Where 49ers stand at start of NFL free agency


Where 49ers stand at start of NFL free agency

Running back Carlos Hyde’s time with the 49ers is coming to an end.

Hyde is expected to sign a three-year deal with the Cleveland Browns worth more than $15 million with $6 million in the first year, reports the NFL Network.

The 49ers were not heavily involved in trying to retain Hyde at those numbers.

Hyde appeared in 50 games in four seasons with the 49ers, gaining 2,729 yards and 21 touchdowns. He never produced a 1,000-yard season after taking over for Frank Gore as the featured back in 2015.

The 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

The 49ers have been looking for a running back who can make more plays on his own and be a versatile weapon coach Kyle Shanahan can use to dictate mismatches.

And on Wednesday morning, they reportedly agreed to terms with former Minnesota running back Jerick McKinnon on a four-year contract worth $30 million.

The 49ers could also use a draft pick to select a player from a deep draft class of running backs to be the main back ahead of Matt Breida. The 49ers this week re-signed Raheem Mostert, a top special-teams player, to a one-year contract. Also, Joe Williams, a fourth-round pick last year, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot, beginning in the offseason program.

The 49ers filled two of the team’s biggest roster needs with the signings of former Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman and an agreement with guard-center Weston Richburg, who is expected to sign a five-year contract on Wednesday. Richburg spent his first four NFL seasons with the New York Giants.

If the 49ers sign another cornerback, the player is expected to be more of a bottom-end-of-the-roster player. The 49ers are scheduled to meet with DeShawn Shead, according to the NFL Network. Shead (6-2, 212) started 15 games for the Seahawks in 2016 before sustaining an ACL injury in a January 2017 playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Shead was released as the Seahawks honored a promise to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent. Because Shead remained on physically unable to perform through the Seahawks’ sixth game of last season, his contract would have “tolled.” If Seattle had not released Shead, he would not have gotten credit for a season and the Seahawks could have kept him under the same one-year, $1.2 million deal under which he worked last season.

Richburg appears to be the 49ers’ main target for improvement to the interior of their offensive line. The 49ers were never believed to be interested in former Carolina guard Andrew Norwell because he was not viewed as a good fit for Shanahan’s system – a scheme that relies heavily on the ability of the offensive linemen to move.

The 49ers have not been players on the wide receiver market. The team could still look for a role player, but the 49ers appear to like the group of wideouts already on the roster, a cast that includes Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne and Aldrick Robinson. The 49ers can be expected to draft a wide receiver, too.

The 49ers may have liked former Jacksonville wide receiver Allen Robinson, but not at the reported $14 million-a-year price it will take the Chicago Bears to sign him.

Hyde will not be alone, when it comes to 49ers free agents not re-signing with the club. The only one of the 49ers’ free agents the club appears active in attempting to re-sign is inside linebacker/special-teams player Brock Coyle, who started a career-high 10 games in his first season with the 49ers.

Among the 49ers’ other free agents who are available on the open market are safety Eric Reid, defensive linemen Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine, cornerback Dontae Johnson, guard Brandon Fusco, and tight end Logan Paulsen.

The 49ers last week declined the option on veteran edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, making him an unrestricted free agent, too. There are not many available options available in free agency, so the 49ers could look to the draft to bring in another player to rush the passer. General manger John Lynch also spoke recently about the need for the 49ers to develop their own pass-rushers, including Eli Harold, Cassius Marsh and Pita Taumoepenu.

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.