49ers Rumors

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/7/23

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

As expected, Tyrion Davis-Price has landed back with the 49ers after getting cut by the big-league club earlier this week. The 2022 third-round pick has seen time in just one game for San Francisco this season, collecting 21 yards from scrimmage on six touches. He appeared in six games as a rookie, collecting 99 rushing yards. He’ll join Jeremy McNichols as the 49ers’ practice-squad options at RB.

K Robbie Gould Announces Retirement

Robbie Gould expressed interest in playing a 19th NFL season, and he auditioned for the Giants last month. The longtime Bears and 49ers kicker will instead opt to leave the game behind.

A day after his 41st birthday, Gould wrote in a Players’ Tribune post he intends to retire. Gould, who sandwiched a lone Giants season between lengthy runs in Chicago and San Francisco, will finish his career as one of the longest-tenured players in this era.

The Penn State alum kicked in 266 games; among players to make their debuts in the 21st century, that ranks ninth. Among kickers, that number ranks behind only Sebastian Janikowski. While other pre-21st-century specialists have that longevity beat, Gould proved dependable to the point he rarely ended up on the kicker workout circuit during his near-two-decade run. Overall, only 10 kickers played more games in NFL history than Gould.

Gould did bounce from the Patriots to the Ravens to the Bears in 2005, but upon signing with the Bears that October, he stayed in Chicago for 11 seasons. While the Bears cut him just before the 2016 campaign, Gould ended up with a playoff-bound Giants squad that year. The 49ers picked him up in 2017 and used him as their kicker for six seasons. Over the course of his career, Gould kicked in 16 playoff games and two Super Bowls — Super Bowl XLI with the Bears and Super Bowl LIV with the 49ers. During that Bears Super Bowl-bound 2006 season, Gould earned first-team All-Pro honors.

Not counting practice squad deals, Gould signed seven NFL contracts. Although kicker sits as one of the league’s lowest-paid positions, Gould made more than $47MM over the course of his career.

The Bears gave Gould a position-topping deal in 2008 (five years, $15.5MM) and extended him again near the end of the 2013 season. After kicking for less than $1MM with the Giants, Gould signed a $2MM-per-year deal with the 49ers. Reestablishing his value on that first San Francisco contract, Gould received the franchise tag in 2019. Just before that year’s July extension deadline, Gould and the 49ers then agreed to terms on a four-year, $19MM extension.

Although Gould demanded a trade after being tagged that year, he ended up playing a pivotal role during the team’s rise under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. After leading the NFL with a 97.1% make rate in 2018, Gould connected at on at least 84% of his kicks over the past two seasons. During the 2021 campaign, Gould made a game-winning kick that finished off a 49ers upset of the No. 1-seeded Packers on a snowy night at Lambeau Field. Gould also made a game-winner in the 2006 playoffs, eliminating the Seahawks in overtime and sending the Bears to their first NFC championship game since 1988. Gould’s 86.46% career make rate ranks ninth in NFL history. Gould finishes his career as one of the best postseason specialists in NFL history, making 29 of 29 field goal attempts and never missing an extra point.

Gould said in July he had spoken with teams and later took part in the above-referenced Giants audition in November, with the team aiming to find a Graham Gano fill-in. The 49ers had used a third-round pick on Michigan’s Jake Moody in April, ending Gould’s productive run in the Bay Area.

49ers Interested In TE Zach Ertz

DECEMBER 6: Going further here, Barrows indicates the 49ers are one of the most interested Ertz suitors. Connected to a potential Eagles reunion, Ertz would fit in as a Kittle backup/tandem partner in San Francisco. Dwelley is set to miss time and could land on IR, per Barrows. Ertz may wait another week to decide where he wants to land, while hoping a better offer emerges. But it appears the 49ers are firmly in the mix for a proven skill-position player to join Kittle, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

DECEMBER 4: It sounds like a new suitor could be emerging in the Zach Ertz sweepstakes. When asked about the 49ers interest in the free agent tight end, coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that GM John Lynch has looked into a potential signing. On the flip side, Shanahan also acknowledged that he doesn’t expect a deal to materialize.

“I haven’t heard anything now, so I don’t think so at this time,” Shanahan said of a potential Ertz signing (via Matt Barrows of The Athletic). “But I have a lot of respect for him as a player. I’ve always been a fan…But right now, at least from my standpoint, we’re good with our (TE) group. But we have injuries and things change. So we’ll look into all options as always.”

As Shanahan hinted, the 49ers could use some additional depth at the position. As Barrows passes along, Ross Dwelley is currently dealing with a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss multiple weeks. This isn’t the end of the world for San Francisco’s tight ends depth chart, as Charlie Woerner is the clear TE2 behind George Kittle. Still, the injury opens a spot, and it remains to be seen if the 49ers would prefer a veteran or someone like practice squad TE Jake Tonges.

