49ers Rumors

Extra Points: 49ers, Hurts, Gase

The 49ers picked up a huge win over the Rams on Sunday, but they were dealt an unexpected blow earlier this week when Santa Clara County officials suddenly announced they wouldn’t be allowed to practice or play in their stadium moving forward. That’s left the 49ers reeling, with little time to formulate a backup plan. Speaking after the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan said it was “extremely disappointing” that the team wasn’t given any advanced notice, and said “we’re working our tail off” to find new accommodations. As of right now the “most likely” option is for the 49ers to play their remaining home games at the Cardinals’ stadium, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Their division rivals are apparently willing to lend a helping hand to the 49ers. Rapoport also writes that a stadium in Texas is another option, although the NFL would prefer them to play at an NFL arena. The question would then turn into what the team will do for a living situation. Rapoport writes that it’s possible the team just stays in Arizona and lives out of hotels in the area, forming a bubble of sorts. It’s a tough situation that will put 5-6 San Fran at a competitive disadvantage for the rest of the year. We’ll update whenever a plan is officially ironed out.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Eagles fans that have been clamoring for more Jalen Hurts are about to get their wish. Philly is expected to give Hurts his most extensive playing time of the season, including plays where Carson Wentz isn’t on the field, for their Monday night game against the Seahawks, Rapoport writes. Rapsheet says it’s unlikely he’ll get a full series, but to expect to see him for two or three plays at a time. Philly inflicted this quarterback controversy upon themselves by drafting Hurts in the second-round back in April. Wentz, of course, has been mostly awful this season. He’s still owed over $50MM in guaranteed money over the next two seasons, but it sounds like things could finally be trending toward a benching if he doesn’t get things turned around soon. Either way, it’ll be very interesting to see how Hurts looks on MNF.
  •  The Jets continued their march toward a potential winless season with a defeat at the hands of the Dolphins. 0-11 aside, there’s now a minor controversy over who is calling the plays in New York. Before the game, Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweeted that Adam Gase would re-take play calling duties from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. But after the game, Gase insisted he wasn’t calling the plays. Reporters pressed Gase on it, claiming Loggains looked like he was doing nothing on the sidelines and that Gase was the one talking. Gase then claimed Loggains would talk to him before the drive about what plays to call, then conceded he was calling the plays for third downs and two-minute drills. Sam Darnold said after the game that it was Gase’s voice in his helmet telling him the plays. It’s another bizarre situation, but one that is pretty much par for the course for this 2020 Jets campaign.

49ers Searching For Temporary Practice, Game Sites?

Santa Clara County has imposed new COVID-19 restrictions, and they will likely require the 49ers to find venues to hold practices and games over the next few weeks.

To help combat the skyrocketing pandemic, the county where the 49ers play is implementing a temporary ban on contact sports, Fiona Kelliher of the San Jose Mercury News reports. The new policy begins at 12:01am Monday; the 49ers will not be exempt. Santa Clary County is also imposing a 14-day quarantine for visitors traveling into the county from beyond 150 miles.

California teams spent time searching for potential training camp alternatives this summer but ended up holding camp at their respective facilities. This time, the 49ers may need to make a major in-season adjustment. The team has begun to look for emergency replacement sites, The Athletic’s Matt Barrows tweets. A 49ers exemption should not be ruled out, especially given the uprooting the team would need to go through to comply with the new measure.

The 49ers have two home games that would be impacted — Sun., Dec. 7 against the Bills and Sat., Dec. 13 against Washington. It appears the team hit hardest by injuries this season will need to make more adjustments.

 

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/27/20

Here are Friday’s practice squad moves:

Denver Broncos

New England Patriots

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/27/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: WR Diontae Spencer; Spencer tested positive for the coronavirus.

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

49ers To Activate Sherman, Mostert From IR

The 49ers will have two key starters back in Week 12. Kyle Shanahan said Friday the team will activate Richard Sherman and Raheem Mostert ahead of the 49ers’ game against the Rams.

