Solomon Thomas

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.

49ers Rumors: Armstead, Running Backs, Thomas

In his 49ers mailbag, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports addressed Arik Armstead‘s impending free agency. The seventeenth overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft struggled early in his career with injuries and consistency but emerged as an integral part of San Francisco’s defensive line over the past two seasons. Armstead has the versatility to play the edge of defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s 4-3 defense on early downs and then move inside on passing situations.

Armstead has started each of the 49ers last 35 games (playoffs included) and set career-marks this season in sacks (10.0), tackles for loss (11), quarterback hits (18), and tackles (54) as a part of the vaunted Niners defensive front. Now, set for unrestricted free agency, Maiocco downplays the chances San Francisco franchise tags the defensive lineman to trade him. He believes if the team has the cap space to apply the tag, they’ll work out an extension.

Here’s some more rumors out of Santa Clara:

  • Matt Barrows and David Lombardi of The Athletic continued their “State of the 49ers” series, this time looking at the team’s running backs. While no halfback amassed 1,000 yards on the season, the team’s depth at the position was obvious to anyone following the team. Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert all played like the team’s number one back at different points in the season. They place a primary focus on the future of Jerrick McKinnon-who missed the past two seasons with injuries-with the team. If he returns on a team-friendly contract, San Francisco may be comfortable letting Tevin Coleman pursue opportunities elsewhere.
  • Following their Super Bowl defeat, the 49ers now face a series of difficult salary-cap decisions. Patrick Holloway of Niners Nation speculates the team could attach a draft pick to defensive lineman Solomon Thomas to save more than $4MM in cap space. Since Thomas was selected with the third overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, his entire contract is guaranteed and the Niners cannot gain any cap relief from releasing him. However, if he were traded, his dead cap hit would be cut in half, saving the team half of his nearly $9MM cap hit.

NFC Rumors: Cowboys, Thomas, Vikes, Rams

Robert Quinn‘s initial Cowboys preseason slate will be nullified because of an injury he suffered at practice Tuesday. The trade acquisition will undergo surgery in Dallas after breaking his left hand, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Quinn’s fracture, however, may not shelve him for any regular-season time. Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones expects the ninth-year defensive end to be ready by the time the Cowboys face the Giants in Week 1. So, the Cowboys’ August lineup graphics will not feature either of the team’s projected D-end starters, with DeMarcus Lawrence also out for the preseason slate.

Moving first (perhaps predictably) to the Cowboys’ glut of extension candidates, here is the latest from around the NFC:

  • Jones said earlier today the Cowboys are offering deals that would, at the moment, make Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper among the five highest-paid players at their respective positions. That represents a low bar for Elliott, but Jones revealed one Cowboys stance: that Le’Veon Bell‘s Jets deal slightly lowered the running back market compared to where it was when Todd Gurley signed his lucrative pact. As for the status of Dallas’ deals, Jones does not expect them to be done during the team’s training camp stay in Oxnard, Calif. “To set all expectations, I’d be floored if anything got done before we got (back) to Dallas, with any of the three,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic (on Twitter). “I’m not concerned. I don’t feel any momentum. I don’t see anything happening.” The Cowboys will be in Oxnard until August 15.
  • Solomon Thomas has not lived up to his lofty draft status thus far, but the 49ers will try and capitalize on the former No. 2 overall pick’s interior-rushing talent. With Dee Ford and Nick Bosa now on the edge, Thomas has been rotating with defensive tackles DeForest Buckner at Arik Armstead, Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Thomas saw the majority of his 644 49ers snaps last season on the edge. The Stanford product has just four sacks in two seasons.
  • Going into their preseason slate, the Vikings have leaned toward Sean Mannion being Kirk Cousins‘ primary backup. That is not surprising, given Mannion’s status as the Rams’ QB2 recently. Mannion and 2017 UDFA Kyle Sloter were rotating No. 2 reps recently, but Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press points out Sloter is now rotating with rookie UDFA Jake Browning with Minnesota’s third-team offense. Both backups are playing for league-minimum money.
  • Rams rookie linebacker Justin Lawler underwent foot surgery Tuesday, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets. The Rams drafted Lawler in the seventh round out of SMU. He profiles as a full-season IR candidate. Teams must carry players through to the 53-man roster for them to be eligible for IR-return status during the season.

