49ers Rumors

George Kittle To Miss Week 2

Hit hard by injuries this summer, the 49ers‘ passing attack will be a shell of its optimal version Sunday. The 49ers declared George Kittle out Friday with a sprained knee. Kittle will not travel with the team to New York but will instead meet his teammates in West Virginia, where the 49ers will practice next week in between their road tilts against the Jets and Giants, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets. While the 49ers are expected to have first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk make his NFL debut, being down Kittle and top wideout Deebo Samuel (on IR) will not make matters easy for Jimmy Garoppolo.

  • More injury trouble for Dee Ford. The 49ers pass rusher is now battling a neck issue and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Ford, who did not practice this week, has run into extensive injury trouble during his time with the 49ers. He played through knee, quad and hamstring issues in 2019 and missed time during camp with a calf malady. The 49ers restructured Ford’s contract to create cap space; the move will make it more difficult for the team to cut or trade Ford in 2021.
  • Mohamed Sanu‘s 49ers deal is worth a tad more than the veteran minimum. The former Bengals, Falcons and Patriots wideout signed a one-year pact worth around $1.125MM, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets, adding that Sanu will receive a $137.5K bonus — despite being an in-season addition. Although the 31-year-old target struggled to assimilate in New England, he played under Kyle Shanahan with the 2016 Falcons.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/18/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 NFL Cap Space, By Team

Cap management has been extra complicated in the NFL this year. After ~70 NFL players opted out of the 2020 season, teams were left with holes and plenty of available dollars to fill the gaps. At first, the ongoing uncertainty over next year’s salary cap had teams nervous about large-scale commitments. Now, it seems like we’re getting back to business as usual.

Recent deals for Saints star Alvin Kamara, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and others demonstrate the league’s long-term confidence. In turn, we’ve seen cap figures change dramatically in September.

Here’s the rundown of each team’s estimated cap space for the 2020 season, via Over The Cap:

  1. Cleveland Browns – $33.4MM
  2. New York Jets – $28.6MM
  3. Dallas Cowboys — $27.5MM
  4. New England Patriots – $26.3MM
  5. Washington Football Team – $25.8MM
  6. Denver Broncos – $25.7MM
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars – $25.2MM
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – $20MM
  9. Detroit Lions – $18MM
  10. Miami Dolphins – $16.7MM
  11. Baltimore Ravens – $14.2MM
  12. Los Angeles Chargers – $11.8MM
  13. Cincinnati Bengals – $11.6MM
  14. Arizona Cardinals – $11.4MM
  15. Indianapolis Colts – $11.3MM
  16. San Francisco 49ers – $11.2MM
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – $10.9MM
  18. Chicago Bears – $9.9MM
  19. New York Giants – $9.6MM
  20. Houston Texans – $9.6MM
  21. Tennessee Titans – $9.4MM
  22. New Orleans Saints – $8.8MM
  23. Green Bay Packers – $8.7MM
  24. Los Angeles Rams – $7.7MM
  25. Las Vegas Raiders – $7.4MM
  26. Carolina Panthers – $6.9MM
  27. Kansas City Chiefs – $6.6MM
  28. Buffalo Bills – $6.5MM
  29. Seattle Seahawks – $6.2MM
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $3.7MM
  31. Atlanta Falcons – $3.3MM
  32. Minnesota Vikings – $2MM

49ers’ Ahkello Witherspoon To Miss Time

The 49ers’ cornerback shuffle continues. In addition to placing Richard Sherman on injured reserve with a leg injury, the Niners also announced that fellow corner Ahkello Witherspoon has entered the concussion protocol. To replenish the group, the Niners have promoted Dontae Johnson from the practice squad to the active roster. And, to replace Johnson on the practice squad, they’ve signed former Steelers fifth-round pick Brian Allen

[RELATED: 49ers Place Richard Sherman On IR]

Now, the Niners are without their leading outside cornerback and one of their top reserve CBs. Jason Verrett figures to start opposite of Emmanuel Moseley for the time being with K’Waun Williams continuing to serve as the slot man. Beyond that, the Niners will lean on Dontae Johnson as the first corner off the bench and hope that they won’t be hit with any more CB injuries.

In other Niners news, they’ve added veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu on a one-year deal. On the other side of the ball, they’ve decided to pass on Ezekiel Ansah yet again after their second meeting with the defensive lineman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/16/20

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

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: S Curtis Riley (off Steelers‘ practice squad)

Cleveland Browns

  • Promoted: LB Montrel Meander

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

49ers Place Richard Sherman On IR

The 49ers are placing cornerback Richard Sherman on injured reserve with a leg injury, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. He’ll be sidelined for at least three weeks, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) adds that it’s a short-term issue, meaning that he should be able to return later this year. 