While the duo will be questionable to play Sunday, their respective activations point to the 49ers having both in uniform for the NFC West matchup.

Sherman has missed almost all of his 10th NFL season, going down with a calf injury in Week 1. Week 12 served as the All-Pro cornerback’s tentative return date, and he will end up hitting that for a team in desperate need of starters to come back.

The Hall of Fame candidate is in the final weeks of his three-year 49ers contract. Sherman and the 49ers were working on an extension, but no progress on those talks has emerged in months. How the 32-year-old corner looks upon returning from his latest injury figures to be key for his 49ers future.

Mostert went down in the 49ers’ first game against the Rams, suffering a high ankle sprain. The late-blooming running back already sustained an MCL injury this season, but after recovering from that fairly quickly, Mostert took longer to return from this malady. He stands to return to a 5.9 yards-per-carry figure and enter a key stretch. The 49ers have Mostert under contract for 2021, but his durability has certainly come into question this season.

The injury-besieged 49ers will have top wideout Deebo Samuel back in action. The second-year receiver has missed time with a hamstring injury and has also endured a two-injury 2020, having missed months because of a fractured foot. Samuel practiced fully Friday and is off San Francisco’s injury report. The 49ers, per ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (on Twitter), are also activating running back Jeff Wilson. During a brutal year for San Francisco’s backfield, Wilson played well before suffering a high ankle sprain against the Patriots. Tevin Coleman remains out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Williams, Browns

Earlier Wednesday, the NFL took the Ravens-Steelers rematch off its Thanksgiving schedule. That game is now on tap for 12:15pm CT Sunday. More is emerging on why the Steelers will see another of their games delayed. The Ravens disciplined a strength and conditioning coach for “conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff.” The Ravens are levying the discipline because the unnamed staffer did not report symptoms or consistently wear a mask or a contact tracing device, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). This is believed to have contributed to the Ravens’ outbreak — one that comes nearly two months after a Titans outbreak altered the Steelers’ schedule. Seven Ravens players and at least five staffers have tested positive for COVID. This will not only weaken Baltimore against Pittsburgh but potentially deplete team’s roster for its Week 13 Thursday game against Dallas.

Several teams shuffled their rosters because of COVID on Wednesday. Here is the latest:

  • 49ers left tackle Trent Williams tested positive for COVID-19 last week, per ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano (on Twitter). A cancer survivor, Williams has not experienced issues with the virus yet, Graziano tweets. Williams, who landed on the 49ers’ COVID list earlier this month as a high-risk close contact, is on track to miss San Francisco’s Week 12 game in Los Angeles.
  • Six players remain on San Francisco’s virus list. The 49ers removed Arik Armstead and center Hroniss Grasu on Wednesday.
  • Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki tested positive Wednesday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com (on Twitter). Takitaki played against the Eagles and returned an interception for a touchdown. The Cleveland starting linebacker’s positive test follows Myles Garrett‘s. Neither they nor Denzel Ward (injury) will be available for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. The Browns closed their facility Wednesday, but their Jags game remains on schedule.
  • The Bengals placed wide receiver Auden Tate and recently acquired offensive lineman B.J. Finney on their reserve/COVID-19 list. Cincinnati has seen staffers test positive, with D-line coach Nick Eason being the most recent. Eason was alerted of his positive test Tuesday. The Bengals now have five players on their reserve/COVID list.
  • Christian Wilkins is off the Dolphins‘ COVID list. Wilkins was not reported to have tested positive, but the second-year defensive lineman still missed two games after landing on the team’s virus list.
  • The Raiders activated Cory Littleton from their COVID list. The high-profile free agent addition has been out for two weeks due to a positive coronavirus test. Las Vegas’ defense remains shorthanded due to virus issues, with Clelin Ferrell testing positive last week and Lamarcus Joyner missing Sunday’s Chiefs game because of his status as a close contact.
  • Dante Fowler also tested positive two weeks ago and missed the Falcons‘ Week 11 game, but the big-ticket free agent addition is off the list now and on course to return to Atlanta’s lineup Sunday.
  • The Vikings and Chargers also removed players from their respective virus lists Wednesday. Minnesota activated guard Dru Samia; Los Angeles activated cornerback Brandon Facyson.

