49ers Rumors

49ers Sanctioned By League For Camp Infraction

The 49ers have drawn the ire of the league office. The NFL docked San Francisco the “last week of their rookie development program for a violation of offseason work rules,” sources told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Pelissero reports that the team’s infraction took place during their rookie minicamp. As for what that infraction was, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports tweets the punishment stems “from minimal contact that appeared on a social media video when contact was prohibited during rookie camp.”

Sounds pretty minor. Maiocco adds that the now-scrapped last week of their rookie development program “was to consist of non-football and life skills,” so it’s doubtful that 49ers brass is going to lose too much sleep over it.

49ers, Texans Cancel Minicamps

Two more teams are opting against holding minicamps this year. The Texans and 49ers decided to wrap their offseason programs early this week. Both teams’ minicamps were scheduled to take place next week.

Kyle Shanahan said he was leaning toward nixing the extra week of offseason work — the only mandatory pre-training camp component on the NFL’s spring/summer agenda — due to strong OTA attendance. However, the fifth-year HC added recent injuries were a factor. The 49ers lost part-time starters Justin Skule and Tarvarius Moore for the season, and running back Jeff Wilson will miss regular-season time after suffering an injury during OTAs.

My plan was to get eight (OTAs in), then I was gonna surprise them on Thursday and take everyone bowling,” Shanahan said, via Kyle Madson of Niners Wire. “But after our seventh practice with those two injuries and just the aura it gave to it, I wasn’t gonna come back and do one more just to do one more. … I kinda decided earlier in this if we could get our OTAs in I wasn’t gonna keep them for minicamp because (this year’s offseason schedule is) a week longer than usual.”

The 49ers return many of their starters from 2020, though they did make a notable addition to their quarterback room via the Trey Lance trade. The Texans brought in numerous free agents on short-term deals and changed their coaching staff. Nevertheless, David Culley opted to pull the plug on the three-day mandatory minicamp, Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 notes. The Texans were facing the likelihood of Deshaun Watson beginning a holdout by skipping minicamp, but they postponed that drama for the time being.

These cancelations follow the Eagles and Colts making the same moves and come after the NFLPA encouraged a sizable number of veterans to stay away from voluntary offseason work. While this has led to hiccups — notably in Denver, when Ja’Wuan James and DaeSean Hamilton suffered season-ending injuries away from the team’s facility — it also prompted several teams to rearrange their offseason schedules. It remains to be seen if any developmental impact will emerge from these changes, but the union will likely continue its quest to alter the NFL offseason in 2022.

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49ers Waive Justin Skule

The 49ers have waived offensive lineman Justin Skule with an injury designation. This was the expected move after Skule suffered a season-ending ACL tear earlier this month.

Skule was competing to serve as a top backup behind Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey. With Williams out of practice, the former sixth-round pick was practicing with the first-string team, an indication that he was probably going to make the final cut and return for his third season. Instead, he’ll spend the year rehabbing before finding work (perhaps elsewhere) in 2022. To date, the 24-year-old has 31 games and 12 starts to his credit.

To replace Skule, the Niners have signed veteran offensive lineman Senio Kelemete. Kelemete offers similar experience, plus the ability to play multiple positions on the front line.

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49ers To Sign Senio Kelemete

The 49ers have agreed to sign offensive lineman Senio Kelemete (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). Kelemete will provide the Niners with some much needed depth in the wake of Justin Skule‘s season-ending ACL tear. 

[RELATED: Justin Skule Done For Year]

Kelemete appeared in 14 games with five starts for the Texans last season. For his career, he’s made 42 total starts at different positions along the offensive line. His versatility will be a major bonus for the Niners, who can plug him in at guard or tackle depending on their needs.

Kelemete came into the league as a fifth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2012. After one year in the desert, he spent the next five years with the Saints followed by three years with the Texans. He still had one year to go on his Texans deal, but they released him in February to save $1.73MM against the 2021 salary cap.

The veteran will still have to earn his spot on the Week 1 roster, but the odds are in his favor. If all goes well, he’ll serve as a top backup behind Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey while also seeing some reps on the interior.

