49ers Rumors

49ers WR Kendrick Bourne Signs RFA Tender

Kendrick Bourne is heading back to San Francisco. The restricted free agent wideout signed his tender with the 49ers today.

Back in March, Bourne was slapped with a second-round tender, an indication that the organization was serious about retaining him. Thanks to today’s official signing, the receiver will earn around $3.27MM next season.

Bourne spent the past three seasons with San Francisco, but he was especially productive between 2018 and 2019. Over the past two years, the receiver has hauled in a total of 72 receptions for 845 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He’s also appeared in 16 games in each of the past two seasons.

This past year, Bourne appeared in all three playoff games for San Francisco, hauling in a total of six receptions. That included a pair of catches for 42 yards during the 49ers’ Super Bowl loss.

Bourne could have a chance to take on a bigger role in 2020. With Deebo Samuel atop the receiver depth chart, Bourne will compete with the likes of Dante Pettis and free agent addition Travis Benjamin for snaps.

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Pres. Trump: NFL Should Start Season On Time

In a conference call with 12 sports commissioners Saturday, President Donald Trump said the NFL should start its season on time, Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com report. The president added that he hopes to have fans back in stadiums by August or September.

This would obviously be a major win for the NFL, which as of now plans to start its season on time and with fans in stadiums. However, considering the uncertainty COVID-19 has caused, it is difficult to determine how realistic a scenario of starting the season on time will be.

Trump said later Saturday afternoon he expects fans in stadiums and arenas “sooner than later” but added that he is not committing to the August-September range (Twitter links via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo).

An NFL return by Week 1 would hinge on widespread coronavirus testing being available, according to NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills. The league proceeding with large groups of fans cannot be a known reality until a vaccine is available, Sills added (via Judy Battista of NFL.com). The vaccine timetable, as of this week, is approximately 18 months. Sills said the NFL will follow recommendations from public health officials.

I would say that’s everyone’s hope, that we are in a position to do that,” Sills said earlier this week regarding starting the season on time. “But the reality is none of us know those facts for certain right now. We hope and pray for the best and prepare for the worst, realizing that is one potential outcome that we will be back fully in business playing games as normal in front of fans on schedule. But it’s certainly not the only outcome.”

Asked Saturday about California teams having fans in stadiums by September, governor Gavin Newsom said he is not optimistic about such a scenario (Twitter link via CNN’s Ronald Brownstein). That would certainly create issues for the 49ers, Chargers and Rams.

The NFL’s offseason programs are on hold, but teams are not giving up hope on some type of ramping-up period before training camp. The league has closed all 32 teams’ facilities, and no more than 10 people can be in draft war rooms later this month. When exactly the league will return to on-field action is not known, but the NFL’s goal (and the president’s) is for the league to start its 101st season on time.

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Bills, Packers Pursued Emmanuel Sanders

Emmanuel Sanders became the third-highest-paid wide receiver free agent this offseason, trailing younger cogs Amari Cooper and Robby Anderson. But before signing a two-year, $16MM Saints deal, the veteran received extensive interest on the market.

In addition to the 49ers wanting to retain him and some interest from the Cowboys and Jets, two 2019 playoff teams sought Sanders. The Bills and Packers were in the mix for the 33-year-old wideout, Sanders confirmed.

Both teams contacted him on the first day of the legal tampering period, as did the 49ers. While the Bills discussed a deal with Sanders, they reached an agreement to acquire Stefon Diggs less than an hour after the sides’ phone call.

I spoke with the Bills for a little bit and I told them, ‘Let me think about the idea; give me a night,'” Sanders said during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show (audio link). “And 30 minutes later the Stefon Diggs deal went through and I was like, ‘OK.’ So then I kind of waited. I was talking to Green Bay; I was talking to the Niners, just trying to figure out what type of deal, what type of money we’re talking about. And then the Saints called. I was ecstatic about them, the opportunity to play with Drew Brees, and the numbers made sense.”

While Buffalo unloaded a major asset to bolster its receiving corps with a younger player, Green Bay took the cheaper route in signing Devin Funchess. The Packers figure to still be in the market for receivers when the draft opens. Their Davante Adams sidekick contingent has not panned out, leaving the Packers with a clear need. The 49ers acquired the No. 13 overall pick from the Colts in the DeForest Buckner trade, and they also will likely be in the running for a first-round wide receiver.

Sanders said he signed with the Saints because of their consistent offense reminding him of his first season with the Broncos, in 2014, and because of Brees’ two-year contract. It is not yet known if Brees will play in 2021, but Sanders appears to be rooting for that to happen.

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49ers’ D.J. Jones Switches Agencies

49ers defensive tackle D.J. Jones has switched agencies and is now represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. The move is significant because Jones is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is eligible for an extension for the first time.

In 2019, Jones was a fairly unheralded member of San Francisco’s excellent defensive front, but he was clearly starting to come into his own. He started all 11 of the team’s games before succumbing to a season-ending ankle injury, and he established himself as a useful run-stuffer.

