49ers Rumors

49ers Re-Sign WR/TE Jordan Matthews, Waive WR Bennie Fowler

Jordan Matthews has found his next team. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran wideout (and hopeful tight end) is signing with the 49ers. The team has waived wideout Bennie Fowler to make room on the roster (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter).

Matthews has bounced on and off the 49ers roster since 2019, although that’s only resulted in three appearances with the organization. Now, the veteran is hoping to reinvent himself as a tight end; the 6-foot-3 target has added 30 pounds this offseason, which should give him the weight to play the position. Matthews also worked out with teammate (and fellow tight end) George Kittle.

Matthews, a former second-round pick, had at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, but he’s struggled to match that production over the past few years. Since 2017, Matthews has hauled in only 49 receptions for 615 yards and three scores. The 29-year-old is hoping the position change will help jump start his career.

We heard that a handful of teams had their eye on the veteran, but the only squad that had been definitively connected to Matthews were the Titans and Jets. Instead of joining the AFC, Matthews will be sticking in San Francisco, and he’ll have a good opportunity to make the roster behind Kittle. The veteran will be competing with Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley, MyCole Pruitt, and Josh Pederson for snaps.

Fowler, 30, joined the 49ers back in May. The wideout has appeared in 68 career games, hauling in 97 receptions for 1,101 yards and six touchdowns. He saw time in five games for the Saints in 2020, catching two passes for 11 yards.

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49ers To Work Out Dre Kirkpatrick

The 49ers will audition cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on Friday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The Niners recently placed Emmanuel Moseley on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so the former first-round pick could provide them with extra insurance. 

The Saints and Patriots also took a look at Kirkpatrick this offseason, but the longtime Bengals corner remains unsigned. Kirkpatrick has served as a full-time starter since 2015. All in all, he’s got nine years of NFL experience — eight with the Bengals and one year (2020) with the Cardinals.

Last year, Kirkpatrick appeared in 14 games for Arizona, including eleven starts. He finished out with 56 tackles, seven passes defended, three interceptions, and a much softer market than he anticipated.

Kirkpatrick could land with the 49ers, giving him a chance to see his last club twice in 2021. Whether in SF or elsewhere, the 31-year-old will look to add to his career totals of 358 tackles, three sacks, 72 passes defensed, and 13 interceptions.

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49ers Sign Trey Lance

It’s a done deal. On Wednesday, No. 3 overall draft pick Trey Lance formally inked his rookie contract with the 49ers. 

Per the terms of his slot, the quarterback will earn $34.1MM over the next four years. And, as a first-rounder, the Niners will reserve the right to tack on an additional season via the fifth-year option. Lance’s deal — completed just before the 49ers’ Wednesday morning practice — leaves Jets’ No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson as the last unsigned first-round pick.

The future is bright for Lance, but he’ll open the year on the bench. Earlier this week, Kyle Shanahan made it clear that Jimmy Garoppolo is still his QB1.

“Trey’s had seven practices with us, and I haven’t seen him in 40 days, so I’m not thinking about that right now,” Shanahan said. “There’s no open competition right now in terms of equal reps with the same group…Jimmy is coming in as the one, and Trey is coming in as the two.”

Of course, that’ll likely be Lance’s job come 2022. Niners GM John Lynch is saying all the right things, but he didn’t mortgage all that draft ammo for a professional clipboard holder.

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Latest On Trey Lance, 49ers QB “Competition”

There isn’t a QB competition in San Francisco. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said there is no open competition for the starting gig, as veteran Jimmy Garoppolo is the definitive starter while rookie Trey Lance will serve as the backup (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo via Twitter).

“Trey’s had seven practices with us, and I haven’t seen him in 40 days, so I’m not thinking about that right now,” Shanahan said (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area). “There’s no open competition right now in terms of equal reps with the same group…Jimmy is coming in as the one, and Trey is coming in as the two.”

This isn’t the first time the organization has expressed this sentiment. In fact, we heard earlier this year that the team was willing to roll with Garoppolo for the next two years before inevitably turning to Lance, the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft. To the 49ers credit, they seem to be sticking to their story, but it remains to be seen if they’ll stick with the game plan.