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Raiders DT Solomon Thomas Ahead Of Schedule

Solomon Thomas is ahead of schedule in his comeback from a torn ACL. The Raiders defensive tackle told reporters that his knee is feeling good and he’s excited to take the field with his new squad.

“I missed football,” Thomas said (via Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal). “Last season, I had to spend the whole season on a couch. I had fun watching, but I missed the game. … So now just being able to come to practice and be in the locker room gives me energy.”

The former third-overall pick disappointed during his first three years with the 49ers, and his tenure with the organization ended with him sitting on IR. The defensive lineman tore his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign, ending his season (ant tenure with San Francisco) prematurely.

It’s been nine months since the 25-year-old went under the knife, and Hill notes that the 25-year-old had another procedure on his ankle in December. So, after signing a one-year deal with the Raiders in March, Thomas is anxious to start practicing.

“It’s been a long journey,” he said. “A lot of hard work. … It was a mental struggle for sure. Anytime I looked too far forward, I would get stressed, I would get frustrated. But I had a great treatment team, and when I could take it day by day and just put in the work, we got better and better every day and we’re ahead of the curve.”

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Kyle Shanahan Addresses 49ers Passing On Julio Jones

As a string of teams dropped out of the Julio Jones sweepstakes last week, the Titans and 49ers loomed as the All-Pro receiver’s most likely destinations. The Titans ended up winning out, landing Jones for a second-round pick and swaps of later-round choices.

Although Kyle Shanahan coached Jones for two seasons in Atlanta, the San Francisco HC pointed to his team’s draft capital — heavily impacted by April’s Trey Lance trade-up — as a reason why Jones ended up in Tennessee. The 49ers discussed Jones with the Falcons but are not believed to have made a firm offer.

Everyone knows we don’t have a first-round pick,” Shanahan said of the 49ers’ 2022 draft arsenal, via 49ersWebZone.com. “But what happens when you don’t have a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick, and you lose a number of guys in free agency, which you never can for sure count on? Then you end up going into a draft, and you’ve got to get six new spots, but all you have is a third- and a fifth-round pick. It’s kind of tough to build your team that way and to consistently do it.”

The 49ers have indeed been trigger-happy with pick-for-player trades in recent years. Prior to unloading their 2022 and ’23 first-rounders to move up nine spots for Lance, the team traded third- and fourth-round picks for Emmanuel Sanders at the 2019 trade deadline and shipped third- and fifth-round picks for Trent Williams last April. They did go the other way in 2020 as well, acquiring a first-round pick for DeForest Buckner. But the Lance move ranks as one of the priciest trades in draft history. It will affect how the 49ers proceed going forward.

Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are set to reprise their roles as the 49ers’ starting wideouts this coming season. They did not play together often in 2020. Jones will team with A.J. Brown to comprise a flashier Titans receiving duo, but tandem is unlikely to be together for too long. Jones being 32 also appears to have played a part in the 49ers not competing with the Titans for him.

Everyone knows the player [Jones] is, but it’s not as simple as that,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to build a team. It’s not just year to year. You’ve got to build it for the future. … He’s going to definitely help Tennessee. And everyone knows how special he is, but you’ve got to think about the short-term and the long-term, and that’s why those things are so risky for everybody.”

San Francisco is on track to use lower-profile players alongside Samuel and Aiyuk. The team re-signed ex-Jones sidekick Mohamed Sanu and has veteran Travis Benjamin and former first-round pick Kevin White on its roster. Former Broncos wideout DaeSean Hamilton nearly became a 49er, in a trade that would have cost less than a Jones swap, but his ACL tear scuttled that transaction.

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49ers Justin Skule, Tarvarius Moore Suffer Injuries

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.

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49ers Cut CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun

After adding one defensive back earlier today, the 49ers are letting go of another. San Francisco has waived cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, reports Cam Inman of The Mercury News (via Twitter).

[RELATED: 49ers To Sign Tony Jefferson]

Boddy-Calhoun joined the 49ers practice squad last December, and he ended up appearing on 16 special teams snaps in Week 14. He re-signed with the organization back in March, but the addition of Tony Jefferson (along with the selection of third-round rookie Ambry Thomas) made Boddy-Calhoun expendable.