Elsewhere, the Ravens and coach John Harbaugh appear to be distancing themselves from the free agent tight end. As Harbaugh noted today, the team still isn’t counting out Mark Andrews for an eventual return, meaning the Ravens could be fine at the position come playoffs.

“Any time a great player is out there, you look at it,” Harbaugh told reporters (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). “But I would say this: we like our TEs. We really like our guys. I’m not ruling out Mark Andrews for down the road. … I think right now, we’ll just roll with those guys.”

As of this afternoon, Ertz was still taking his time evaluating all of his options (per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). It shouldn’t take long for the veteran to find his next landing spot, and it sounds like there are plenty of squads still in the running.

NFC West Rumors: McCaffrey, Smith, Lynch

In a recent deep dive on the value of NFL running backs by Dan Pompei of The Athletic, it was revealed that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan reportedly liked running back Christian McCaffrey so much coming out of Stanford in 2017 that the team heavily considered taking him at No. 3 overall all in that year’s draft. That would’ve made McCaffrey the highest-drafted running back since Trent Richardson was selected third overall by the Browns in 2012.

Instead, of course, McCaffrey was selected five picks later by the Panthers. McCaffrey would immediately display his skill and versatility upon arrival in the NFL, being named a first-team All-Pro after leading the league in scrimmage yards (2,392) and touchdowns (19) in 2019. The following two years would be hampered with injury, limiting him to only 10 contests over that time, but it wouldn’t deter Shanahan from trading four draft picks for him in 2022, finally attaining the running back he so admired.

The 49ers, of course, selected McCaffrey’s college teammate, defensive end Solomon Thomas at No. 3 in 2017. Thomas failed to reach the heights of his draft stock, leading to his fifth-year option being declined. Unfortunately for Thomas, he would suffer a torn ACL two games into his contract year. Since leaving San Francisco in free agency, he has spent time with the Raiders and, his current team, the Jets.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC West:

  • Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith in playing this season on a shiny new contract that, at the original time of reporting, boasted an amount of $30MM to be earned through incentives. According to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, that doesn’t quite appear to be accurate. The supposed “incentives” have now been revealed to be escalators, which unlike incentives, are tied to non-guaranteed bonuses. For example, an incentive would pay Smith $30MM if he were to reach certain statistical benchmarks. In reality, with the escalator, Smith would need to reach those benchmarks and still be on the team’s roster by the fifth day of the new league year in order to boost his $9.6MM roster bonus to $24.6MM. There are a number of statistical benchmarks that Smith is not on track to reach (4,282 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 69.755 percent completion rate, 100.874 passer rating), but he could still cash in on team benchmarks such as a playoff berth or a 10-win season.
  • When 49ers general manager John Lynch was given a multi-year extension alongside Shanahan back in September, the team executive was reportedly given an additional title, as well, to accompany the new contract, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. In addition to his role as GM, Lynch will now also sport the title of president of football operations.

49ers Waive RB Tyrion Davis-Price

To clear a roster spot for Logan Ryan, the 49ers waived one of their backup running backs. Tyrion Davis-Price is now available on the wire, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.

Chosen in the 2022 third round, Davis-Price has never been able to catch on in San Francisco. This continues a trend of sorts for the 49ers, who cut bait on 2021 third-round running back draftee Trey Sermon after one season. Like Sermon, Davis-Price has seen lower draft choices and/or UDFAs play in front of him.

Christian McCaffrey‘s October 2022 arrival changed the 49ers’ fortunes at running back. The team had kept costs low at the position between the Jerick McKinnon signing and the McCaffrey trade, and CMC has proven durable despite the run of injuries that marred his later years with Carolina. With McCaffrey atop the depth chart, Elijah Mitchell has played behind him. But Jordan Mason, a 2022 UDFA, has worked ahead of Davis-Price as well.

Mason logged 43 carries last season and has taken 23 handoff this year. Davis-Price has taken 40 handoffs over his two NFL seasons but has barely factored into San Francisco’s 2023 equation. The LSU product has only played in one game this year. Davis-Price averaged just 2.9 yards per carry last season. He came to the 49ers after a 1,003-yard season at LSU.

It was rumored the 49ers chose Davis-Price as an olive branch of sorts to Deebo Samuel, who had requested a trade before the 2022 draft. Running back usage came up as a sticking point during that standoff, and depth contributed to that during the 2021 season. But Samuel signed an extension last summer, minimizing this narrative; Davis-Price never factored into the team’s plans much once the season started.

It is possible the 49ers circle back to Davis-Price via a practice squad stash, though veteran Jeremy McNichols resides on the team’s P-squad. The 49ers saw the Eagles claim Sermon last year but did not bring him back when the 2021 third-rounder became available this year.

