Atlanta exit and this signing, Hill spent time with the Titans and Browns. The former Wyoming back has yet to see any action this season, however. The Browns released Hill from their practice squad last week.

Injuries in the 49ers’ backfield point to Hill as an option. Elijah Mitchell and Trenton Cannon are dealing with concussions, while Jeff Wilson‘s knee injury also has him in question. Mitchell also went through an MRI on his knee Wednesday, per Maiocco, who adds the scan came back clean (Twitter link). Trey Sermon is on IR and ineligible to return this week. The 49ers’ only sure thing at the position is currently JaMycal Hasty. Although Hasty has seen intermittent work with the 49ers over the past two seasons, he played one offensive snap in San Francisco’s Week 13 game.

49ers Activate RB Jeff Wilson From PUP List

Recently said to be tracking toward a late-November return, Jeff Wilson beat that timetable and is back on the 49ers’ active roster. San Francisco removed Wilson from its PUP list Saturday.

Wilson’s return from a summer foot injury stands to give the 49ers an additional option in a backfield that has once again gone through injury issues. Starter Elijah Mitchell, who replaced oft-injured Week 1 starter Raheem Mostert, is dealing with a rib injury that limited him in practice this week.

Wilson represented one of the 49ers’ injury replacements last year. After Mostert and Tevin Coleman went down early in the 2020 slate, Wilson came in and fared well. The former UDFA totaled 600 rushing yards (4.8 per carry) and seven touchdowns last year, though he also missed games due to a midseason injury, and delivered his best game against the Cardinals. Wilson rambled for 183 yards in the 49ers’ upset win over the Cards in Week 16 last season. He will return for the 49ers’ second Cardinals tilt of this season.

The 49ers re-signed Wilson this offseason, but the subsequent foot malady stalled his momentum. Wilson, 25, is still set for unrestricted free agency in 2022. The 49ers also changed up their backfield in the draft, acquiring Mitchell and Trey Sermon. The latter, a third-round pick, has interestingly taken a backseat to Mitchell, a sixth-rounder thus far. Wilson will join the rookies and JaMycal Hasty on the 49ers’ active roster.

49ers To Activate Kittle, Gould From IR

The 49ers will have some key players in uniform Sunday against the Cardinals. George Kittle and Robbie Gould will come off IR before Saturday’s roster-setting deadline, Kyle Shanahan said Friday.

Kittle has been down because of a calf injury. The All-Pro tight end attempted to play through the issue in Week 4, but the 49ers opted to shut him down the following week. Gould’s activation became fairly clear after the 49ers waived fill-in Joey Slye earlier this week.

Since signing his big-ticket extension last year, Kittle has struggled to stay on the field. He missed time because of a knee sprain and a fractured foot last season. Those injuries limited Kittle to eight games in 2020. He has missed three thus far this year. This will help a passing attack that may be without Deebo Samuel.

Battling a calf injury, Samuel is questionable for Week 9. Shanahan said his top receiver’s injury worsened this week, via the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman (on Twitter). The 49ers missing Samuel would be rather significant, given his dominance to start the season. Samuel has 819 receiving yards, topping Jerry Rice‘s through-seven-games franchise best. Samuel, of course, joined Kittle on the injury front last season. He missed nine games in 2020.

Shanahan added Jeff Wilson has a chance to make his season debut in Week 9. Previously given a late-November return timetable, Wilson has “kind of taken off,” in his recovery from a foot injury as of late, Shanahan said (per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter). The 49ers re-signed the veteran running back this offseason, but he suffered the injury over the summer.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/1/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans