49ers snap count: Wide receivers washed away against Patriots

49ers snap count: Wide receivers washed away against Patriots

SANTA CLARA – In the absence of Torrey Smith, the 49ers on Sunday used five different wide receivers.

It was difficult to tell.

Only two of the 49ers’ wideouts caught passes Sunday in the 49ers’ 30-17 loss to the New England Patriots at Levi’s Stadium.

On this day, Chris Harper and Quinton Patton ranked fifth and sixth on the team in receiving. Harper had two receptions for 35 yards, while Patton caught two passes for 17 yards. Patton played 54 snaps, while Harper was on the field for 33 offensive plays.

Afterward, 49ers coach Chip Kelly admitted the 49ers are far from being a team that offers an abundance of threats in the passing game. Smith missed the first game of his NFL career on Sunday due to a shoulder injury.

“That’s just not what we’re built for,” Kelly said. “Torrey wasn’t in (the game). We don’t have a go to wide receiver that’s going to elicit double coverage and then all of a sudden you’re going to get single matchups across the ball and then we can line up in empty sets all day long and throw the ball all over the lot. That’s just not the way we’re built right now.”

Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley started and played 42 snaps. He had six passes thrown his way but was held without a catch for the first time this season. Kerley remains as the 49ers’ top receiver this season with 40 catches for 424 yards.

Harper played 33 snaps, while rookie Aaron Burbridge was on the field for 29 plays and Rod Streater saw action on seven plays.

Here’s a look at the complete playing time of every 49ers player on offensive, defensive and special teams:

62 -- QB Colin Kaepernick, LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Joshua Garnett, RT Trent Brown
54 -- WR Quinton Patton
46 -- TE Vance McDonald
42 -- WR Jeremy Kerley
40 -- RB Carlos Hyde
33 -- TE Garrett Celek, WR Chris Harper
29 -- WR Aaron Burbridge
13 -- RB DuJuan Harris
9 -- RB Shaun Draughn
7 -- WR Rod Streater
4 -- TE Blake Bell

75 -- LB Nick Bellore
74 -- DL DeForest Buckner, SS Antoine Bethea
72 -- FS Eric Reid, CB Tramaine Brock
65 -- CB Jimmie Ward
57 -- LB Ahmad Brooks
54 -- LB Eli Harold
42 -- LB Gerald Hodges
41 -- DL Quinton Dial
38 -- DL Glenn Dorsey
37 -- DL Ronald Blair
35 -- CB Rashard Robinson
26 -- DB Jaquiski Tartt, LB Tank Carradine
14 -- CB Keith Reaser
12 -- LB Michael Wilhoite, DL Tony Jerod-Eddie
5 -- CB Dontae Johnson
3 -- DL Mike Purcell
1 -- LB Shayne Skov, DB JaCorey Shepherd

Special teams
26 -- Johnson, Skov
21 -- Bell, Wilhoite
17 -- Burbridge, Streater
15 -- Draughn, Bellore
13 -- Tartt, Shepherd
11 -- Kyle Nelson, Bradley Pinion, Celek, Reaser
10 -- Jerod-Eddie
9 -- Ward
8 -- Buckner, Dial
7 -- Phil Dawson, Reid, Brooks
6 -- McDonald, Harris
5 -- Marcus Cromartie, Kerley, Blair, Purcell
4 -- Brock
3 -- Andrew Tiller, Garnett, Brown, Staley, Beadles
2 -- Dorsey
1 -- Harold, Carradine

Did not play
QB Blaine Gabbert
C Marcus Martin

Not active
QB Christian Ponder
RB Mike Davis
OLB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
T John Theus
WR Torrey Smith (shoulder)
TE Je’Ron Hamm
DT Chris Jones

49ers set aside cap space with an eye to the future


49ers set aside cap space with an eye to the future

The first wave of free agency is over, and the 49ers struck quickly.

The club identified two players coach Kyle Shanahan tabbed as fits for his offense and they paid the money it took to get them.

General manager John Lynch said there were five teams seriously interested in free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon. Even more teams were going after center Weston Richburg, he said.

That drove up the prices on McKinnon and Richburg to the point that they rank behind only quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($37 million) as taking up the most cap space among the 72 players currently under contract to the 49ers.

McKinnon and Richburg account for $10.5 million and $9.26 million, respectively, on the 49ers' salary cap. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's deal takes up $6.175 million on the 49ers' cap this season.

