- The NFC’s final unbeaten team now will start two backup tackles, with 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery this week. Kyle Shanahan said he would be open to a trade but does not view one as making sense presently. “Things got to be available,” Shanahan said, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. “You got to be able to make smart decisions. If there were a smart decision out there, we’d definitely look into it. It doesn’t seem like many are available right now.” The obvious one would be a Trent Williams deal, but it does not sound like the 49ers are willing to meet the Redskins’ asking price. Shanahan coached Williams as Washington’s OC previously. Joe Staley is expected back in a few weeks.
Todd Gurley has made it through five games without a knee-related absence this season, which could be considered a victory based on the suspicion surrounding the Rams running back this offseason. But the two-time first-team All-Pro has encountered a quadriceps issue and is “up in the air” for Week 6, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Rams initially viewed this as a minor malady, but Gurley is not a lock to suit up against the 49ers. The fifth-year running back has been productive but a cut off his All-Pro form this season. He has yet to post a 100-yard rushing game and, with 338 scrimmage yards, is well off the pace of his past two slates. It would not surprise if the Rams exercised caution here and turned their Week 6 backfield reins over to Malcolm Brown.
- The knee and quad injuries Dee Ford suffered early in his 49ers stay have limited his workloads this season. Ford has played just 33 snaps over the past two games and has not gone through a healthy performer’s practice work. The 49ers holding Ford out of Wednesday and Thursday practices throughout the season would not be a surprise, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The trade acquisition still rates as a top-20 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, but has played just 97 snaps this season.
- After injury trouble and role changes, Arik Armstead entered this season with an uncertain future. But his first four games of a contract year have helped change his status, and John Lynch now indicates the fifth-year defensive lineman will be a sought-after commodity if he reaches the 2020 open market. “What Arik needs to do is keep on playing at that level and he’s going to make his life really easy because a lot of people are going to coveting him, along with us,” Lynch said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. The 2015 first-round pick arrived during Jim Tomsula‘s one-year stay and missed 18 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons. But Armstead bounced back to play 18 in 2018 and grades as PFF’s No. 14 edge defender through four games. The 49ers have DeForest Buckner extension talks on tap for 2020; they may have to consider the franchise tag for Armstead.
Here are Wednesday’s updates from the workout circuit. Unless otherwise noted, all links go to the Twitter account of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.
Kansas City Chiefs
San Francisco 49ers
- FB George Aston, FB Tommy Bohanon, FB Michael Burton, FB Derrick Coleman, FB Tre Madden, FB Ricky Ortiz, FB Aaron Ripkowski, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter)
The 49ers will be without both their starting tackles for the foreseeable future. Mike McGlinchey will undergo arthroscopic surgery and miss between four and six weeks, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets.
Joe Staley is recovering from a broken leg. Now, the 49ers’ right tackle will be on the mend as well. Daniel Brunskill, a UDFA who has played in two regular-season games, will take over at right tackle. Brunskill and sixth-round rookie Justin Skule will be San Francisco’s tackle starters, though it should be expected the team will work out tackles soon. Sam Young could certainly be used as a spot starter, but the veteran represents a key swing man currently.
Staley and McGlinchey represented a top component of this year’s 49ers team, which returned all five offensive line starters. They will join Kyle Juszczyk (MCL sprain) in missing a pivotal Week 6 game against the Rams.
McGlinchey has not missed a game with the 49ers or during his three-plus seasons at Notre Dame. He stayed in Monday night’s game throughout. The 49ers lead the NFL with 200 rushing yards per game, doing so despite Jerick McKinnon‘s season-long absence and Tevin Coleman missing two-plus games. San Francisco’s 800 yards are the team’s most through four games since 1959. The team missing more key ingredients will provide a test for the NFC’s last remaining unbeaten.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
We rounded up a few injury updates earlier today, and now we have another batch to pass along:
- 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk will miss four to six weeks of action with a sprained MCL, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets. Pelissero also says Juice, one of the league’s most important fullbacks, will get a second opinion. There is some hope that the Harvard product can return before four weeks.
- Panthers QB Cam Newton will not travel with the team to London this week, as Brendan Marks of the Charlotte Observer writes. Head coach Ron Rivera said Newton is making progress in his rehab of a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, but there’s still no definitive word as to when he might return.
