Stokes continues to rehab from foot and knee injuries that limited him to only nine games in 2022. His placement on PUP means he’ll have to sit out at least the first four games before being eligible for activation. The 2021 first-round pick has started 23 of his 25 appearances for the Packers, collecting 81 tackles, 14 passes defended, and one interception.
Meanwhile, Moore won’t be eligible to play for the Packers in 2023 after getting placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. Moore joined the Packers this offseason after spending the first five seasons of his career with the 49ers. He sat out the entire 2021 campaign but otherwise appeared in 61 games across four healthy seasons with San Francisco, collecting 108 tackles.
Ben Burr-Kirven was a fifth-round pick by the Seahawks back in 2019, and he transformed into a key special teamer through his first two seasons in the NFL. However, he suffered a knee injury during the 2021 preseason that ended up wiping out that entire season. The issues persisted in 2022, and after spending that year on PUP, he was ultimately released in March. Coach Pete Carroll apparently reversed course and ended up bringing back the linebacker.
“He’s in a little bit of an experimental mode,” Carroll said earlier this year (via the team’s website). “The surgeries that he has had and the process he is going through, he is making progress. He’s always in the weight room with us. He’s always here working with a tremendous mentality. The nerve issues, really intricate stuff going on, so he’s had to have a really good attitude about it to stay in the fight and he is. He’s planning on getting back out there. So, we are going to give him every chance. If he can do it, this is going to be the place that he does it.”
Xavier Henderson was released today with an injury settlement, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (via Twitter). The undrafted free agent landed on the physically unable to perform list earlier this week.
Isaiah Wilson hasn’t had an NFL gig since he was released by the Giants in January of 2022. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the free agent lineman was slapped with a three-game suspension, but it’s uncertain what led to the temporary ban. Wilson was a first-round pick by the Titans in 2020 but got into only one game with Tennessee before getting shipped off to Miami. He was waived by Miami after showing up late to his team physical, and his practice squad stint with New York only lasted one season.
Max Garcia is an experienced addition to the Saints OL room, with the veteran having most recently started seven of his 12 appearances with the Cardinals in 2022. The 31-year-old has 59 games of starting experience, although Pro Football Focus was iffy on his production last year (63rd among 77 qualifying offensive guards).
Following a three-year stint in Cleveland, Terrance Mitchell has spent the past two seasons bouncing around the NFL. He got into 14 games (13 starts) for the Texans in 2021, finishing with 60 tackles and 10 passes defended. He spent the 2022 season with the Titans, finishing with 39 tackles in 11 games (five starts). 49ers fifth-round pick Darrell Luter Jr. is set to miss some time with a knee injury, providing Mitchell with an opportunity during training camp.
The Packers are set at the top of their cornerback depth chart heading into 2023, but their situation at the safety position is different. A competition for a starting safety spot will take place through the summer, but an early contender is in place amongst the team’s in-house options.
“I like where our safety room is in terms of the competition right now,” Packers safeties coach Ryan Downard said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “There’s an opening there, and there’s only one guy in the room who’s played a ton of snaps for us… So it’s full competition when we go on the practice field.”
The player Downard is referring to, of course, is Rudy Ford. The latter joined Green Bay after being released by the Jaguars on the final day of roster cuts in August, leading to tempered expectations in his new home. Ford had started only six games in his career at that point, and had also spent time in Arizona and Philadelphia before his one-year stint in Jacksonville.
The former sixth-rounder played a career-high 442 snaps on defense in 2022, though, making him a key member of Green Bay’s secondary. Ford notched three interceptions and 44 total stops while logging a 43% snap share, which could put him in line for a step forward in playing time this season. Wood notes that Ford is the “top internal candidate” to replace Adrian Amosas a safety starter. The latter remains unsigned, and while a reunion could still be on the table, he has drawn interest from the Ravens as well.
That could leave Green Bay to rely on Ford in a tandem with 2019 first-rounder Darnell Savage, whose play at safety in particular has drawn signficant criticism. Depth at slot corner will bring Savage back to the safety spot, making identifying Amos’ replacement a top priority for the Packers if they are to take a forward step on defense this year.
Wood lists free agent signings Tarvarius Mooreand Jonathan Owensas the other top competitors for the spot. Each has considerable experience at the NFL level, but also a track record of heavy usage on special teams rather than defense for much of their careers. It is also in the third phase that most (if not all) of seventh-round rookie Anthony Johnson‘s playing time will come in 2023. Those factors should leave Ford in pole position for a first-team role, though much remains to be determined in the coming months.
A 2021 season-nullifying injury postponed Tarvarius Moore‘s free agency by a year. After the safety’s contract tolled, however, the Packers will still add him to the mix.
The 49ers used Moore as both a cornerback and a safety, though he spent more time at the latter post. He competed with Talanoa Hufanga to start opposite Jimmie Wardlast year. Hufanga going on to earn first-team All-Pro honors signaled San Francisco’s long-term plans at that position. But Ward and Moore have now relocated, with the 10th-year veteran joining DeMeco Ryans‘ Texans staff.
Moore will land with another ex-Kyle Shanahan coworker, joining Matt LaFleur‘s team. The Packers experienced some issues at safety last season, and Adrian Amos is now a free agent. The team is considering shifting Darnell Savage to the slot on a full-time basis, and Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notesRasul Douglas is a candidate to move from cornerback to safety. With the safety spot unsettled and Rudy Ford (six 2022 starts) also a free agent, the Packers may have an opening for Moore.
