49ers

49ers deal Kilgore to Dolphins in exchange of draft picks

kilgore-us.jpg
USATSI

49ers deal Kilgore to Dolphins in exchange of draft picks

The 49ers on Thursday traded center Daniel Kilgore to the Miami Dolphins one day after signing free-agent center Weston Richburg.

The 49ers and Dolphins swapped seventh-round picks in this year's NFL Draft. The 49ers send Kilgore and the ninth pick of the seventh round (No. 227 overall) to the Dolphins in exchange for the fifth pick of the seventh round (No. 223 overall).

Kilgore signed a three year, $11.75 million contract with the 49ers in February. Kilgore was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

The 49ers signed Richburg as a free agent on Wednesday, and did not envision Kilgore making the switch to compete for a starting job at guard. Richburg opened the past three seasons as the starting center for the New York Giants. Richburg signed a five-year contract worth up to $47.5 million, including a $9.3 million signing bonus.

With the trade of Kilgore, the 49ers could be back in the free-agent market.

Kilgore goes to the Dolphins, who released veteran center Mike Pouncey on Thursday to save $7 million in cap room.

“On behalf of the entire organization I want to thank Dan for everything he contributed to this team and the Bay Area community over the last seven seasons,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement. “When Kyle and I arrived last offseason, we knew right away that he was a well-respected leader in the locker room and a true professional. We are pleased to be able to help find Dan a great situation to be able to continue his career, and we wish him and his wife, Megan, the very best.”

Kilgore, 30, came to the 49ers in 2011 as a fifth-round draft pick. He started 39 of the 74 games in which he appeared in his career, including 29 the past two seasons.

49ERS 2018 DRAFT PICKS
1. First round: No. 9 overall (own pick)
2. Second round: No. 59 overall (New Orleans pick acquired in 2017 draft-day trade)
3. Third round: No. 70 (own pick)
4. Third round: No. 74 overall (Chicago pick acquired in 2017 draft-day trade)
5. Fourth round: No. 128 overall (Pittsburgh pick acquired in 2017 trade of Vance McDonald)
6. Fifth round: No. 143 overall (N.Y. Jets pick acquired in 2017 trade of Rashard Robinson)
7. Sixth round: No. 184 (own pick)
8. Seventh round: No. 223 overall (Miami pick acquired in 2018 trade of Daniel Kilgore)
9. Seventh round: No. 240 overall (Kansas City pick acquired in 2016 trade of Kenneth Acker)

*-Second round, own pick, traded to New England for Jimmy Garoppolo
*-Fourth round, own pick, traded to Denver for Kapri Bibbs and a 2017 fifth-round pick
*-Fifth round, own pick, traded along with Vance McDonald to Pittsburgh for 2018 fourth-round pick
*-Seventh round, own pick, traded along with Kilgore to Miami for 2018 seventh-round pick

Remaining healthy and productive is a stretch for 49ers tight end Kittle

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AP

Remaining healthy and productive is a stretch for 49ers tight end Kittle

Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch spoke separately in February about the need for 49ers tight end George Kittle to find a way to remain healthy.

It’s a reasonable concern. After all, Kittle sustained a hamstring injury on the third day of training camp. He was treated for injuries to his hip, chest, elbow, back, leg and ankle during the season.

Through it all, Kittle missed just one game due to an ankle injury and came through with an impressive rookie season after being chosen in the fifth round of last year’s draft from Iowa.

Kittle ranked second in the NFL among rookies in receiving yards last season. His 43 catches for 515 yards were the most by any rookie NFL tight end drafted after the fourth round.

The future is bright. But – as Shanahan and Lynch were pick to point out at the NFL scouting combine – Kittle must find a way to avoid injuries. Kittle addressed his offseason training regimen during the 49ers Insider Podcast.

“I was banged up a little bit,” Kittle said. “I did a whole offseason of just preparing my body -- a lot of band work -- to get my body used to hard hits and stuff like that. I did as much stretching as I could because the more flexible you are, the less likely you are to pull something.”

Kittle said no player can ever eliminate the possibility of injuries, but he took steps he believes will give him a better chance to remain able to perform.

“I think you can protect against some injuries,” Kittle said. “You can’t protect against, you’re running an outside zone and a guy falls down behind you onto your ankle or something. You can’t control stuff like that.

“I think a lot of it is luck of the draw, in my opinion. But there are things you can do to help yourself. If a stiff guy gets hit from behind, his likelihood of getting hurt is probably higher than a guy who’s super-limber.”

As a tight end, Kittle has to balance building up the weight and strength required to block defensive ends, while also remaining light enough to run pass patterns against defensive backs.

Kittle is currently in the same situation as quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard, as each is going through his first full offseason program with the 49ers in Santa Clara.

“They’re both fantastic quarterbacks,” Kittle said.

Beathard, a college teammate of Kittle, started five games last season.

“He proved his toughness, taking hits, getting up, making plays,” Kittle said of Beathard.

In the final five games with Garoppolo at quarterback, Kittle caught 15 passes for 224 yards. He caught four passes for 100 yards in the season finale against the Los Angeles Rams to become the first 49ers rookie tight end since Monty Stickles in 1960 to have 100 yards receiving in a game.

Kittle praised Garoppolo for his leadership and his uncanny ability to locate the open man.

“It’s fun because you know you’re going to get the ball,” Kittle said. “He sees the whole field at all times.”

Garoppolo getting to know new 49ers teammates without coaches around

Garoppolo getting to know new 49ers teammates without coaches around

Although the first two weeks of the NFL offseason program are limited to strength and conditioning training, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has already gotten an opportunity to play with a couple of his new toys.

Garoppolo has taken part in throwing sessions during the week at the team’s facility, where coaches are not allowed on the field with the players until next week. On the weekends, he has organized additional activities with his teammates at a park in the South Bay.

“We had our first one this weekend,” Garoppolo said on Monday at Levi’s Stadium after another day of workouts. “It’s just something that I like to do. It kinds of gets us away from the coaches and everything, and allows me to talk to the receivers about specific things, or the tight ends or running backs.

“We try to get everyone out there that we can. I understand people have things that they have to get to. But we had a great showing this Saturday. It was good. Just to be on the same page with those guys, talking through route concepts and how they see it versus how I see it. It just gets us on the same page.”

Among the players who have taken part in the sessions are wide receiver Pierre Garçon and running back Jerick McKinnon, likely to be among the team’s top pass-catchers this season.

Garoppolo’s five starts with the 49ers came after Garçon was sidelined with a neck injury after eight games. Garçon was on pace for a 1,000-yard season before going on injured reserve. The 49ers targeted McKinnon as an upgrade over Carlos Hyde due to his playmaking ability, including catching passes out of the backfield.

McKinnon and center Weston Richburg were players the 49ers front office heavily pursued and signed on the first day of free agency. They were the first major pieces the 49ers added after signing Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract in February.

“Those are good guys,” Garoppolo said. “They fit what we’re trying to do here and they work hard, so when you bring that to the table, it’s always good.”

Garoppolo is continuing in his first offseason with the 49ers something he said he began during his days at Rolling Meadows High School in a northwest suburb of Chicago.

”It’s one of those things, when the coaches aren’t there you kind of see a different side of guys,” Garoppolo said. “They open up a little bit or tell you how they see a concept compared to how it is written in the book. Just a little bit at a time for us to talk through things, I guess.”