Ronald Blair

49ers C Weston Richburg To Miss Several More Weeks?

Weston Richburg is not expected to be ready to return when first eligible to come off the 49ers’ PUP list next week. San Francisco’s starting center will need more time to recover from the torn patellar tendon he suffered late last season.

Kyle Shanahan said Friday that neither Richburg nor defensive lineman Ronald Blair will be ready to return when eligible after Week 6, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Both suffered injuries last season; Blair went down in November, Richburg in December.

Both are likelier to return between Weeks 10 and 12, per Shanahan. The 49ers’ bye week is currently slated for Week 11. Richburg said in February a training camp return was realistic. The former Giants center did not come particularly close to hitting that goal, and a Week 12 return would make for almost a year out of action. A 2018 free agent signing, Richburg suffered one of the toughest injuries to surmount. The 49ers have started Ben Garland at center in their past four games.

Shanahan said the ACL surgery Blair underwent was not successful. A setback ensued, requiring a follow-up procedure. Blair, who the team hoped would be ready for Week 1, has served as a depth piece for the past four 49er teams. Much has changed since Blair last appeared in a game for the 49ers. DeForest Buckner and Sheldon Day are now Colts, and Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas are on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Re-Sign Ronald Blair

The 49ers defensive line underwent quite the shock on Monday when they traded DeForest Buckner to the Colts. However, after resigning Arik Armstead, San Francisco will also be reuniting with defensive lineman Ronald Blair on a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Over his four years in the Bay Area, Blair served as a situational pass-rusher and was the primary backup to Dee Ford and Nick Bosa this past season. Blair proved to be a solid option but suffered a torn-ACL in the team’s ninth game. Without Blair, San Francisco struggled to find another rotational piece to competently spell Bosa and Ford.

Blair seemed set to have an active market for his services this offseason, but the current situation surrounding COVID-19, which prevents teams from conducting physicals with free agents, likely limited interest from teams without familiarity with his ACL injury.

While San Francisco has a tough challenge to replace Buckner’s production, the team appears set to hope added depth (and better health) can help make up for some of their losses. Blair has recorded 88 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 27 quarterback hits, and 22 tackles for loss in 47 games over his career.

49ers’ Ronald Blair Done For Year

49ers defensive end Ronald Blair tore his ACL during Monday night’s loss to the Seahawks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Blair is done for the season and the Niners will make it official soon by placing him on injured reserve.

Blair, 26, was in the midst of another productive year for the 49ers. As a reserve, he had three sacks across nine games, putting him on pace to match or top his career-high 5.5 sacks last season. Instead, he’ll have to try and build off of that in 2020 and the Niners will have to find edge support elsewhere.

Blair was a 2016 fifth-round pick, meaning that he’ll be out of contract after the season. Clearly, the injury comes at a very inopportune time, but he should still find a decent market in March, plus some reunion interest from the 49ers.

The 49ers, without Blair, will look to rebound from the loss on Sunday against the Cardinals.

49ers Likely To IR/Return DE Tank Carradine

The 49ers are expected to designate defensive ends Tank Carradine and Ronald Blair as their players to return from injured reserve, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).Tank Carradine (Vertical)

San Francisco placed Carradine on IR Monday, so he’ll be able to return in Week 12 following an eight-week absence. A former second-round pick, Carradine had started two games and played 80 defensive snaps in 2017. In that limited sample size, the 28-year-old Carradine had posted one sack, 2.5 pressures, and graded as the league’s No. 27 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus.

Blair, meanwhile, was shifted to IR during the final cutdown process, so he’s eligible to come back before Carradine. An eight-week layoff means Blair can return in Week 9, when the 49ers face the division rival Cardinals. Blair, whom San Francisco selected in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, didn’t start any games for the Niners during his rookie campaign, but still played on roughly a quarter of the club’s defensive snaps. He also chipped in on ~15% of the 49ers’ special teams plays.

If San Francisco does indeed to return Carradine and Blair from injured reserve, the league’s two-man IR/return limit means the team won’t be able to bring guard Joshua Garnett back in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cardinals, Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

49ers Sign DeForest Buckner, Draftees, UDFAs

The 49ers have confirmed the previously-reported signings of sixth-round draft picks Kelvin Taylor and Jeff Driskel, and announced nearly two dozen more roster moves to go along with those signings. In a press release, the Niners said they have waived four players from their 90-man roster, signed nine draft picks (including Taylor and Driskel), and added 12 undrafted free agents to the mix.DeForest Buckner

San Francisco’s most notable transaction is the signing of defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, who becomes the highest-drafted player to ink his rookie contract so far. Buckner, a standout at Oregon, was snagged by the 49ers with the seventh overall pick in last week’s draft, and is in line for a four-year contract worth more than $18.19MM, including a signing bonus of approximately $11.43MM. His deal also features a fifth-year option for 2020.

Listed below are the other draftees signed today by the 49ers, in addition to Buckner, Taylor, and Driskel. Only first-round guard Joshua Garnett and third-round defensive back Will Redmond are still unsigned:

While the 49ers had plenty of space on their roster for their draft picks, the team didn’t have much extra flexibility to add more than a handful of undrafted free agents. As such, San Francisco has cut four veterans: offensive lineman Jordan Devey, kicker Corey Acosta, running back Kendall Gaskins, and quarterback Dylan Thompson.

Devey is perhaps the most notable name in this group — the 49ers didn’t make many headlines when they acquired him from the Patriots in a trade for tight end Asante Cleveland last August, but Devey unexpectedly made his way into the club’s starting lineup to open the season. Although he was replaced down the stretch, the 28-year-old made nine starts and played nearly 400 offensive snaps for San Francisco in 2015.

With a few spots cleared on their 90-man roster, the Niners officially added 12 undrafted free agents. Here’s the full list of those UDFAs:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.