Tyrion Davis-Price

49ers Place Trey Lance On IR, Bring Back RB Tevin Coleman

Both Elijah Mitchell and Tyrion Davis-Price are now on the mend for the 49ers. Davis-Price’s ankle sprain is expected to keep him out for multiple games, while Mitchell is early in what is viewed as a two-month recovery timetable from an MCL sprain. Veteran backs are en route.

After the 49ers promoted Marlon Mack to their active roster, they replaced him on the practice squad with Tevin Coleman. Weeks after the Jets released Coleman, the seven-year veteran worked out for his former team last week. This marks a return Bay Area trip for Coleman, who was with the 49ers from 2019-20.

The 49ers officially placed Trey Lance on IR as well. Lance underwent surgery to repair a broken ankle. San Francisco’s starter is out for the season and staring at a four- to six-month recovery timetable. This led Jimmy Garoppolo back to the top of the depth chart and Kurt Benkert onto the 49ers’ P-squad. This year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, is currently Garoppolo’s backup.

This will be yet another Shanahan-Coleman reunion. The sixth-year 49ers head coach was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator during Coleman’s first two NFL seasons, and once the former third-round pick hit the market in 2019, the 49ers added him on a two-year deal. Coleman, 29, now represents insurance against another 49ers backfield injury.

Prior to unleashing Raheem Mostert in 2019, the 49ers had Coleman pegged as their starter. Even as Mostert morphed from special-teamer to first-stringer, Coleman played a steady role for the 49ers’ Super Bowl LIV-qualifying team. He totaled 724 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns in 2019 and surpassed 100 on the ground in San Francisco’s divisional-round win over Minnesota. A shoulder injury slowed him for the rest of those playoffs, and a knee injury in Week 2 of the 2020 season led to a lengthy absence and a vastly reduced role down the stretch that year.

Last season, Coleman played in 11 Jets games — in ex-49ers OC Mike LaFleur‘s offense — and averaged 4.2 yards per carry (84 totes, 356 yards). The Jets brought him back on a one-year, $1.5MM deal, but the team soon drafted Breece Hall in the second round and went with younger backs after training camp. The 49ers have ex-Coleman backup Jeff Wilson installed as their current starter, with Mack and rookie UDFA Jordan Mason as backups.

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Golden, 49ers

While much of the SeahawksRussell Wilson drama should be expected to recede in the coming weeks, now that the Broncos’ Seattle date has come and gone, the decorated quarterback and his former team will still be connected in the years to come. One of the recent discussion points involving Wilson centered around previous times the Seahawks explored trading him. Wilson confirmed recently he knew about multiple trade talks the Seahawks engaged in during his 10-year run.

Definitely they tried to, a couple different times, to try and see what was out there,’’ Wilson said of Seattle trade talks (via 9News’ Mike Klis). “It’s part of the business and it’s part of being a professional and everything else. ‘Upset’ is probably the wrong word. I believe in my talent and who I am.”

Wilson, who threw for 340 yards and a touchdown in a Seattle return that became overshadowed by Nathaniel Hackett‘s strange final-minute field goal strategy, was asked specifically about Seahawks-Browns talks in 2018. The Seahawks were linked to attempting to trade their perennial Pro Bowl QB to the Browns for the No. 1 overall pick. A 2020 report indicated the Seahawks wanted both the Browns’ Nos. 1 and 4 picks in 2018 (which turned into Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward), but those conversations were more conceptual in nature. Nevertheless, the Seahawks’ trade discussions involving Wilson led to the no-trade clause in his 2019 extension. QB trades were less prevalent in 2018 compared to their frequency today; a Wilson move at that point would have been far more shocking than it was in 2022.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • Rashaad Penny received the bulk of the carries for the Seahawks in their upset win over the Broncos, but the team’s rookie back will make his debut this week. Ken Walker will return after missing weeks due to a hernia surgery. Pete Carroll confirmed the second-round pick will be active against the 49ers, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta (on Twitter). Penny, a 2018 first-round pick who showed his best form at the end of last season, is signed to a one-year deal. Walker’s rookie contract runs through 2025.
  • The Cardinals gave Markus Golden a short extension, a one-year bump that runs through 2023. The veteran edge rusher’s deal maxes out at $6.5MM. A sack-based incentive package worth $2MM is included in that total. Golden can earn $250K for reaching six sacks and another $250K for totaling eight, Howard Balzer of SI.com tweets. If Golden registers 10 sacks, he will collect a $500K bonus. A 12-sack season would mean an additional $1MM. Golden, 31, should have a reasonable chance of acquiring some additional cash. He has three double-digit sack seasons as a pro, his most recent coming in 2021 (11). Of course, Arizona’s pass-rushing situation looks a bit different now, seeing that All-Pro Chandler Jones signed with the Raiders.
  • Elijah Mitchell‘s MCL sprain and IR trip will change the 49ers‘ backfield equation. After being inactive in Week 1, third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price will suit up against the Seahawks. Kyle Shanahan said the back end of his backfield committee, one that will be fronted by Jeff Wilson, will be a hot-hand situation between Davis-Price and rookie UDFA Jordan Mason. The latter’s special teams ability and Davis-Price’s early issues in pass protection led to him being inactive against the Bears, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News notes. Although Davis-Price has the highest draft pedigree of San Francisco’s current backs, the 49ers bailing on third-rounder Trey Sermon after one season shows Shanahan is unafraid to prioritize lower-level investments at this position.

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.