The former third-round pick — in part because of a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at Southern Miss’ 2018 pro day — began his 49ers career at cornerback moved back to safety in 2019. He started eight games in 2020, making 52 tackles and forcing a fumble. A torn Achilles in June 2021 kept Moore on the 49ers’ PUP list throughout the season, and since he was in the final year of his contract, his rookie deal tolled. Moore would have been unlikely to do well on the market last year anyway, considering his 2021 injury, and he played 13 games this past season.
Moore, 26, does not have a regular-season interception, but he picked off Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV. Even if Moore does not mount a serious charge to start in Green Bay, the Packers have added an experienced special-teamer. Moore saw action on 66% of the 49ers’ special teams plays last season and cleared the 50% barrier on ST snaps in each of his other three active seasons.
This will be a key year for Azeez Al-Shaair. The fourth-year linebacker is less than a year away from a possible free agency bid, and he may have an opportunity to join Fred Warner as a three-down ‘backer. With Dre Greenlaw missing much of last season due to injury, Al-Shaair stepped in as a full-timer. This season figures to determine which contract-year linebacker — Greenlaw or Al-Shaair — the 49ers aim to keep. The one that ends up playing less figures to be the cheaper option, with Matt Barrows of The Athletic noting that might be the player San Francisco attempts to retain (subscription required). Such a strategy would mesh better with Warner, who is tied to a top-market off-ball linebacker deal. A 2019 UDFA out of Florida Atlantic, Al-Shaair registered 102 tackles (nine for loss), two sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 13 games last season — his first as a full-timer. Al-Shaair, however, is recovering from offseason knee and shoulder surgeries, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. The team is targeting a training camp return for Al-Shaair.
Here is the latest out of San Francisco:
New 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese has dealt exclusively with the quarterbacks who have attended the team’s offseason program. He has not communicated with Jimmy Garoppolo since taking over, via Maiocco (on Twitter). While Garoppolo will surely still have a good grip on Kyle Shanahan‘s offense, this does mark another sign the franchise remains intent on finding a trade. Dealing Garoppolo is not a guarantee, but it has long been the team’s goal.
Elijah Mitchell made a surprise ascent early last season, leapfrogging third-round pick Trey Sermon and finishing with 963 rushing yards in just 11 games. The 49ers added another third-round back this year, in LSU’s Tyrion Davis-Price, and have a new running backs coach in Anthony Lynn. The team still views Mitchell as its top backfield option, according to ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner, who adds the incumbent plans to be roughly 15 pounds heavier than he was last season. The 2021 sixth-round pick, who missed a chunk of the season due to multiple injuries, played at around 200 pounds as a rookie.
K’Waun Williams operated as the 49ers’ slot cornerback for five years, signing multiple contracts to stay in that role. But the veteran defected to the Broncos in free agency this year. Veteran Darqueze Dennard could benefit. Despite being a January practice squad addition, Dennard resides as the top slot option for San Francisco as of OTAs, Barrows adds (subscription required). Fifth-round pick Samuel Womackmay be Dennard’s top challenger, per Barrows. Although Dennard played in just two regular-season games last year (one as a Giant, one as a 49er), he spent several years as the Bengals’ primary slot defender. This will be the former first-rounder’s age-31 season.
2021 was a tough year for 49ers safety Tarvarius Moore. A third-round pick in the 2018 draft, Moore served primarily as a rotational defender and special teams contributor during his first two years in the league, but he appeared in a career-high 52% of the Niners’ defensive snaps in 2020. He had a real chance to win a starting safety job last summer, which would have been especially fortuitous timing, as he was set to enter his contract year. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn Achilles in June and spent all season on the PUP list.
And, per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Moore’s contract tolled, so he is under club control through 2022, as Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area observes (via Twitter). The pertinent provision of the CBA reads, “[A player’s] contract will not be tolled for the period he is on PUP, except in the last year of his contract, when the player’s contract will be tolled if (i) he is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth regular season game; and (ii) he is not reinstated to the Club’s Active/Inactive List during that regular season or postseason.”
Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for Moore. If he were to hit the open market in March after having spent the entirety of last season on the shelf, it’s not as though he would be in line to make any more than the $965K he will earn from San Francisco in 2022. And, if the 49ers do not re-sign Jaquiski Tartt, Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required) expects Moore to be the front-runner for the starting SS gig. Barrows adds that Moore is fully recovered from his Achilles tear.
In 48 games (13 starts), the Southern Miss product has compiled 100 tackles, six passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.
The 49ers got a double whammy of injuries on Monday. During practice, offensive Justin Skule tore his ACL. And, soon after, safety Tavarius Moore went down with a ruptured Achilles (Twitter link via Matt Barrows of The Athletic).
Skule’s injury will rule him out for 2020. It’s a bad blow for the former sixth-round pick, who was competing to serve as a top backup behind Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey. With Williams out of practice, Skule was practicing with the first-string team, a promising sign that he’d make the cut and return for his third season. Instead, he’ll go under the knife, rehab, and switch his focus to 2022.
Moore, meanwhile, has at least some chance of returning later in the year. Similar to Skule, Moore had been practicing with the starters while Jaquiski Tartt deals with a toe ailment. Fortunately, the 49ers do have Tony Jefferson on hand. The veteran — who once inked a four-year, $34MM contract in free agency — agreed to a low-cost deal with SF earlier this week. Now, he’s the odds-on favorite to serve as the No. 3 safety on the team, behind Tartt and Jimmie Ward.