49ers Rumors

NFL Staff Updates: Commanders, 49ers, Slater, Colts, Panthers

The Commanders announced three updates to their front office staff this week. With new leadership in general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn, the team sees two staffers depart and one scout join his former boss.

Firstly, senior director of player development Malcolm Blacken will not be retained in 2024, per Ben Standig of The Athletic. Serving multiple stints with the team since 1999, Blacken had risen to his role from years as a strength and conditioning coach.

Joining Blacken in departure will be college scout Harrison Ritcher. According to Neil Stratton of SucceedinFootball.com, Ritcher is headed to Atlanta to serve as a national scout for the Falcons, reuniting with former Washington staffer, and current assistant general manager in Atlanta, Kyle Smith. Ritcher had been with the team since 2017.

Lastly, the Commanders will be adding Jack Quagliarello to the scouting staff as a pro scout, per Stratton. Quagliarello follows Peters from San Francisco after spending last season as a scouting assistant with the 49ers.

Here are a few other staff updates from around the NFL:

  • The 49ers also made some announcements, all to their scouting staff. San Francisco has promoted Josh Williams from national scout to director of scouting & football operations, per Stratton. Williams started with the team in 2011 as a scouting assistant and has quickly risen through the ranks. As a part of the NFL’s accelerator program, Williams is widely considered a future general manager candidate. He’ll work closely with general manager John Lynch and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe in 2024. In addition, Stratton notes that Ryan Schutta has been hired as a scouting assistant, filling the role vacated by Quagliarello’s departure mentioned above.
  • Following his retirement, we learned that former Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater would join the Patriots staff in a full-time role. Now, Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald tells us a bit more about Slater’s new role. Kyed says that, while Slater “hasn’t advanced into a coaching role” just yet, he will serve an advisory role on the staff in 2024.
  • The Colts had reportedly finalized their 2024 coaching staff back in March, but we did note that they planned to announce two Tony Dungy Diversity Fellowship hires at the time. The team has officially made such announcements, per team writer JJ Stankevitz, naming Kalon Humphries and Diego Ortiz as the two fellows. Indianapolis also announced a title change for Joe Hastings, who will now serve as senior assistant special teams coach, and the hiring of Brent Stockstill as a defensive assistant. Stockstill makes his NFL coaching debut after five years coaching at the collegiate level with a focus on offense.
  • Lastly, the Panthers have added Brad Obee as their new Midwest scout, according to Stratton. Over 21 years with the Bears and Eagles, Obee has spent time in numerous scouting roles, often focusing on pro scouting. He most recently spent the last three seasons as an area scout for Philadelphia, departing after the expiration of his contract.

49ers Eyed T Roger Rosengarten In Second Round?

The 49ers appear all but set to go into a second season with Colton McKivitz as their starting right tackle. The team has signed recent Titans stopgap RT Chris Hubbard, but no clear threat to McKivitz appears on the team’s roster.

That could certainly have changed, in the view of several, had the Ravens not addressed their tackle need in Round 2. Forty-two picks after Pittsburgh selected Troy Fautanu, Baltimore chose the Washington Huskies’ other tackle starter, Roger Rosengarten. In the view of many around the league, the 49ers were preparing to draft Rosengarten with their No. 63 overall selection, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes.

Playing opposite Fautanu for last season’s Division I-FBS runner-up, Rosengarten graded as the No. 62 overall player in the view of ESPN’s Scouts Inc. That certainly makes his No. 62 landing spot rather interesting. The Ravens having traded away two-year right tackle starter Morgan Moses made them a clear candidate to target this position in the early rounds. The 49ers have a short-term option in McKivitz, but it appears they were strongly considering bringing in a higher-upside option in Round 2.

San Francisco ended up with Florida State cornerback Renardo Green in the second round, trading down one spot (via the Chiefs) after Rosengarten went off the board. The team will hope Green can fill its multiyear need in the slot. Green also joins a 49ers team with its top two corners — Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir — going into contract years. For the time being, the defending NFC champions have viable pieces at corner and right tackle. But McKivitz’s first year replacing Mike McGlinchey produced some hiccups.

Pro Football Focus charged Trent Williams with allowing zero sacks last season; the advanced metrics website tagged McKivitz with nine allowed. PFF ranked McKivitz, who previously operated as a swingman during the latter part of McGlinchey’s five-year starter run, 47th at the position last season. The 49ers still extended their current RT, authorizing a one-year, $5.85MM bump early this offseason. The deal, however, does not guarantee McKivitz anything beyond 2024.