49ers GM: We Won’t Trade Solomon Thomas

Solomon Thomas is reportedly on the block, but 49ers GM John Lynch says that’s not the case. When asked if Thomas will be a part of the team in 2019, Lynch replied in the affirmative (Twitter link via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports). 

Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft just two years ago, hasn’t done a whole lot as a pro. Meanwhile, the Niners went out and got Dee Ford this offseason to pair with Arik Armstead, leaving Thomas in limbo on the defensive line. Clearly, the 49ers are unsure about what Thomas can bring to the table, but at the same time, they likely recognize that his stock is low.

Last year, Thomas had one sack with 31 tackles in total. He’s still on an inexpensive rookie deal, but it’s hard to imagine another team giving up anything of consequence for him at this time. It’s possible that injuries elsewhere will open up trade opportunities for him, but it’s also quite possible that Lynch is telling the truth – while the Cardinals are open to bailing on last year’s No. 10 overall pick, the Niners could be willing to find out whether Thomas can be a late bloomer in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Breer’s Latest: Jets, Broncos, Rudolph

Some assorted notes from SI.com’s Albert Breer leading up to tonight’s draft…

  • The Jets are beginning to gain some traction on a deal involving the third-overall pick. Breer mentions that the Redskins could be a match, with the team presumably eyeing a quarterback. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could be an option, as could Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (if he isn’t taken with the first-overall pick). Breer notes that if the Jets remain in the top-10, they could opt for Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who one scout described as “the epitome of a [defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams player.”
  • Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is “rising continuously in draft meetings” among the Broncos front office. The team could be eyeing him with pick No. 10, or they could be preparing for a scenario where Lock falls towards the bottom of the first round.
  • After paying Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter, the Vikings could be looking to deal one of their other pricey veterans. Tight end Kyle Rudolph could be a trade candidate, and Breer writes that he wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots make a play for the pass-catcher. The writer mentions cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes as well as wideout Laquon Treadwell as trade candidates.
  • Two players who are set to play on their fifth-year option are on the block. Breer writes that Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor and 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead “have been part of trade discussions.” On the flip side, Breer believes that it’s unlikely that the 49ers trade defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
  • If Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat gets past the Redskins (No. 15), Panthers (No. 16), or Seahawks (No.21), Breer is unsure how far the defensive end could end up falling. Breer points to the Rams as a potential fit at the end of the first round. Reports indicated that Sweat was diagnosed with a heart condition, although there were rumblings today that he may have been misdiagnosed.

49ers Shopping Solomon Thomas

The 49ers are shopping Solomon Thomas, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). This comes as a bit of a shock considering that Thomas was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft. 

Thomas, still only 23, hasn’t lived up to his draft billing thus far. As a rookie, Thomas managed three sacks and 41 tackles, but last year he registered only one sack with 31 total stops.

Thomas showed improvement from Year One to Year Two, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus, but still didn’t perform at the level you’d expect from a No. 3 overall pick. He earned a 64.0 overall grade from PFF, putting him in a three-way tie as the No. 63 ranked edge defender in the NFL last year. That’s lightyears behind where new pickup Dee Ford (No. 11) and Arik Armstead (No. 26) placed.

Thomas’ rookie deal calls for him to earn paltry base salaries of $645K and $735K in each of the next two seasons. Next year, the 49ers (or whichever team may acquire him) can pick up his pricey fifth-year option for the 2021 season. At this rate, Thomas doesn’t seem on track for that, but he could turn things around with a strong showing in ’19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Rosen, Panthers, 49ers

Although Patrick Peterson expects Sam Bradford to start the season as the Cardinals‘ quarterback, what he saw early this offseason from Josh Rosen may make that a short-lived arrangement. Peterson said the first-round pick “blew my mind” with the football IQ he was known for challenging coaches with at UCLA.

