Weston Richburg

49ers C Weston Richburg “Likely” To Retire

Weston Richburg may be calling it a career. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the 49ers center “likely ends up retiring” this offseason. To prepare for the apparent retirement, the 49ers front office restructured Richburg’s contract this morning, saving the team $6.875MM.

We learned last week that the 29-year-old was set to undergo hip surgery. Richburg missed all of 2020 with injuries, including a torn patellar tendon. There was some optimism that the veteran would be able to return late in the season, but he never made it back on the field.

Richburg had a tough time living up to the five-year, $47.5MM deal he signed with the 49ers back in 2018. While he didn’t allow a sack during the 2019 campaign, Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s worst blockers, and he committed eight penalties between the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

The former second-rounder earned that massive contract thanks to a solid four-year stint with the Giants to start his career. The Colorado State product ultimately started 50 of his 51 games with New York, although he was limited to only four contests in 2017.

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49ers’ Weston Richburg Undergoes Hip Surgery

49ers center Weston Richburg recently underwent hip surgery, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Between the long road to recovery and his 2021 salary, it’s possible that Richburg has played his last down in San Francisco. The surgery may even spell the end of his career, though no decision has been made on that front.

[RELATED: 49ers Interested In Panthers’ Bridgewater]

Richburg missed all of 2020 with injuries, including a a torn patellar tendon. Initially, there was hope that he could return by mid-year, sometime around Week 12, but complications got in the way.

Richburg, due to enter his age-30 campaign, was not viewed well by Pro Football Focus when he was healthy. In 2019, he graded out as just the No. 25 snapper in the NFL. But, to his credit, he hardly allowed any sacks in ’19 as he middled one of the league’s stronger offensive lines of the season.

Ultimately, Richburg has not been able to live up to his five-year, $47.5MM free agent contract. By releasing him, the Niners can save nearly $4.5MM with about $7MM left in dead money.

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49ers’ Dee Ford, Weston Richburg, Ronald Blair Not Expected To Play Again This Year

The hits just keep on coming for a banged up 49ers team that will now be playing it’s home games in Arizona. Defensive ends Dee Ford and Ronald Blair as well as center Weston Richburg all aren’t expected to play the rest of the season, head coach Kyle Shanahan said during his Tuesday press conference.

Back in late October Shanahan had said Ford wouldn’t return until Week 12 at the earliest, but now the team is shutting him down. Richburg was eligible to return from the PUP list after Week 6, and the last we heard about him was in October as well when it was reported he was likely a few weeks away. Blair also was on the PUP list to start the year, and the team had initially hoped to have him back for the start of the season. Shanahan said both Blair and Richburg suffered serious setbacks during their respective recoveries.

Richburg suffered a torn patellar tendon late last year while Blair went down with an ACL tear in November, and both apparently experienced complications. Richburg was the team’s full-time starter at center in 2018 and 2019, and his absence has left a big hole along the offensive line. Blair has played a rotational role as a pass-rusher since the 49ers drafted him in 2016, and he certainly could’ve been used this season as San Francisco experienced a rash of injuries up front, including an ACL tear for Nick Bosa.

Ford has been a big disappointment and unable to stay on the field since the 49ers traded a second-round pick for him and signed him to a new five-year, $87.5MM deal in March of 2019. He played in only 11 games last season and just one this time around after what has proved to be a disastrous trade.

Ford is signed through the 2023 season at over $15MM annually, but the 49ers can get out of his contract without taking too much of a hit this offseason. The team shopped him this past offseason, but it’s doubtful anyone is looking to take on that contract now. Ford had 13 sacks and led the league in forced fumbles as recently as 2018, but his stock has taken a big hit the past couple years. Hopefully he can get healthy and back to his old self soon. In the meantime, unless he’s willing to take a paycut, he’s likely played his last down with the 49ers.

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49ers Place Raheem Mostert On IR

The 49ers picked up a huge win over the Rams on Sunday night to keep them in the NFC West race, but they didn’t escape unscathed. Starting center Ben Garland and running back Raheem Mostert both picked up injuries that will cause them to miss time and likely head to injured reserve, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

The team has since placed both its starting running back and center on injured reserve. The 49ers moved Mostert to IR Friday.

Garland has a calf strain, while Mostert has a high ankle sprain. It’s especially tough for Mostert, since he just returned from injury. Shanahan also said it’s unlikely Tevin Coleman is unable to return this week, so it’ll likely be Jerick McKinnon and undrafted rookie Jamycal Hasty carrying the load at running back. Mostert has been effective when healthy, but he missed two games earlier this year with a knee injury.