In 2020, he could have the opportunity to be more. The Niners traded DeForest Buckner to the Colts, and the team is not expected to make Arik Armstead a full-time defensive tackle. Additionally, Sheldon Day departed via free agency, and Jullian Taylor suffered a torn ACL late in the 2019 campaign. So while San Francisco could certainly add an interior defender or two in the coming months, Jones looks to be in line for a larger role. Maiocco suggests that Jones may end up taking some of Buckner’s pass-rushing snaps, which could obviously help him earn a larger payday.

The 2017 sixth-rounder out of Ole Miss did post two sacks last season — the first two of his career — despite being a predominantly two-down player. He is scheduled to earn $825K in 2020, unless he and the 49ers work out an extension ahead of time.

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49ers Expected To Keep Armstead At DE

  • On the subject of defensive alignments, the 49ers are not expected to make Arik Armstead a full-time defensive tackle despite trading DeForest Buckner and seeing fellow Super Bowl D-tackle starter Sheldon Day join him in Indianapolis. Armstead is expected to remain a base-downs defensive end and inside pass rusher, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Armstead has shown the ability to be an outside and inside pass rusher, leading the 49ers with 10 sacks last season.

NFC Contract Details: Funchess, Blythe, Redskins, Cardinals

We’ve got a handful of contract details to pass along. We’ll start with the latest NFC notes, all via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter:

  • Devin Funchess, WR (Packers): One year, $2.5MM. Includes $3.75MM in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns incentives.
  • Austin Blythe, OL (Rams): One year. Worth $3.9MM, including $3.5MM guaranteed. $950K signing bonus, $2.95MM salary (of which $2.55MM is guaranteed).
  • Peyton Barber, RB (Redskins): Two year, $3MM. Includes $600K signing bonus. Salaries: $910K (2020), $1.14MM (2021). $150K per-game maximum roster bonus in 2020, $199K+ per-game maximum roster bonus in 2021.
  • Nate Orchard, LB (Redskins): Re-signed. One-year, $1.047MM deal. Includes $137.5K signing bonus, $910K salary.
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM. Includes $600K signing bonus, $3.1MM salary, $50K workout bonus.
  • Marcus Gilbert, OT (Cardinals): One year, $3.75MM. $1.05MM base salary (of which only $150K is guaranteed). Up to $2.7MM in playing time incentives.
  • Max Garcia, OL (Cardinals): Re-signed. One-year, $1.25MM deal, including $600K guaranteed. Up to $190K per-game maximum roster bonus, up to $1MM in playing time incentives.
  • Cameron Fleming, OL (Giants): Signed. One-year, $3.5MM deal (as opposed to previously-reported one-year, $4MM deal). Includes $2MM guaranteed. Up to $500K per-game roster bonus, up to $500K playing time incentives.
  • Kerry Hyder, DE (49ers): One year. $1.5MM, including $550K guaranteed. Up to $250K in per-game roster bonus.

49ers Notes: Breida, Goodwin, Sherman

The 49ers placed a second-round tender on Matt Breida earlier this month, but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily going to be back with the team in 2020. San Francisco knew that at least one team was “circling” the running back, which is why they placed the tender on him to ensure he wouldn’t leave town without any compensation coming back, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Barrows writes that the team tendered him at that level thinking they’d be able to trade him later.

Barrows notes that he initially thought Breida would be traded for a “mid-round draft pick,” and that a deal could get done sometime during the draft. They have a very crowded backfield with Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Jerick McKinnon all in the room as well, so a Breida trade would make plenty of sense. Breida has shown lots of flashes, and has averaged at least 5.1 yards per carry in each of the last two years, but the Georgia Southern product is also seemingly always battling some type of injury. He’s currently set to make around $3.1MM under the tender in 2020.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • In the same piece, Barrows indicates that receiver Marquise Goodwin is on his way out as well. The 49ers are going to look for a trade partner for the receiver, but Barrows thinks it’ll be tough for them to find a take and that they’ll ultimately end up cutting him. Goodwin has a $5MM cap hit this year, and Barrows thinks they might cut him whenever they need to make room for a George Kittle extension. Goodwin had a career year with San Francisco in 2017 with 962 yards, but has been injured and ineffective the past two seasons. In 2019 he had only 186 yards.
  • The last we heard back in January, 49ers left tackle Joe Staley had no intention of retiring. But he still hasn’t necessarily definitively told the team he’ll play in 2020 and could be taking the offseason to deliberate, according to Matt Maiocco of NBCSports.com. Maiocco thinks the team might try to play up the mystery to keep teams guessing as to whether or not they’ll draft a tackle early in what is regarded as a strong offensive tackle class. Thanks to the DeForest Buckner trade, San Fran currently holds the 13th overall pick in addition to the 31st. Maiocco also writes that Mike McGlinchey “appears locked into right tackle” and won’t be switching over to the left side whenever Staley does retire. Staley, a starter for the past 13 seasons, will turn 36 in August.
  • The 49ers “certainly will not pick up” the fifth-year option on defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, Maiocco writes. Thomas has been a massive disappointment since the team drafted him third overall back in 2017, so this isn’t too surprising. It also means that the Stanford product will be entering free agency next offseason, although Maiocco cautions that doesn’t mean he won’t be back with the team and that they might try to re-sign him cheaply. Thomas started at least 12 games in each of his first two seasons but only started three last year, playing just 41 percent of the defensive snaps. With Buckner out of the way, he could get one last shot to establish himself.
  • One last 49ers note. The team is doing right by Richard Sherman, giving him an extra $1MM signing bonus to “account for the 90% play-time incentive he narrowly missed out on last season,” Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a nice gesture from the team, as the cornerback’s resurgent play was a large part of the reason they made the Super Bowl.