Just to see him run hurry-up offense, to see him make all different checks, to see him put guys in position, I was completely stunned when I saw it,” Peterson said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. “I was like, ‘This guy’s only been here a week, and he’s already doing what? We’re already running two-minute offense now?

I was very, very impressed with that, and he’s definitely the future of our franchise.”

While this praise tops Steve Wilks‘ a bit, it’s consistent with what the first-year Cards coach described about the No. 10 overall pick. Bradford has not been given the Cards’ starting job yet, and he’ll have to show the Cardinals — who slow-played his offseason work due to the major injury concerns attached to the former Heisman Trophy winner — he can stay healthy. An injury-free preseason will likely have Bradford at the controls come Week 1. But the Rosen era appears imminent.

Shifting to another rookie’s standing, here’s what’s new out of the NFC on Friday night.

  • Daryl Worley‘s release leaves the Panthers somewhat vulnerable at cornerback. That hasn’t been an uncertain spot since Josh Norman‘s departure, but David Newton of ESPN.com expects second-round pick Donte Jackson to emerge as the starter opposite James Bradberry. “You see it on the field. You see it when you talk to him,” Ron Rivera said regarding Jackson. “You watch in his gait, the way he carries himself. That’s the type of attitude you have to have to play this game. You have to have a certain kind of swagger.” Ross Cockrell, Kevon Seymour and perhaps slot man Captain Munnerlyn figure to factor into the Panthers’ competition here as well.
  • Speaking of Carolina competitions, Colin Jones has a good shot to start at safety despite his presence as a career special-teamer. The Panthers are counting on the 30-year-old Jones to play opposite 37-year-old Mike Adams, per Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today. Carolina, though, signed Da’Norris Searcy and drafted Rashaan Gaulden in the third round, so it would appear Jones may stand to be a stopgap solution. He played 213 defensive snaps last season but only has 13 starts in seven NFL seasons.
  • 49ers defensive ends Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas are switching positions, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, with the 2017 No. 3 overall pick moving to the “Leo” end spot reserved for the best outside pass rusher in San Francisco’s 4-3 scheme. Thomas played some at this position last season, but Armstead resided there at the outset of the 49ers’ most recent campaign. Armstead being a former defensive tackle makes him a more obvious fit as the “big” end, and the ex-Oregon product has put on weight this offseason to play that role. The 49ers still hope to have Thomas (three sacks as a rookie) shift inside at times on passing downs, though both would profile as players who could join DeForest Buckner inside in sub-packages.

49ers To Place Jimmie Ward On IR

The 49ers will place safety Jimmie Ward and offensive tackle Garry Gilliam on season-ending injured reserve, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, including Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com.Jimmie Ward (Vertical)

Ward, 26, suffered a broken arm in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, so his placement on IR doesn’t come as a surprise. The former first-round pick had started six of seven games for the 49ers in 2017, but had only graded as the No. 69 safety among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. San Francisco exercised Ward’s fifth-year option earlier this year, so he’ll back in the Bay Area in 2018. In the meantime, the 49ers will consider moving Eric Reid back to safety following a short stay at linebacker, tweets Matt Maiocco of the Bay Area News Group.

Gilliam, meanwhile, has barely played this season despite several injuries along the 49ers’ offensive line. He’d seen action on just 38 total snaps after inking a one-year, $2.2MM restricted free agent offer sheet with San Francisco (that the Seahawks declined to match). Gilliam does have 31 games of starting experience under his belt, but he’ll now hit 2018 free agency coming off an injury-marred campaign.

Ward and Gilliam aren’t the only 49ers’ players dealing with health questions, however. Left tackle Joe Staley will miss at least two games after suffering an orbital bone fracture on Sunday, while defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — who is dealing with a low-grade MCL sprain, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com — will also miss roughly two weeks, Shanhan announced. While the winless 49ers aren’t going anywhere in 2017, Staley’s injury likely negates any chance that San Francisco would trade him before Tuesday’s deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Ford

The 49ers have used three first-round picks on defensive linemen since 2015, and each of those figures to be in the starting lineup Sunday. With Tank Carradine on IR, Solomon Thomas will likely start at San Francisco’s strong-side defensive end spot, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The 49ers have used Thomas as an edge defender, but DC Robert Saleh envisions the No. 2 overall pick as a “premier inside rusher” once he develops. Saleh said Thomas “could be a good edge rusher,” so it’s clear the first-year 49ers coordinator wants to see how the Stanford product functions from a defensive tackle spot.