While Mostert is the better-known player, the Garland injury might be more significant since Shanahan has shown an ability to get the most out of whoever is in the backfield. We just heard that the 49ers’ normal starting center, Weston Richburg, is likely still at least a ways away from returning. In fact, Shanahan revealed at his presser that Richburg wouldn’t play until Week 12 at the earliest, following the team’s bye.

Garland has started San Fran’s past five games in his absence, so they’ll now be down to their third option. The 49ers have had brutal injury luck this year, and this certainly isn’t what they needed as they prepare to embark on an absolute gauntlet in their schedule. Their next six games are against the Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Saints, Rams, and Bills.

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49ers C Weston Richburg To Miss Several More Weeks?

Weston Richburg is not expected to be ready to return when first eligible to come off the 49ers’ PUP list next week. San Francisco’s starting center will need more time to recover from the torn patellar tendon he suffered late last season.

Kyle Shanahan said Friday that neither Richburg nor defensive lineman Ronald Blair will be ready to return when eligible after Week 6, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Both suffered injuries last season; Blair went down in November, Richburg in December.

Both are likelier to return between Weeks 10 and 12, per Shanahan. The 49ers’ bye week is currently slated for Week 11. Richburg said in February a training camp return was realistic. The former Giants center did not come particularly close to hitting that goal, and a Week 12 return would make for almost a year out of action. A 2018 free agent signing, Richburg suffered one of the toughest injuries to surmount. The 49ers have started Ben Garland at center in their past four games.

Shanahan said the ACL surgery Blair underwent was not successful. A setback ensued, requiring a follow-up procedure. Blair, who the team hoped would be ready for Week 1, has served as a depth piece for the past four 49er teams. Much has changed since Blair last appeared in a game for the 49ers. DeForest Buckner and Sheldon Day are now Colts, and Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas are on IR.

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Weston Richburg To Miss Regular-Season Time

The 49ers are not expected to have their starting center back for a while. Weston Richburg appears a candidate for the reserve/PUP list.

Kyle Shanahan said Thursday that Richburg will not be available for San Francisco’s Week 1 game, and Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area adds that the veteran blocker is expected to be out for the season’s first six weeks. That would point to a PUP list stay. Players who land on the reserve/PUP list at the season’s outset are forced to miss at least six weeks.

Richburg suffered a torn patellar tendon in December. This is a particularly difficult injury to surmount, and the late-season setback looks certain to affect Richburg’s 2020 slate. This will be Richburg’s third 49ers season. The former Giants second-round pick was targeting a training camp return, but that does not appear to be in the cards.

San Francisco has seen some turnover up front, with Trent Williams succeeding Joe Staley and Tom Compton being brought in to follow two-year starter Mike Person. Richburg backup Ben Garland is also out, and recent acquisition Spencer Long retired. These developments led to the 49ers signing Hroniss Grasu. Garland is expected to be out for multiple weeks with his ankle injury, Maiocco adds.

There will be at least three new starters on the 49ers’ O-line in Week 1, with Laken Tomlinson and Mike McGlinchey being the holdovers. San Francisco returned all five of its starting linemen to start last season.

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49ers To Sign OL Hroniss Grasu

Recent 49ers acquisition Spencer Long opted to retire, and the team added another depth piece to fill the void. Former Bears starting center Hroniss Grasu agreed to terms with the 49ers, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The agreement is pending COVID-19 testing, but Grasu would potentially provide some second-string help for a 49ers team that has some uncertainty on its O-line interior.

San Francisco moved on from two-year guard starter Mike Person, who subsequently retired, and center starter Weston Richburg resides on the team’s active/PUP list. Utility man Ben Garland is also battling an ankle injury. The team is also thin at guard, beyond starters Laken Tomlinson and Tom Compton.

Grasu, 29, spent the past two seasons with the Ravens. Injuries sidetracked his run with the Bears. He landed in Baltimore in 2018 but also spent time with Tennessee during that stretch. The former third-round pick started a game for the Ravens in 2018 but has only appeared in four contests over the past two seasons.

Richburg Targeting Training Camp Return

The 49ers suffered a key loss late in what became their seventh season to end in a Super Bowl berth. Weston Richburg‘s second San Francisco season ended after 13 games with a torn patellar tendon.

Patellar tendon injuries are among the more difficult to surmount, but the 49ers’ starting center is confident he will be back by the start of the 2020 season. Richburg said he will not be able to participate in the 49ers’ offseason program. However, the former Giants second-round pick expects to be ready to return by training camp, per Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area.