NFL To Rescind K’Waun Williams’ Ban

Nov. 25: The NFL has reversed course in this case. The 49ers slot corner will not face a two-game ban. Issues with the testing procedures induced the league to backtrack on Williams’ suspension, according to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Williams has insisted he has not used a banned substance.

Nov. 24: We’ve got another two-game suspension to report on the heels of Luke Gifford getting the same ban. This time it’s 49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams getting hit for violating the league’s policy on PEDs.

Fortunately for San Francisco Williams is already sidelined with a high ankle sprain and wasn’t likely to play before this suspension will be up anyway. He’ll be eligible to return for the team’s Week 14 game against Washington. Williams is the team’s nickel corner who lines up in the slot. He started the year off playing a little over half of the team’s defensive snaps, but then was sidelined with a knee sprain in Week 4.

He returned in Week 8, but went down with the ankle sprain the following game. He was quite productive last year, finishing with 51 tackles, two interceptions, a sack, and four forced fumbles in 15 games and eight starts. The Pittsburgh product entered the league as an UDFA with the Browns in 2014.

He quickly became a key contributor in Cleveland but was waived after the 2015 season following a dispute with the team over an injury he had at the time. After sitting out 2016 with that injury he signed with San Francisco the following year. His strong play earned him a three-year extension worth $10MM that is set to expire at the end of this season. He’ll be a free agent this offseason and due to the high marks he received last year, he’s likely in for a raise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/24/20

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Houston Texans

  • Signed: C Cohl Cabral
  • Released: DE Kendal Futrell

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed LB/LS Christian Kuntz

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Raiders Claim DE Takk McKinley

The Raiders have claimed defensive end Takkarist McKinley off waivers, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This marks McKinley’s fourth NFL team this month. After he was dropped by the Falcons, he failed physicals with both the Bengals and 49ers.

The Niners were still said to be interested in the former-first rounder, but they couldn’t find room for him on the active roster while he nurses a groin injury. McKinley has 17.5 career sacks to his credit, though just one of those have come in 2020. The UCLA product has had an up-and-down career as a pro. He registered 13 sacks over his first two seasons but, since 2019, he’s logged just 4.5 in total.

There’s plenty for Jon Gruden and the Raiders to like about him still, especially since he notched seven QB hits in just 85 snaps for the Falcons this year. As a team, the Raiders have collected only 46 QB hits, which is a bottom-10 mark this season.

Maxx Crosby and Arden Key are currently slotted in as the Raiders’ starting defensive ends. McKinley will likely have to battle with several other veterans for playing time, a grouping that includes Carl Nassib and practice squad players Chris Smith and David Irving.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Cut LB Kiko Alonso

The 49ers have waived linebacker Kiko Alonso with a failed physical designation, per a team press release. Meanwhile, defensive linemen D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis have been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

The Niners acquired Alonso earlier this month in the deal that sent Kwon Alexander to the Saints. The trade was mostly done as a salary dump, though they were hoping to get some value out of Alonso (as well as the conditional fifth-rounder).

Alonso started for the Dolphins between 2016-18 and was mostly healthy, averaging more than 115 tackles per season. He was a little less productive for the Saints in 2019 and, unfortunately, ended his season with an ACL tear in the Wild Card round. The 30-year-old has yet to see the field in 2020 and it’s not clear if he’ll be able to suit up for anyone this season.

Last time out, the Niners fell to Alonso’s old squad. Next, they’ll face the Rams in Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.