Few first-round quarterbacks since the Packers’ Brett Favre-to-Aaron Rodgers transition have failed to take over starting jobs as rookies, let alone second-year passers. In every non-Rodgers case, a first-round pick having failed to seize the job by Year 2 signaled a bust. Garoppolo sat for three-plus seasons behind Tom Brady, but the Patriots selected him in the 2014 second round. Garoppolo piloted the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, throwing 27 touchdown passes in 2019, but has been unreliable from a health standpoint since coming to San Francisco. This led to the team trading up for Lance.

Meanwhile, Lance has yet to ink his rookie contract, but GM John Lynch believes a deal will be completed sooner than later.

“We’ve never had a holdout but it always seems to go down to the wire,” Lynch said (via Garafolo on Twitter). “It’s important he is here.”

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Minor NFL Transactions: 7/27/21

We’ve collected today’s minor moves below:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: WR Reece Horn

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Placed on IR: DT Rob Windsor (out for year)

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Signed: TE Carson Meier
  • Cut with injury settlement: TE Jibri Blount

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: DB Chris Cooper

Tennessee Titans

Details On Fred Warner’s ‘Unique’ 49ers Extension

Fred Warner agreed to a record-breaking extension with the 49ers on Wednesday. We heard at the time it was for five years and a whopping $95MM, and now we have the full details.

For starters, the contract comes with $40.5MM guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. But beyond that, Rapoport writes that the pact has a “unique structure that essentially makes it two deals in one.” Warner’s contract is for five years, but voids after the first three. He’ll get $54.9MM in new money over those three years, an average of $18.3MM per year.

That’s slightly less than the $19MM per year implied by the 5/95, but it still beats Bobby Wagner‘s 2019 extension ($18MM AAV) to make him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. Where it gets a bit complicated is that the 49ers can then “buy back” the final two years of the deal after they’ve voided if they choose to, by paying Warner $21.85MM in 2025.

That would mean Warner would get $76.75MM over the first four years, an average of around $19.2MM annually. The way Rapsheet describes it, it’s a “record-breaking short-term extension that’s nearly 70 percent guaranteed” for Warner, that “also gives the 49ers a choice to make a few years down the road.”

Warner was a first-team All-Pro last season and has been an extremely reliable asset for Kyle Shanahan’s defense, playing 95 percent of the snaps the past three years.

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Dede Westbrook Schedules Seahawks Visit; Vikings, 49ers, Bengals Still On Radar

Dede Westbrook is in Minnesota for a Vikings visit Saturday, but he is still considering interest from other teams. If the Vikings are unable to sign Westbrook, he will pay a visit to the Seahawks, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Westbrook plans to visit the Seahawks on Sunday, veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweets.

The former Heisman finalist and Jaguars starter said the 49ers and Bengals are also in the mix; both teams expressed interest in Westbrook earlier this offseason. While both teams and Seattle appear to be on Westbrook’s radar, the Vikings have an edge and appear to be the favorites.

In addition to a need alongside Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, the Vikes employ ex-Jaguars receivers coach Keenan McCardell. The former Jags Pro Bowler and recent Vikings hire coached Westbrook in each of his four Jacksonville seasons and convinced the veteran wideout to visit the Vikings before the Seahawks, Tomasson adds (via Twitter). Seattle initially appeared first on Westbrook’s travel itinerary, but the Vikings now have the first crack at signing him.

I was kind of set on Seattle and he was like ‘Darn you’re not even going to come out and give me a chance? I coached you the past four years and you’re just going to fly out to Seattle and not give Minnesota a shot?’” Westbrook said of a conversation with McCardell (via Tomasson, on Twitter). “... I love everything about the Vikings. I like their offensive scheme; I like the things that they’re doing as far as gidget-gadgets that they have going on. … Just their whole offensive scheme and I think I can fit in perfectly.” 

Westbrook, 27, is coming off an ACL tear. That certainly slowed his market. He intimated that if the Vikings and/or Seahawks do not land him, workouts with the Bengals and 49ers may follow.

The Vikings’ need for a No. 3 wide receiver appears clearer than the Seahawks’. They drafted D’Wayne Eskridge with their top pick (and only pick on the draft’s first two days). The 49ers, however, have a void behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Cincinnati features no such vacancy, with its Ja’Marr ChaseTee HigginsTyler Boyd trio essentially locked in. Auden Tate remains on the team as well. The Bengals did lose A.J. Green and John Ross this offseason.

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