After losing Richburg in December, the 49ers turned to veteran swing man Ben Garland the rest of the way. The ex-Broncos and Falcons blocker helped the 49ers keep their ground success going, peaking with Raheem Mostert‘s dominant NFC championship game. Garland, however, is a free agent. Richburg’s contract — which the 49ers recently restructured — runs through the 2022 season.

The 2020 season will be Richburg’s age-29 campaign. Pro Football Focus has not viewed Richburg as one of the league’s better centers during his time in San Francisco, grading him as the No. 25 snapper last season. Regardless, Richburg is expected to reprise his role as the 49ers’ first-string center — on an offensive line that also has its other four starters under contract for 2020. Garland, who has played for Kyle Shanahan at multiple stops, will likely be a consideration to return as an insurance option/depth piece.

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NFC West Notes: Rams, 49ers, Alexander

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is gone, but the Rams will continue to operate in a 3-4 base under new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, as ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry writes.

Still, personnel changes may be on the horizon – defensive lineman Michael Brockers, outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., and inside linebacker Cory Littleton are all slated for free agency. The Rams will also be on the lookout for safety help following the retirement of 13-year pro Eric Weddle.

Things are fluid at this stage of the offseason, but it seems as though Brockers and Littleton are likely to find paydays elsewhere. Fowler, on the other hand, could be cuffed with the $15MM+ franchise tag or signed to a new deal.

Interestingly, Thiry also frames cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman as a cap casualty. Despite coming off of another strong season, she believes the Rams could drop the final year of his three-year, $15.7MM contract and fill the void internally by giving more slot snaps to Troy Hill.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander agreed to restructure his contract back in November, but word of the revised deal only started to trickle out recently. According to Over The Cap, the Niners prorated $333K of Alexander’s 2019 salary to signing bonus while adjusting his 2020 salary from $11.25MM to $976K with the rest to be paid as an option bonus on April 1. Meanwhile, three added three voidable years were tacked on. Alexander’s contract will now void on the 5th day of the 2023 waiver period. This will make Alexander an unrestricted free agent in 2023, same as he was scheduled based on the original contract. Ultimately, these changes resulted in $8.1MM in badly needed cap space for the NFC champs.
  • Even with the Alexander restructure and tweaks to Weston Richburg‘s deal, SF still has only $13MM to spend. To carve out more room, the 49ers could dump running back Tevin Coleman to create another $4.9MM in space, ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner suggests. Coleman, 27 in April, averaged 4.0 yards per carry and scored six touchdowns off of 137 totes. Through the air, he had 21 grabs for 180 yards and one score.
  • The Seahawks – who finished second in the NFC West – will soon find out whether they’ve won the Greg Olsen sweepstakes. After meeting with the ‘Hawks, Bills, and Redskins, the tight end is expected to make his decision this week.

49ers Sign CB Dontae Johnson, WR Jordan Matthews

With Richard Sherman likely to miss multiple games, the 49ers have made a move to bolster their CB depth. NFL Insider Adam Caplan reports that San Francisco is re-signing veteran corner Dontae Johnson (Twitter link).

Johnson and the 49ers are quite familiar with each other at this point. The Niners selected the NC State product in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and he was a full-time starter for the club as recently as 2017. But he has become something of a nomad, and in 2019 alone, he’s spent time with the Chiefs, Chargers, and 49ers. He played in two games for the Chargers before being cut, and San Francisco promptly scooped him up. He primarily served as a special teams contributor in his five games with the 49ers before they cut him last month.

He may see a little more action on the defensive side of the ball for the next couple of weeks, but it would still be surprising to see him get a ton of snaps. Meanwhile, fellow corner Jason Verrett, who has been on IR since Week 4, is eligible to return if the 49ers want to open his practice window.

After the Johnson signing was reported, we learned that the 49ers are also reuniting with WR Jordan Matthews, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic (via Twitter). Matthews signed a one-year, $1.8MM contract with the team this offseason, though he did not survive final cuts. He was brought back to San Francisco in early October but played in just one game and did not record a catch. He then caught on with Philadelphia and played in two games for the WR-needy Eagles before they parted ways with him.

The 49ers put Marquise Goodwin on IR yesterday, so Matthews will take his roster spot, but as the sixth WR on the roster, he’s unlikely to see much playing time. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that the team formally placed Weston Richburg on IR, opening up space for Johnson.

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