The big spending to attract free agents to the team is likely over. The 49ers have $45.1 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association. That figure does not include a projected $8.3 million to sign their 2018 rookie class, according to overthecap.com.

The major spending for this offseason is over because the 49ers have apparently looked to the future and set aside cap space with the idea of retaining some of their own players whose contracts are winding down.

The first decisions for the future must occur by May 3, the deadline for picking up the fifth-year options on first-round picks from the 2015 draft. The 49ers have decisions to make on defensive lineman Arik Armstread and left guard Laken Tomlinson, who was acquired from Detroit in a trade just prior to the start of the 2017 regular season.

It is still unclear how or if Armstead’s skills fit into the 49ers’ defense. He opened last season at the team's pass-rush end before moving to the "big end," which also appears to be first-round pick Solomon Thomas' best position.

Tomlinson showed reasons for the 49ers to be optimistic about his future as his play got better as he acclimated to the offense. Among the guards already on the 49ers’ roster, Tomlinson appears to be the most likely to be a starter in 2018.

Presumptive starting safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next offseason. Ward’s fifth-year option deal of one-year, $8.526 million became fully guaranteed last Wednesday. But in order for the 49ers to make a multi-year commitment, Ward would likely have to prove he can remain healthy and available for a full season.

DeForest Buckner is likely the target for the next blockbuster contract extension. Buckner has emerged as one of the top young defensive linemen in the league. Next offseason will be the first time the 49ers are permitted to negotiate a multi-year extension with him.

With a scarcity of offensive linemen available in the draft and free agency, right tackle Trent Brown could be set to cash in with an enormous deal next offseason – either with the 49ers or some other team.

DL Arik Armstead
FS Jimmie Ward
SS Jaquiski Tartt
RT Trent Brown
LB Eli Harold
LG Laken Tomlinson
K Robbie Gould
P Bradley Pinion

DL DeForest Buckner
LT Joe Staley
OG Joshua Garnett
DL Ronald Blair
TE Garrett Celek
RB Matt Breida (RFA)
WR Kendrick Bourne (RFA)

Deepest position in the NFL Draft? 49ers VP of Player Personnel weighs in


Deepest position in the NFL Draft? 49ers VP of Player Personnel weighs in

The 49ers concluded the first wave of the free-agent signing period with the signings of players to fill the team’s biggest offseason needs.

--Cornerback. Aqib Talib would have been the answer in a trade with the Denver Broncos, but he wanted to play elsewhere. Instead, the 49ers signed veteran Richard Sherman, whom the Seattle Seahawks cut a day earlier.

--Interior offensive line. Center Weston Richburg was the player the team had rated as their top target in free agency, and they signed him to a lucrative five-year deal.

--Running back. The team decided Jerick McKinnon was a better fit than Carlos Hyde. They wrapped him up with a four-year contract.

--Edge rusher. Lacking many options in free agency, the 49ers signed Jeremiah Attaochu to a one-year contract in hopes he will earn a spot on the team and make a contribution at the “Leo” position.

The 49ers can still use more help at a number of different positions, including cornerback, wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker and edge rusher. While the 49ers might add some role players in the second wave of free agency, most of the major acquisitions at this point are likely to come in the draft.

On the 49ers Insider Podcast, 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters addressed what positions he believes are strong in this year’s draft.

“I think running backs, absolutely. It’s a deep position,” Peters said. “Quarterbacks at the top is deeper than it was last year. Secondary, corners, it’s not deeper than it was last year, but it’s a strong class of corners. Those are the main ones. The offensive line class is a little better than last year, too.”

The 49ers got major contributions from their rookie class last season. Tight end George Kittle, receiver Trent Taylor, quarterback C.J. Beathard, running back Matt Breida, defensive lineman Solomom Thomas, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, linebacker Reuben Foster and safety Adrian Colbert each played more than 300 snaps.

The 49ers feel good about Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, as a starter with Sherman on the other side. Peters said a lot of the team’s rookies played larger roles than expected in 2017, but Witherspoon might have been at the top of the list.

“I don’t think he was active for the first four games,” Peters said of Witherspoon. “And he ended up playing at a high level at the end. Really driven, conscientious player who wants to be great. 

"We were lucky we got a chance to play a lot of rookies because that’ll help us moving forward.”