- Another NFC West team has questions on the edge, and Kyle Shanahan (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, on Twitter) still has Elvis Dumervil in mind as a contingency plan in case the second-year HC deems the 49ers as being too light on defensive ends. Shanahan said earlier this offseason the 12-year veteran probably wouldn’t need much preseason work to be effective, so San Francisco still remains a possibility for the now-34-year-old edge player. Dumervil, who began his career under Mike Shanahan and alongside John Lynch in Denver, led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks last season. No other 49er registered more than three.
- More running back injury trouble’s come the 49ers’ way. With Jerick McKinnon and No. 2 back Matt Breida out until Week 1, 2017 fourth-rounder Joe Williams fractured a rib and suffered a “very bad” bone bruise, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Shanahan said Williams will miss Week 1. Shanahan urged Lynch to trade up to select Williams, but this setback figures to pose a problem for his chances of making an impact this season. The 49ers, who also lost offensive lineman Erik Magnuson to a hamstring strain that will shelve him until possibly October, are going to make IR decisions regarding this duo this week (Twitter links, via Maiocco and the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman). A 2017 UDFA out of Michigan, Magnuson played in four games as a rookie and started two. If the 49ers place either on IR before roster-cutdown day, they cannot use one of their IR-return spots on them.
Cliff Avril indicated earlier this offseason he wanted to resume his career, despite the severe neck injury he suffered in 2017 ending his time with the Seahawks. Three months have passed since reports of Avril interest surfaced, and the 2016 Pro Bowler appears to be moving closer to full retirement.
Avril began dabbling in radio shortly after his Seahawks release, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes he now has an every-day hosting gig. However, the 32-year-old former Lion and Seahawk is mentoring one of the players competing to take his old job. Condotta writes Avril has been mentoring 2016 fifth-rounder Quinton Jefferson while hosting a daytime radio show. It’s uncertain if he’s regained clearance to play again. Should that happen in the near future, Avril may have another chance. But as of now, it looks like Avril’s played his last NFL down.
Here’s the latest out of the NFC West:
- Josh Rosen looking ready for potential near-future action may not mean Mike Glennon’s roster spot is in jeopardy. The Cardinals’ injuries at quarterback last season serve as a warning of what can happen, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com tweets. Plus, with Sam Bradford serving as the starter, it’s obviously critical to stockpile depth. Glennon, the Bears’ starter to begin last season, signed for two years and $8MM. It would not save the Cards any money to cut him.
- Jamar Taylor is still the frontrunner to be the Cardinals’ Week 1 starter opposite Patrick Peterson, Jurecki tweets. The Browns traded the once-embattled cornerback to the Cardinals this offseason – the second time Taylor’s been shipped elsewhere by a new regime – and he’s leading a race for a job that’s been one of the NFL’s biggest trouble spots in recent years.
- John Lynch said (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle) Jerick McKinnon will be out for the remainder of the preseason because of the calf strain he suffered in the 49ers’ first exhibition game. The 49ers don’t have a deep running back depth chart, and No. 2 back Matt Breida is also dealing with an injury. San Francisco signed Alfred Morris recently. He and Joe Williams figure to see more time while the top two ball carriers are on the shelf.
- Mike Person’s received the bulk of the first-team work at right guard for the 49ers and is a threat to be the Week 1 starter, despite the franchise having used a first-round pick on Joshua Garnett two years ago and having added Jonathan Cooper this offseason, Branch notes. Although the 30-year-old Person would seemingly be a longshot to claim this job, the injury histories of Cooper and Garnett give him a better shot than he’d have under ordinary circumstances. Garnett spent all of last season on IR, and Cooper has struggled with a litany of maladies in his five-year career. Person was a full-time starter at center for the 2015 Falcons.
Dexter McCoil spent most of last season with the 49ers as a reserve safety, but an untimely injury induced the team to waive him this spring with an NFI designation.
McCoil was expected to need approximately a six-week recovery period after he suffered a broken foot while training independently. But the 49ers on Friday re-signed him to a one-year deal. They placed safety Terrell Williams Jr. on IR to make room on their 90-man roster.
Initially a Chargers UDFA in 2016, McCoil played in 16 games (two starts) for the Bolts as a rookie. The Chargers waived him in October of last year, and the 49ers made a successful claim. The Tulsa product then played in eight games for San Francisco.
A safety out of Houston, Williams was one of the 49ers’ 13 initial UDFA signings after the draft.
Cooper is now in the hunt for a starting role opposite of Joshua Garnett, who also recently returned to practice after he was sidelined by a knee injury. Neither guard played last week in San Francisco’s preseason opener, but now that they are back in the saddle, it doesn’t sound like the Niners will be forced to look for outside help.
Jonathan Cooper has progressed to the point he’s working with the 49ers’ second-team guards in training camp, Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes. Although Cooper played in Week 17 last season, he underwent offseason knee surgery, so it’s a good sign for his progress.
- The 49ers don’t have a traditional No. 1 wide receiver after bypassing Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson in free agency and, thus far, have avoided Dez Bryant. Kyle Shanahan is confident enough in his offensive scheme that he doesn’t believe it requires a WR1-type talent for it to be effective, and that’s why Matt Miller of Bleacher Report doesn’t see San Francisco taking a wide receiver in the 2019 draft. Of course, it’s incredibly early in the process, and Pierre Garcon’s reliability in his age-32 season will surely factor into the 49ers’ offseason decisions on the receiver front.
Today’s minor moves:
- Claimed: WE DeAndrew White (Texans)
- Waived/Injured: WR Philly Brown
- Signed: RB Tion Green
- Waived: LB William Ossai
San Francisco 49ers
- Waived: OL Alan Knott
- Waived from injured reserve: OL Avery Young
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Waived from injured reserve: CB David Rivers
The 49ers plan to sign running back Alfred Morris, coach Kyle Shanahan announced on Monday. Morris’ deal is pending a physical.
Morris, at the very minimum, will provide the Niners an extra body in camp as Jerick McKinnon heals up from a calf strain and Matt Brieda deals with a shoulder injury. If Morris can show some of his old form, then he could have a new home for the 2018 season.
“Alf did a great job for us for the two years I was with him,” Shanahan said of their time together in Washington, via 95.7 The Game (on Twitter). “It’s not flashy, but he runs extremely hard. He’s very reliable. You block him for zero, usually he can get at least one. He’s a hard-nosed runner you can keep handing the ball off to.”
Morris led the Redskins in rushing for four straight seasons, including his rookie season in which he topped 1,600 yards on the ground. Last year, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry as the Cowboys’ primary starter during Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Good news for 49ers fans, as right guard Joshua Garnett has returned to practice after missing two weeks to deal with his right knee issue, per Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets that Garnett’s primary competitor for San Francisco’s right guard job, Jonathan Cooper, is also on hand, so perhaps the competition can finally begin in earnest. This comes just a week after a report that the 49ers were growing increasingly concerned about Garnett’s knee problems.
- The 49ers will be dealing with similar timelines involving key personnel. Likely tight end starter George Kittle and No. 2 running back Matt Breida suffered separated shoulders in San Francisco’s preseason opener Thursday night, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Both will miss the remainder of the preseason calendar. Kyle Shanahan said the earliest either will return is Week 1.
Thursday will mark a pivotal moment in Colin Kaepernick’s collusion case against the NFL, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports writes. Arbitrator Stephen Burbank will meet with lawyers representing the NFL and the former 49ers quarterback to determine whether his case moves forward. If Burbank sides with Kaepernick, a hearing will take place and the QB’s team could press for even more discovery or depositions in an effort to prove its case.