San Francisco is operating with a Williams-led line that features four modest contracts around that $23MM-per-year deal. McKivitz, 27, is signed through the 2025 season. With Williams going into his age-36 season, tackle looms as a key 49ers need beyond 2024.

Rosengarten worked as Washington’s right tackle for the past two seasons. That role carried additional importance due to Michael Penix Jr., a transfer pickup in 2022, being left-handed. The eventual second-rounder earned back-to-back Pac-12 honorable mentions for his performance in the role. The Ravens, who memorably traded Orlando Brown Jr. after using him as a multiyear RT, will see if he can become a long-term answer after Moses served as a bridge. The 49ers appear prepared to use 2024 to further gauge McKivitz’s prospects of filling this post long term.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/15/24

Here are the NFL’s midweek draft pick signings:

Arizona Cardinals

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/14/24

Today’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Commanders

49ers, T Chris Hubbard Agree To Deal

The 49ers are set to add experienced depth up front. San Francisco has a deal in place with offensive tackle Chris Hubbard, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

This will be a one-year pact worth $1.375MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network adds. Hubbard started all nine of his games during his single season in Tennessee, adding to his lengthy NFL resume. The 33-year-old has logged 94 appearances and 58 starts during his time with the Steelers, Browns and Titans.

Hubbard suffered a biceps injury in November and it caused him to miss the remainder of the 2023 season. To no surprise, the ailment hindered his market and left him waiting until well after the draft to find a new deal. The former UDFA earned a PFF grade of 69, and his absence was missed on a Titans team which struggled up front last season.

San Francisco is set on the blindside with Trent Williams on the books. The team saw right tackle starter Mike McGlinchey depart on a big-ticket deal with the Broncos in free agency last offseason, creating a notable vacancy on that side of the line. The 49ers relied on Colton McKivitz to replace McGlinchey, and he started all 20 regular and postseason games in 2023.

McKivitz did enough in his first season as a starter to earn a one-year extension, keeping him in place through 2025. Hubbard will therefore serve in a swing tackle capacity upon arrival in the Bay Area. The latter has sporadically seen time on the blindside during his career, but his most common position has been at the right tackle spot.

The defending NFC champions entered the draft with O-line as a potential target area. The team selected Dominick Puni in the third round, and he has college experience at both tackle and guard. Today’s Hubbard news suggests the Kansas product will be used primarily on the interior as a rookie, something corroborated by Matt Barrows and David Lombardi of The Athletic (subscription required). At a minimum, both Hubbard and Puni will provide the 49ers with depth at multiple spots up front.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/13/24

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Claimed off waivers (from 49ers): DL Spencer Waege
  • Placed on reserve/retired list: OL Trente Jones

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: DL Chris Collins

Miami Dolphins

  • Signed: OL Ireland Brown, CB Jason Maitre

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Signed: RB Terrell Jennings, G Ryan Johnson, LB Jay Person, DE Jotham Russell
  • Waived: RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Signed: DL Elijah Chatman
  • Waived: OLB Jeremiah Martin

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Waived: OL Kellen Diesch

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: DL Shakel Brown

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: DE Nathan Pickering, LB Devin Richardson

Tennessee Titans

49ers Sign Eight Undrafted Free Agents

The 49ers have been active signing their rookies to contracts, finalizing deals with six of their eight draft picks. The team also found time to add a group of undrafted free agents, as the team announced that they’ve signed eight rookie free agents:

Evan Anderson got a significant pay day to join the 49ers offseason roster. The Florida Atlantic product earned a $30K signing bonus and had $250K of his base salary guaranteed, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston. The defensive lineman was productive in four collegiate seasons, compiling 20 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and three fumble recoveries. Elsewhere on defense, Jaylen Mahoney joins the 49ers after snagging four interceptions and collecting 17 passes defended in fives seasons with the Commodores.