The exact nature of Sherman’s injury is not clear, especially since he finished out the season opener against the Cardinals. At minimum, he’ll miss the next three games against the Jets, Giants, and Eagles.

Sherman, 32, is in his contract year, and he says he’s hoping to play four more years. Set to make $8MM in base salary this year, he’s hoping to secure his next/final pay day with a big 2020. In 2019, Sherman earned Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors while helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl. In the regular season, he notched three interceptions and 61 total stops in 15 starts.

The Niners have Jason Verrett and Ahkello Witherspoon on hand to step in at outside corner. Now, they’ll also have an available roster spot to add another CB for depth.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Sign Mohamed Sanu

The 49ers have agreed to sign Mohamed Sanu to a one-year contract, according to an announcement from his agent (Twitter link). The deal reunites the wide receiver with Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan, who worked with the veteran in Atlanta. 

[RELATED: Ziggy Ansah Leaves 49ers Without Deal]

Sanu, 31, underwhelmed during his eight regular season games (six starts) with the Patriots, hauling in 26 receptions (on 47 targets) for 207 yards and one score. He was also invisible during New England’s playoff loss to the Titans as he caught just one pass for eleven yards. Earlier this month, the Patriots dropped Sanu to save $6.5MM in cap space.

Sanu’s low-cost deal could pay serious dividends for SF. Despite his iffy 2019, he’s only a season removed from a campaign where he finished with a career-high 838 receiving yards to go along with 66 receptions and four touchdowns. There should also be ample opportunity for him, considering all of the injuries in the 49ers’ WR group. Deebo Samuel won’t return until Week 4 at the earliest, first-round rookie Brandon Aiyuk is coming off of a hamstring injury, and Jalen Hurd is out for the year with a torn ACL. This could be Sanu’s time to shine, starting this Sunday against the Jets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Host Ziggy Ansah For Second Time

It would seem that the 49ers are interested in former Lions and Seahawks defensive end Ziggy Ansah. The club met with Ansah last month, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports, Ansah will be back in San Francisco today to undergo COVID-19 testing in advance of a workout on Tuesday (Twitter link).

Though Ansah’s salary is unlikely to be particularly large, it would not be surprising to see interest in his services pick up after Week 1 in order to prevent that salary from becoming fully guaranteed. The 49ers are trying to prevent other clubs — like the Ravens and Bills, who are reportedly interested in Ansah — from swooping in to sign the 31-year-old.

Though the 49ers have several high-profile talents that can wreak havoc off the edge, like Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the club is “starving” for pass rush depth (Twitter link). Ansah certainly fits the description of a high-reward, low-risk pickup that could provide a jolt to the Niners’ DE rotation.

The No. 5 overall pick of the 2013 draft, Ansah posted a double-digit sack campaign as recently as 2017. A shoulder injury marred his 2018 season and delayed his 2019 debut, but he is now another year removed from that injury, so while he may not be the sack leader in anyone’s locker room at this point, he may still be able to provide starter-caliber play.

The 49ers kick off their season against the Cardinals this afternoon and will hope that their current group of edge defenders can make life difficult for Arizona QB Kyler Murray.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Shopped Ahkello Witherspoon

The 49ers have been accustomed to dealing with running back unavailability during Kyle Shanahan‘s tenure, but Jerick McKinnon is on track to make his 49er debut at long last. However, Tevin Coleman‘s status is now uncertain. The second-year 49ers back did not practice Friday because of the poor air quality in San Francisco, which has been affected by the recent wildfires raging in many west coast areas. Coleman, who has a sickle cell trait, also did not finish a practice earlier in training camp due to poor air quality, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Although the 49ers traded Matt Breida, they still have McKinnon, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson on their active roster.

  • Prior to roster cutdown day, the 49ers considered trading Ahkello Witherspoon, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Witherspoon was aware of the team’s effort, which did not end up producing a deal. The 49ers are set to be without Jason Verrett, who missed all of last season and has dealt with injuries throughout his career, Sunday due to a hamstring injury. Witherspoon is in line to serve as a key depth player to start the season. Emmanuel Moseley replaced him in the starting lineup during the playoffs. A fourth-year player, Witherspoon is set for unrestricted free agency in 2021.
  • The 49ers did not restructure Dee Ford‘s deal to set up a big move, John Lynch said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, on Twitter). The move, however, did create $9.5MM in cap space. That gave the team some breathing room; it holds $10.9MM in cap space as of Saturday. The move does, however, make Ford a more difficult cut in 2021. It would now cost the 49ers $14MM-plus in dead money to release the defensive end next year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves. Many of these roster decisions involve practice squad promotions. Under the new CBA, teams are permitted to promote two P-squad players without corresponding roster moves per week. Teams can carry 55 players on their rosters for game days and can have up to 48 active.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Promoted: RB Nathan Cottrell, TE Ben Ellefson

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: DB Nate Brooks

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team