Contract Details: Davis, Roberts, Haeg

Let’s take a closer look at the details of a few recently-signed free agent contracts:

AFC

NFC

  • Sean Davis, S (Redskins): One year, $4MM. $2MM guaranteed (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of ESPN.com).
  • Zach Kerr, DT (Panthers): Two years, $3MM. Unknown incentives available (Twitter link via Garafolo).
  • B.J. Goodson, LB (Browns): One year, $2.4MM. $2.25MM guaraneed. $1.25MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
  • Joe Haeg, T (Buccaneers): One year, $2.3MM. $1.5MM guaranteed. Up to $1MM available via playtime incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Cedric Ogbuehi, T (Seahawks): One year, $2.3MM. $500K guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com).
  • Will Parks, S (Eagles): One year, $1.5MM. $1.375MM guaranteed. $375K signing bonus. Up to $125K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tajae Sharpe, WR (Vikings): One year, $1MM. $675K guaranteed. $175K signing bonus. Max value of $1.5MM (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Sharrod Neasman, S (Falcons): One year, $950K. $40K signing bonus. Veteran salary benefit (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Joe Walker, LB (49ers): One year, $900K. Max of $75K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Wilson).

49ers Not Interested In OBJ Trade

A year after Odell Beckham Jr. was traded by a team that insisted it was not interested in trading him, the star wide receiver popped up in trade rumors again a few months ago. While Beckham remains on the Browns, standing in Cleveland may not be too far from where it was in New York circa 2019.

The 49ers engaged in discussions with the Giants for Beckham last year, but things worked out pretty well for them despite OBJ being dealt to Cleveland. Although Emmanuel Sanders‘ defection to New Orleans leaves San Francisco again in need at wideout, Jay Glazer of The Athletic notes the 49ers will not pursue Beckham this offseason (subscription required).

While the 49ers indeed “loved” Beckham last year, Glazer adds that the team is now trying to add draft capital rather than trade it for veterans. San Francisco did this upon trading DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis, and the first-rounder acquired (No. 13 overall) could well be used on a wide receiver.

It became clear early last season that Jimmy Garoppolo needed more help, so the 49ers added Sanders. They had wanted to retain him but did not bid higher than the Saints’ two-year, $16MM offer. The 49ers will almost certainly add a receiver with one of their early-round picks to join their Deebo Samuel-led corps. San Francisco has used consecutive second-round picks on wideouts, with Samuel following 2018 acquisition Dante Pettis. The 49ers have not used a first-round pick on a receiver since their disappointing A.J. Jenkins selection in 2012.

Beckham and Baker Mayfield struggled to stay on the same page during Freddie Kitchens‘ one-and-done season. The Giants eating all the dead money in dealing Beckham to the Browns would make the 27-year-old talent an interesting trade chip, and OBJ surfaced in trade rumors late last season. While the three-time Pro Bowler’s long-term status in Cleveland probably isn’t stable, he remains in the Browns’ 2020 plans for the time being.

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49ers Balked At DeForest Buckner’s Price

After months of rumors indicating the 49ers’ priority hierarchy placed George Kittle and DeForest Buckner extensions atop the franchise’s agenda, Buckner is now a Colt and Arik Armstead has a long-term 49ers contract. Buckner’s 11th-hour negotiations with the 49ers appear to have been a fork-in-the-road moment for the franchise.

The 49ers began talking an extension with their standout defensive tackle last year, only to table a Buckner deal until 2020. However, after those discussions produced a price the 49ers deemed too high, the team began holding trade talks at the Combine, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

Buckner’s agent and the 49ers engaged in discussions at the Combine as well, per Barrows. That may have been a last-ditch effort, based on what happened next. The sides were far apart on extension value as far back as May 2019. Two weeks after the 49ers searched for trade partners, the Combine’s host team came in with a successful offer.

The Colts valued Buckner immensely, authorizing a $21MM-per-year deal. That price is just $1.5MM off Aaron Donald‘s AAV and worth more than any edge rusher not named Khalil Mack. The 49ers then signed Armstead to a five-year, $85MM deal. While saving $4MM per year by pivoting to an Armstead re-up over a Buckner deal, the 49ers will also gamble on the former’s contract year compared to the latter’s superior body of work. Of course, San Francisco also holds the No. 13 overall pick now and still employs four former first-round picks along its defensive line.

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