Tanner Mordecai bounced around during his college career. He didn’t play much in three seasons at Oklahoma before transferring to SMU, where he tossed 72 touchdowns across two seasons. He spent the 2023 campaign at Wisconsin, where he connected on nine touchdowns in 10 games. During rookie minicamp, he’ll be joined on the offensive side by Cody Schrader, who is coming off a breakout 2023 campaign where he collected 1,818 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. The 49ers also added Terique Owens, who is the son of former 49ers star wideout Terrell Owens.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/10/24

Yesterday’s rush of rookie signings continued today. Here are Friday’s draft pick signings:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Minnesota Vikings

  • K Will Reichard (sixth round, Alabama)
  • C Michael Jurgens (seventh round, Wake Forest)
  • DT Levi Drake Rodriguez (seventh round, Texas A&M-Commerce)

New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • G Mason McCormick (fourth round, South Dakota State)
  • DT Logan Lee (sixth round, Iowa)

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Hall Of Fame CB Jimmy Johnson Dies At 86

Jimmy Johnson, a Hall of Fame cornerback who starred for the 49ers over 16 seasons in the 1960s and ’70s, died Wednesday night, his family announced. Johnson was 86.

Among 49ers cornerbacks, Johnson set the standard in terms of seasons played and interceptions. Although Ronnie Lott tallied more INTs as a 49er (51), the legendary safety changed positions (from corner) early in his career. No 49ers cornerback comes especially close to Johnson’s career INT total (47). Only Jerry Rice played in more games as a 49er (238) than Johnson’s 213. The team retired the Hall of Famer’s No. 37 jersey.

Johnson’s 47 INTs came during a career in which quarterbacks regularly steered clear of the coverage ace. Johnson did not earn his first Pro Bowl honor until his age-31 season (1969), but he landed four more invites and added five All-Pro nods (three first-team selections). The first-team honors spanned Johnson’s age-32, age-33 and age-34 seasons.

Johnson also spent early-career time at safety and at wide receiver. The 49ers tried the 6-foot-2 talent at wideout in 1962; he totaled 627 yards and four TDs that year. It was not too hard to predict Jimmy Johnson would display elite athleticism, as his older brother — Rafer Johnson — was a storied competitor in the decathlon, winning the gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Jimmy Johnson starred in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump at UCLA, winning an NCAA title in the hurdles the same year Rafer won gold in Italy.

Only rarely would other teams’ quarterbacks even look his direction, and more often than not regretted the decision if they challenged him,” Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco) of Johnson’s cornerback performance.

Johnson made vital contributions to the 49ers’ early-1970s surge, which produced three straight playoff berths and two consecutive appearances in the NFC championship game. Johnson was in the starting lineup for each of San Francisco’s five postseason contests in that span. Johnson’s play remained strong enough he started until age 38. Johnson ranks in the top 20 for starts by an NFL DB. Most of the players ahead of him on that list logged multiple seasons at safety.

Much of Johnson’s prime was spent on struggling 49ers teams, limiting his exposure decades before the NFL greenlit free agency. The 49ers, who selected Johnson sixth overall in 1961, lost at least six games each season from 1961-69. Paul Zimmerman, the late Sports Illustrated NFL writer, called Johnson the greatest defensive back in NFL history when compiling his all-time team earlier this century. Although Johnson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, he was not named to the NFL’s 100th Anniversary Team when that surfaced in 2019.

49ers Sign Round 2 CB Renardo Green, Two Other Draftees

Dozens of undoubtedly high-end pens are being put to paper around NFL facilities today, and the 49ers are in on the rookie signing action. San Francisco inked three members of its rookie class Thursday night.

Second-round cornerback Renardo Green and fourth-round picks Isaac Guerendo, a running back, and Jacob Cowing (a wide receiver) are now signed to their four-year rookie deals. With Green being selected at No. 64, his contract will not be fully guaranteed. Last year’s second-round closer — Broncos wide receiver Marvin Mims, who arrived at No. 63 — received two fully guaranteed years and no guarantees into Year 3.

Although this 49ers draft is best known for being the first since 2021 to feature a first-rounder, Green is the team’s first second-round selection since 2022. The Florida State alum operated as a starter for two seasons, earning second-team All-ACC acclaim last year. The 49ers appear set to attempt to plug in the 6-foot corner into the slot role.

Since letting K’Waun Williams walk in 2022, the 49ers have been unable to find a steady slot presence. Logan Ryan ended up in the role to close last season; the veteran DB has since retired. The 49ers had hoped 2023 free agent signing Isaiah Oliver would fill the void alongside perimeter starters Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir, but he did not end up doing so and has since been released. Oliver caught on with the Jets.

While the 49ers have a host of young corners and veteran Isaac Yiadom on their roster and carry the option of moving Lenoir inside on passing downs, the team may still want a full-time slot cog. Though, 49ers GM John Lynch said the team views Green as a player capable of helping the cause inside or outside. With Lenoir and Ward in contract years, the team may need to turn to this year’s No. 64 overall pick as a regular by 2025 at the latest.