Weston Richburg

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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49ers’ Weston Richburg Done For Year

Bad news for the Niners. Center Weston Richburg is done for the year thanks to a torn patella tendon, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced. 

Richburg will be placed on injured reserve, leaving one of the league’s best teams without its anchor on the offensive line. He’s been a rock for the 49ers since joining the club on a five-year, $47.5MM deal prior to the 2018 season. In 2018, he played in 15 games despite an ongoing knee issue, which was addressed by surgery in January. Unfortunately, this knee injury will require another surgery and ample time to heal, ruling him out for the rest of the regular season and playoffs.

Last year, Pro Football Focus gave Richburg the lowest grade (51.9) of his five-year career. This year, he fared slightly better with a 59.8 score, but those numbers don’t quite reflect his importance to the Niners’ line. He’s allowed just one sack this year and the Niners rank No. 4 in total offense league-wide.

Without Richburg, the Niners will likely install Ben Garland as their starting center, starting this week. They’re also likely to look into some interior line reinforcements, starting with practice squad guard Ross Reynolds.

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West Rumors: 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos

It’s been a long offseason for the 49ers, who have seen numerous key players deal with injuries throughout the spring and summer. Add more to the list of San Francisco talents set to miss the preseason. Jerick McKinnon and Weston Richburg are both unlikely to play until Week 1. Given $18MM guaranteed, McKinnon is still dealing with knee trouble after missing all of last season with an ACL tear. The sixth-year running back received a platelet-rich plasma injection on his knee and is expected to miss the 49ers’ August slate, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The team activated him from the PUP list Tuesday, but Kyle Shanahan said his prized 2018 offseason signing experienced significant soreness after going through individual drills the past two days. Richburg, who remains on the active/PUP list after a January knee surgery, is being targeted a Week 1 return. So are Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett. The 49ers hope Dee Ford, who received a PRP injection on his injured knee, can play by the team’s dress-rehearsal preseason game.

Here’s the latest West news from outside of San Francisco:

  • With the Seahawks in desperate need of available pass rushers come Week 1, more blitz opportunities may be on tap. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks (should he be on the field) are in position to be used more as rushers. “If we can play really good D, it’s going to be because of Bobby and K.J. and Mychal and the guys in the linebacker spot. We’re going to utilize them as much as we can to be a factor in all aspects, run and pass [defense],” Pete Carroll said, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. “Those guys are really good pass defenders, and they love coming off the edge too. We’ll plan on using those guys a lot.” After Frank Clark‘s departure, the Seahawks have Ziggy Ansah and L.J. Collier injured. Jarran Reed incurred a six-game suspension. Wright has not collected a sack since 2016, when he had four. Wagner had 4.5 that year but recorded 2.5 since.
  • Theo Riddick will earn a $2MM 2019 base salary with the Broncos, and $750K of it is fully guaranteed, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Another $250K will be available in per-game roster bonuses. Overall, Riddick signed for $2.5MM with $1MM guaranteed. This makes it a near-certainty Riddick will appear on the Broncos’ 53-man roster in September.
  • The Broncos are already down Todd Davis for multiple weeks; they will be without one of his top backups for longer than that. Joe Jones suffered a triceps injury this week, and a second opinion delivered more clarity on the inside linebacker’s timeline. Jones will be out between six and eight weeks, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. But he will not need surgery, which could increase his chances of making the Broncos. If Jones hits IR before the Broncos finalize their 53-man unit, the special-teamer will be ineligible to return for them this season.
  • Returning 2018 fifth-round pick Johnny Townsend would seemingly be in line to keep his job as the Raiders‘ punter, but Jon Gruden said rookie UDFA A.J. Cole has put himself in the conversation to unseat the incumbent, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Cole would be an option to handle Raiders kickoffs as well.

49ers’ Weston Richburg, D.J. Reed Undergo Surgery

49ers center Weston Richburg and cornerback D.J. Reed both recently underwent surgery, leaving their availability for the start of training camp in question, San Francisco announced today. Richburg’s operation addressed an ongoing knee issue, while Reed went under the knife to correct a shoulder injury.

Richburg inked a five-year, $47.5MM contract with the 49ers last offseason, and proceeded to play in 15 games despite dealing with his knee injury. His production wasn’t great, as Pro Football Focus assigned Richburg the lowest grade (51.9) of his five-year career, but it’s fair to assume his health questions factored into his reduced level of play.

Although Richburg could return for training camp, knee injuries can often last longer than initially expected. The 49ers don’t have a ton of depth along the interior of their offensive line, so they could potentially be in trouble if Richburg is forced to miss any regular season action. Erik Magnuson would presumably take over at center, but San Francisco could look to free agency and/or the draft to shore up their line in case Richburg isn’t ready for the 2019 campaign.

Reed, a fifth-round pick last year, appeared in 15 games (two starts) for the Niners. At 5’9″, 188 pounds, he’s mostly suited for the slot, and that’s where he primarily played in 2018. All told, Reed saw action on roughly a third of San Francisco’s defensive snaps and 43.2% of the club’s special teams plays.

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