49ers To Sign DB Logan Ryan

Tuesday now features multiple late-season signings involving 30-something defenders. After the Lions added Tyson Alualu, Logan Ryan will be on track to make his debut soon. The 49ers are signing the veteran defensive back, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports.

Last with the Buccaneers, Ryan had not previously caught on anywhere this year. His Tampa Bay contract expired in March. Ryan, 32, started six games for the Bucs last season and has 121 career starts. As the 49ers push for home-field advantage in the NFC, Ryan will be a part of their secondary. This is an active-roster deal, with the 49ers waiving running back Tyrion Davis-Price to make room on their 53-man roster.

Ryan brings extensive experience at safety and cornerback. While Ryan has spent the bulk of the 2020s at safety, the former Patriots third-round pick began his career with several seasons at corner. The 49ers pursued several corners at the trade deadline but did not add anyone. They also sustained a major loss in the secondary last month, losing All-Pro Talanoa Hufanga for the season due to an ACL tear.

In addition to Hufanga, the 49ers are without veteran backup and special-teamer George Odum. The latter suffered a biceps injury in Week 12. Both players are on IR, depleting the NFC West leaders’ depth at the position. While this has not affected San Francisco’s post-bye surge, the team has reeled off its most recent win streak with a thin safety corps.

Entering Tuesday morning, the 49ers had only two safeties — starters Tashaun Gipson and Ji’Ayir Brown, a third-round rookie — on their 53-man roster. The 49ers added ex-Raiders and Falcons starter Erik Harris to their practice squad last week and used him in Week 13, calling him up as a gameday elevation against the Eagles. Harris is back on San Francisco’s practice squad.

Ryan played in nine games with the Bucs last season, spending part of the campaign on IR. A foot injury sidelined Ryan for an extended period last year, but he returned in December to help the Bucs hang on for the NFC South title. Prior to Ryan’s Tampa stay, he spent two seasons with the Giants. Ryan signed with the Giants late during the 2020 offseason and secured an extension later that year. After being part of a safety corps that also housed Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney, Ryan received his walking papers — as the Giants changed regimes — during the 2022 offseason.

The Titans gave Ryan a three-year, $30MM deal in 2017; he played out the deal. Ryan was a starter for a Titans team that made a surprise run to the AFC championship game in 2019. This journey was old hat to Ryan by that point, as he worked as a regular for Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams in 2014 and ’16. Even at corner, Ryan has proven a prolific tackler. He has four 90-plus-tackle seasons. Two of those came during his corner years. On the strength of his run defense, Pro Football Focus graded Ryan as an above-average safety in 2022. Ryan has three four-plus-INT season on his resume as well, though each of those came during his years at corner. Ryan has not played cornerback regularly since 2019.

At corner, the 49ers have seen improved play from Ambry Thomas, whom they have used as a regular corner over this four-game win streak. The team, which let Jimmie Ward defect to Houston this offseason, now has two additional veteran safeties in the fold. Despite DeMeco Ryans‘ departure, the 49ers rank second in scoring defense and fifth in yards allowed entering Week 14.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/23

Today’s gameday callups and minor moves heading into Sunday:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

The Chiefs have ruled out running back Jerick McKinnon for tomorrow’s game against the Packers, necessitating some extra depth at the position. The team will turn to Prince, an undrafted free agent who has spent the entire season on Kansas City’s practice squad. Prince had a breakout season at Tulsa in 2022, finishing with 813 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns.

Winfrey, a 2022 fourth-round pick, was cut by the Browns last July after being investigated for pulling a gun on a woman. He joined the Jets practice squad in early November and will finally earn his first promotion of the season. Winfrey got into 13 games for Cleveland last year, collecting 22 tackles and 0.5 sacks.

At age 36, Irvin will be making his debut for a sixth NFL team. The veteran pass rusher signed with Detroit midway through November and will finally have a chance to extend his streak of regular season appearances to 12 straight years. The only absence on the Lions’ front-seven will be linebacker Alex Anzalone, so Detroit may be looking to stand Irvin up to help the team’s depth at linebacker.


49ers Pursued Trade For Broncos CB Patrick Surtain

Backing off their previously designated “open for business” status at the trade deadline, the Broncos did not end up moving anyone beyond stripping their roster of veteran defensive ends Randy Gregory and Frank Clark. The team nevertheless fielded extensive inquiries into its top players.

While Justin Simmons and Jerry Jeudy generated interest, the latter drawing an offer of third- and fifth-round picks, Denver stood down. Even as the team was believed to be nearing sell mode after a 1-5 start, it was never believed to be open to trading its top player. But clubs still contacted the Broncos to see what it would take for them to move Patrick Surtain. At least three made offers. The 49ers may have been one of them.