The 28-year-old cornerback has spent time with five organizations during his five-year career, including the Jaguars, Browns, Texans, Colts, and 49ers. He appeared in 43 games (21 starts) for Cleveland between the 2016 and 2018 seasons, collecting 138 tackles, three interceptions, and 19 passes defended. He’s appeared in only four games since leaving the Browns in 2019.

With Boddy-Calhoun out of the picture, the likes of Ken Webster, Mark Fields II, and Tim Harris will have an increased chance of making the roster.

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Julio Jones Fallout: Contract, Suitors, Titans

In a trade that will send one of the 21st century’s best players to the AFC, the Titans moved ahead of the pack in this pursuit via a firm offer. The Titans were the only serious Jones suitor, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.

The Falcons spoke with several teams on Jones, though offers were scarce. At various points in this process, the team discussed the All-Pro wide receiver with every NFC West franchise. The Cardinals are a new entrant in this derby, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes neither they nor their NFC West rivals sent the Falcons firm offers.

The Titans initially proposed sending the Falcons a conditional third-rounder that could become a second, Breer adds, but Atlanta had Tennessee’s proposal of a second-rounder sans conditions on the table for a bit. Sunday-morning negotiations that ended with the teams agreeing to exchange later-round picks finalized the deal, according to King.

Tennessee’s willingness to absorb Jones’ $15.3MM guaranteed salary also outflanked other suitors, per Breer, who notes the Falcons were not interested in eating part of Jones’ 2021 salary in order to sweeten trade compensation. No first-round pick was offered, Breer notes, though at one point a first did come up as part of a potential pick swap.

A Jones-Falcons divorce first surfaced around draft time, and it became a deal framed around the new Falcons regime receiving cap relief. Given the salary component in these talks, that certainly is a key reason why Jones is Nashville-bound. But this separation began when Jones and the Falcons negotiated his wideout-record three-year, $66MM extension. Jones lobbied the Falcons for a new deal after the 2017 season; the Falcons refused and ended up making minor adjustments to his previous contract in 2018. The future Hall of Famer pursued the matter again in 2019. While the sides hammered out an agreement, the months-long negotiations — which ended with a Sept. 7 accord — took a toll on both parties. Jones communicated to the Falcons he wanted out in March.

Although the Ravens pursued several receivers this offseason and signed Sammy Watkins, their Jones interest ceased after the draft. Baltimore using first- and fourth-round picks on wideouts — Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace — ended its talks with its former division rival. Finances scuttled Seahawks involvement, King notes, adding the Patriots were also not serious players in this chase.

It sounds like the Falcons are preparing for a pricey Calvin Ridley extension. The 2018 first-round pick is now eligible for a new deal, and the Falcons are preparing for that expensive re-up, per Breer, by getting the Jones contract off their books. Though Atlanta is still eating some dead money from this trade, the team has some time on a Ridley extension. The Falcons picked up his fifth-year option in May, locking up Ridley through 2022.

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49ers To Sign Tony Jefferson

Tony Jefferson is back. On Monday, the 49ers agreed to sign the veteran safety, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

Jefferson hasn’t played since 2019, when he tore his ACL. Then, the pandemic slowed his rehab, keeping him off the field throughout 2020. Under normal circumstances, Jefferson would have been mostly healed by April.

I was really getting into a groove with my workouts and my rehab,” Jefferson said in April. “Now, I’m waiting two or three weeks just to get a medicine ball.”

After spending the early part of his career with the Cardinals, Jefferson inked a four-year, $34MM contract with the Ravens in 2017. He started in all 35 of his games for Baltimore from 2017-2019, but the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus weren’t fond of his five-game 2019 season. The Ravens released Jefferson in February of 2020, but he wasn’t healthy enough to land a deal elsewhere.

Jefferson will surely play for less than his last contract, but he has an opportunity to restore his stock in San Francisco. If all goes well, the 29-year-old could be the first safety off of the bench behind free safety Jimmie Ward and strong safety Jaquiski Tartt.

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