NFC West Notes: Hawks, Davis-Price, Rams

Not big on making big cornerback investments, with Richard Sherman‘s 2014 extension the exception, the Seahawks have some questions at the position ahead of training camp. A year after the team let Shaquill Griffin walk in free agency, 2021 starter D.J. Reed joined the Jets in March. The Seahawks did not use a first- or second-day draft pick at corner and, while they brought back Justin Coleman in the slot, have some uncertainty in how they will replace Reed. One option will be Artie Burns, the former Steelers first-round pick who signed a one-year, $2MM deal. Burns, 27, lined up opposite Sidney Jones with Seattle’s first-team defense at minicamp, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Burns, who worked as a late-season starter with the Bears last season, has not been looked upon as a primary starter since the Steelers benched him in 2018. A pair of fourth-round picks — second-year cover man Tre Brown and rookie Coby Bryant — loom as options as well. Brown did not participate in minicamp, due to the knee injury that ended his rookie slate. After nearly four years after his Steelers starter run wrapped, Burns has a chance to carve out a key role with his third team.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers Tyrion Davis-Price third-round pick was somewhat surprising, but bolstering a backfield featuring other notable assets may be a two-fold solution. While the 49ers have starter Elijah Mitchell, backup Jeff Wilson and 2021 third-rounder Trey Sermon, Albert Breer of SI.com notes the selection of the LSU running back choice doubled as an “olive branch” of sorts to Deebo Samuel. Kyle Shanahan using Samuel as a between-the-tackles back last season is believed to be one of the gripes the disgruntled wide receiver had when he made his trade request in April. Davis-Price joining the backfield will provide more insurance so that Samuel — his 6.2 yards-per-carry figure notwithstanding — will not be needed for such a role in 2022. The 49ers continue to work toward a Samuel extension.
  • The Rams‘ big-ticket extensions for Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp will create a bit of cap room in 2022. The defending Super Bowl champions are gaining $3.63MM in space, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, with Donald tied to a $24MM cap number and Kupp tethered to a $17.8MM figure. Los Angeles’ Donald and Kupp deals occurred two days apart. Donald is now the game’s highest-paid non-quarterback, while Kupp’s new pact checks in at $26.7MM per year — fourth among wideouts — and carries a receiver-high $75MM guaranteed.
  • Shifting back to the Seahawks, they set to return their 2021 guard duo — Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis — but their oldest O-lineman will be returning from offseason knee surgery, per Condotta. Jackson, 30, missed OTAs and the Seahawks’ minicamp because of the procedure. The former Raiders starter is going into his ninth season. Because of the new contract the Seahawks gave Jackson last year, he is set to count $9MM toward their 2022 cap. Jackson only missed one game in his first Seahawks season.
  • Staying on the Seahawks’ O-line, the team will feature a right tackle competition in camp. Rookie Abraham Lucas will vie for the job against second-year blockers Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe, Condotta adds. A former UDFA, Curhan started five games last season. Forsythe, who has mostly worked as a left tackle during his short career, played just 14 offensive snaps as a rookie. Second-year Seattle OC Shane Waldron said he does not have an issue starting two rookies at tackle; No. 9 overall pick Charles Cross is set to succeed Duane Brown on the left side.

49ers Sign Entire 9-Man Draft Class

In the middle of their second week of OTAs, the 49ers managed to sign all their draft picks in a day. Each of San Francisco’s nine draftees agreed to terms on their four-year rookie contracts Thursday.

Because no first-rounders were part of this class, because of the 49ers’ Trey Lance trade-up, none of this group has a fifth-year option in his contract. While second- and third-rounders’ deals occasionally cause issues, this year being a moderately interesting one for Round 2 choices due to guaranteed years, each of the three 49ers Day 2 choices is locked in.

The 49ers began their draft by taking USC edge rusher Drake Jackson at No. 61 overall. Jackson, who recorded 12.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss in three Trojans seasons, will be expected to play at least a rotational role for the 49ers this year. Jackson received $3.14MM of his $5.8MM slot deal guaranteed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

San Francisco’s Dee Ford bet largely did not pay off. Ford is expected to be released soon. The team brought back Kerry Hyder, after his one-and-done Seattle tenure, and signed ex-Colts second-rounder Kemoko Turay. Ex-Ram Samson Ebukam also remains on the 49ers’ roster, after signing last year. But Jackson will certainly be expected to be part of the 49ers’ Nick Bosa-fronted edge mix as a rookie.

San Francisco added third-round skill-position players Tyrion Davis-Price (No. 93) and Danny Gray (No. 105) as well. Davis-Price, a 211-pound LSU-produced running back, joins 2021 third-rounder Trey Sermon, starter Elijah Mitchell and veteran Jeff Wilson in San Francisco’s crowded-looking backfield. Davis-Price left LSU after his junior season — a 1,003-yard slate. A 5-foot-11 wideout, Gray played a prominent role in SMU’s pass-happy offense. A former Texas 3A 100-meter champion while in high school, Gray caught 49 passes for 803 yards and nine touchdowns as an SMU senior.

Here are the draft picks the 49ers are set to take into minicamp and training camp:

Round 2: No. 61 Drake Jackson, DE (USC) (signed)
Round 3: No. 93 Tyrion Davis-Price, RB (LSU) (signed)
Round 3: No. 105 Danny Gray, WR (SMU) (signed)
Round 4: No. 134 Spencer Burford, OL (Texas-San Antonio) (signed)
Round 5: No. 172 Samuel Womack, CB (Toledo) (signed)
Round 6: No. 187 (from Broncos) Nick Zakelj, OT (Fordham) (signed)
Round 6: No. 220 Kalia Davis, DT (Central Florida) (signed)
Round 6: No. 221 Tariq Castro-Fields, CB (Penn State) (signed)
Round 7: No. 262 Brock Purdy, QB (Iowa State) (signed)