- The Colts are on a bye this week, and they should have a big boost when they return. LB Darius Leonard, who has missed the last three games with a concussion, shared a photo on IG saying he’s been cleared to play.
- Raiders DE Arden Key suffered a sprained patellar tendon during the team’s win over the Bears on Sunday, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter). He will miss several weeks, which led Oakland to work out a few edge defenders today.
While Matthews’ busted jaw heals up, the Rams will face the 49ers in an intrastate matchup on Sunday.
49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has had some brutal luck in recent years. After landing a big contract from San Francisco last offseason, he tore an ACL in the preseason. He never fully recovered from the issue, and will miss the entire 2019 season after suffering a separate knee injury. The guaranteed money in his deal is up, which means it might be tough for him to stick. McKinnon is due $6.5MM in 2020, and even though the organization thinks very highly of him as a player and person, “there is no way the 49ers can pay him that money,” writes Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
Maiocco hypothesizes that the 49ers “will try to work out a one-year deal in which he remains with the club at a greatly reduced price,” and that “if he declines, he will not be back.” Shockingly considering he signed a four-year, $30MM deal last offseason, it seems like there’s a good chance McKinnon never plays a snap for San Francisco. They still have a very deep backfield with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and Jeff Wilson Jr., so it’s obvious why they wouldn’t want to give McKinnon $6.5MM as he enters his age 28 season coming off two lost years.
- In the same piece, Maiocco writes about another member of the 49ers who might not be long for the team. C.J. Beathard lost the competition to be the team’s backup quarterback to Nick Mullens, but they’ve kept him on the roster. There was talk that San Francisco would try to trade one of their young backups this offseason, but Maiocco writes that they’ve tried and “there is no interest around the NFL in acquiring C.J. Beathard for the price the 49ers want in return.” Maiocco speculates that the team might eventually pull the plug and release Beathard outright if injuries pile up and they need the roster spot. Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick from Iowa, has started five games each of the past two seasons and has looked competent at times.
Verrett played in one game with the 49ers. This will be the third straight season he will have landed on IR after playing in one or fewer games. The former first-round pick has played in two games since the start of the 2017 season. The ex-Charger defender tore an Achilles’ tendon last year, missing the entire 2018 season, and has dealt with ankle and knee trouble as a 49er. He ran into the knee issue during his 49ers debut — Week 3 against the Steelers.
He signed a one-year, $1.5MM deal, but his second-chance opportunity has not gone well. The 28-year-old Fairfield, Calif., native has displayed promise in his career but has played more than six games in a season once since going off the board at No. 25 in 2014. In that season, 2015, Verrett made the Pro Bowl.
While the TCU alum profiles as an IR-return candidate, with Matt Barrows of The Athletic noting the 49ers are “holding out hope” he can come back in 2019 (subscription required), this is yet another bad sign his comeback will take off. He played only four defensive snaps in his 49ers debut.
This will be Johnson’s third stint as a 49er and fourth contract of 2019. The former San Francisco cog who was a full-time 49ers starter as recently as 2017 has become an NFL nomad. In 2019 alone, he’s spent time with the Chiefs, 49ers and Chargers, playing in two Los Angeles games. The Bolts cut him to make room for Melvin Gordon on their active roster.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Jordan Matthews will head back to San Francisco. The recently released wide receiver will re-sign with the team and take Jalen Hurd‘s roster spot, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The 49ers are placing Hurd on IR.
Hurd has been dealing with a back stress fracture, suffered in San Francisco’s first preseason game, and will now be out until at least December. He will join wideout Trent Taylor on the 49ers’ IR list. The 49ers used a third-round pick on Hurd this year, but he’s yet to debut.
Matthews signed with the 49ers early in the offseason but did not make the team. He participated in multiple workouts during the regular season’s audition circuit but did not sign anywhere.
The sixth-year wideout has not been able to re-establish his previously promising career track since being traded from Philadelphia to Buffalo in 2017 but stands to join former Bills teammate Marquise Goodwin, along with Dante Pettis and rookie Deebo Samuel, as notable 49ers receivers. A former second-round pick, Matthews is still just 27. He eclipsed 800 yards in a a season from 2014-16, doing so in both Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson‘s offenses.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.