San Francisco pursued a few corners at the trade deadline, being one of the initial teams reported to have negotiated with the Bears on Jaylon Johnson. The 49ers also discussed Nate Hobbs with the Raiders, but the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch indicates the team pursued Surtain as well. The Oct. 31 deadline came with the 49ers mired in a three-game losing streak, as the team played multiple games without Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel. But pass defense issues loomed as well.

This particular target was never especially realistic, with a separate November report noting the Broncos set a two-first-rounder price to even begin a serious conversation about a Surtain trade. The Jaguars received that haul for Jalen Ramsey in 2019, with the All-Pro seeking a path out of Jacksonville. Surtain, meanwhile, solidified himself as a Broncos cornerstone last season by becoming a first-team All-Pro corner — the franchise’s first such achievement at the position since Chris Harris and Aqib Talib each earned that distinction in 2016. Surtain, 23, will be signed through 2025 once the Broncos pick up his fifth-year option by May.

The 49ers, who did not add a corner at the deadline, swung for the fences on Surtain because they were concerned about the performances of Ambry Thomas and Isaiah Oliver, Branch adds. But the team, which is now riding a three-game win streak, has seen post-deadline improvement from the former. A 2021 third-round pick, Thomas has been the 49ers’ No. 3 during their recent surge. He has checked in as a part of San Francisco’s nickel package, working as a boundary corner and kicking Deommodore Lenoir into the slot in that frequently used package.

Pro Football Focus now rates Thomas as the 49ers’ top corner this season, slotting him 11th after 11 games. Oliver, who signed to play the slot role this offseason, has seen his usage significantly minimized. The ex-Falcons second-rounder has played a combined six defensive snaps over the past three games.

Denver’s lone in-season trade came with San Francisco, which acquired Gregory in a late-round swap of 2024 picks. Gregory has played a rotational role for the 49ers, who made a bigger move by obtaining Chase Young less than hour before the deadline. That deal came after the Commanders reduced their asking price on the former No. 2 overall pick. Gregory has one sack and four QB hits since joining the 49ers, working exclusively as a backup.

Updated 2024 NFL Draft Order

With Week 13 underway, the picture at the top of the NFL draft board continues to become clearer. Plenty is yet to be determined with respect to the top of the order, however.

The Panthers’ ongoing struggles led to Frank Reich‘s firing, but the Bears own Carolina’s top pick this year due to the 2023 swap which landed Bryce Young via the No. 1 selection. Chicago being able to have the top pick once again – coupled with their own selection landing in the top-10 – would make the Bears a team to watch closely come April. The race for the top two or three slots (and, as such, the ability to draft QBs Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, along with wideout Marvin Harrison Jr.) will also be a key late-season storyline for the Cardinals and Patriots.

The Commanders have lost three straight games, overshadowing a promising season from first-year starter Sam Howell. After deciding to move on from defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the trade deadline, the team’s defense has continued to struggle. DC Jack Del Rio is out as a result, and head coach Ron Rivera‘s position is not believed to be on strong footing. A top-five pick could make the job in Washington more attractive presuming a opening arises this offseason.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order will be determined by the inverted 2024 standings — plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule — with playoff squads being slotted by their postseason outcome and regular-season record. Here is an updated look at the current draft order:

  1. Chicago Bears (via Panthers)
  2. Arizona Cardinals: 2-10
  3. New England Patriots: 2-9
  4. Chicago Bears: 4-8
  5. Washington Commanders: 4-8
  6. New York Giants: 4-8
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-7
  8. New York Jets: 4-7
  9. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-7
  10. Tennessee Titans: 4-7
  11. Las Vegas Raiders: 5-7
  12. New Orleans Saints: 5-6
  13. Green Bay Packers: 5-6
  14. Los Angeles Rams: 5-6
  15. Cincinnati Bengals: 5-6
  16. Buffalo Bills: 6-6
  17. Arizona Cardinals (via Texans)
  18. Denver Broncos: 6-5
  19. Atlanta Falcons: 5-6
  20. Minnesota Vikings: 6-6
  21. Seattle Seahawks: 6-6
  22. Indianapolis Colts: 6-5
  23. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-4
  24. Houston Texans (via Browns)
  25. Miami Dolphins: 8-3
  26. Detroit Lions: 8-3
  27. Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-3
  28. Dallas Cowboys: 9-3
  29. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-3
  30. San Francisco 49ers: 8-3
  31. Baltimore Ravens: 9-3
  32. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-1

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/28/23

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: CB Cameron McCutcheon
  • Released: OL Grant Miller

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

After getting cut by the Patriots this past weekend, Will Grier is back with the organization. Considering the uncertainty surrounding New England’s QB situation, there was some speculation that Grier could get a look before the end of the season, and his addition to the taxi squad leaves that door open. The former Cowboys backup started two games for the Panthers back in 2019, going winless while tossing zero touchdowns vs. four interceptions.