We do need to find ways to get him inside to rush the passer a little bit more,” Saleh said, via Barrows.

The 49ers, though, used first-round picks on interior defenders Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the previous two years. Buckner rates as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 interior defender, behind only J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh, through three games. The new-look 49ers defensive staff wanted to decrease Buckner’s workload upon being hired, Saleh calling it “criminal” for Buckner to exceed 1,000 snaps as he did as a rookie, but Barrows observes those stances softening as the season’s begun. At 179 defensive plays, Buckner is on pace for nearly the 1,005 snaps he played last season now. Injuries to Carradine and Ronald Blair, and the release of current Packers cog Quinton Dial, has thinned out a potential 49ers D-line rotation.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions.

  • The Cardinals are not receiving Jared Veldheer‘s best work thus far this season. The team’s move of the veteran left tackle to the right side has not gone well, and Veldheer might be playing in his final Arizona season. While Veldheer took a day away from the team to consider leaving football earlier this year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com notes (on Twitter) the veteran lineman would like to return in 2018. However, Jurecki does not expect him to stay with the Cardinals. Veldheer’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $35MM deal — one that includes a $10.25MM cap hold for 2018. He profiles as a cap casualty at this point.
  • Deone Bucannon will make his season debut after an extensive layoff due to an ankle injury. Bruce Arians confirmed the inside linebacker will be ready to suit up in Week 4. Haason Reddick, the fill-in player here, will likely start Sunday while Bucannon is gradually worked back into the fold, per Arians.
  • The Chiefs, though, will be without a key front-seven piece in their Week 4 game. Dee Ford will miss Kansas City’s Monday-night home game against Washington. With Tamba Hali already being conserved for the stretch run via the PUP list, this will leave the AFC West leaders thin at outside linebacker. Ford’s dealing with a back injury.
  • The gap between Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard remains too wide for the 49ers to consider a quarterback change, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Hoyer’s system knowledge giving the embattled 49ers their best chance to win now makes him unlikely to be unseated any time soon, Maiocco notes.

49ers Sign First-Round DL Solomon Thomas

The 49ers have agreed to terms with first-round defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, general manager John Lynch announced. Thomas, the third overall selection, had been one of just three unsigned 2017 draft picks, a list that now includes only cornerback Gareon Conley (Raiders) and wide receiver Corey Davis (Titans).Solomon Thomas 49ers (vertical)

On Thursday, Lynch indicated his “concern” that talks with Thomas had not yet concluded, and while it hasn’t yet been officially reported as to what caused the holdup, offset language typically causes snags during negotiations with top picks. As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com noted earlier this week (Twitter link), San Francisco didn’t include offset language in 2013 first-rounder Eric Reid‘s rookie deal, meaning Reid could have collected both his 49ers salary and money from a new club had he been released. Thomas likely wanted the same concession in his contract, but the 49ers’ new regime may have wanted to start a fresh precedent in regards to rookie pacts.

Thomas, a Stanford product, will add to already crowded San Francisco defensive line, a unit that also includes the club’s first-round picks from 2015 and 2016. Thomas will likely play defensive end opposite Arik Armstead, while DeForest Buckner will kick inside in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme. The rest of San Francisco’s defensive line includes free agent addition Earl Mitchell, Aaron Lynch, Quinton Dial, and other depth pieces.

The 49ers’ four-year deal with Thomas should be worth roughly $28.154MM and contain a signing bonus of ~$18.616MM, according to Over the Cap. The pact will also include a fifth-year option, affording San Francisco the opportunity to retain Thomas in 2021.

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.