49ers

49ers' Tevin Coleman explains how Kyle Shanahan has changed as play-designer

49ers' Tevin Coleman explains how Kyle Shanahan has changed as play-designer

Running back Tevin Coleman emerged as a legitimate dual-threat running back in his second season in the NFL.

As the Atlanta Falcons were marching toward the Super Bowl, Coleman hauled in 31 receptions for 421 yards – a gaudy 13.6 average with three touchdowns. The Falcons had one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history, and coordinator Kyle Shanahan was hailed as one of the game's top offensive minds.

Coleman reunited this offseason with Shanahan, who begins his third season as 49ers head coach. And Coleman notices a difference in how Shanahan runs his offense.

“Now, he can do anything he wants,” Coleman said. “He can put guys at multiple positions. He can put us in multiple positions to run different routes. It’s pretty good.

“(He’s) definitely more creative than he was in Atlanta, just with everything (he's) doing with the backs and tight ends and receivers.”

The 49ers have a speedy group of running backs around whom Shanahan can diagram his offense. Coleman joins a backfield that consists of Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert. Coleman does not expect there to be any boundaries for the possibilities of combinations that will get on the field at any time – or what formations and what positions they might align.

“Kyle has advanced that and has us running more routes that receivers would do,” Coleman said.

Coleman, who signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the 49ers in March, has been the lead back for the 49ers during organized team activities. Coleman is coming off a season in which he gained a career-best 800 yards rushing on 4.8 yards per attempt.

[RELATED: Hooper raves about 'Nostradamus' Shanahan's play calling]

McKinnon is working back slowly after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Breida (partially torn pectoral) and Mostert (fractured forearm) are expected to join Coleman and McKinnon at the start of training camp in late-July.

What 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has changed to go on recent hot streak

What 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has changed to go on recent hot streak

SANTA CLARA -- On his recent hot streak, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is giving the 49ers the best of both worlds.

Through his first seven games of the season, Garoppolo threw nine touchdown passes but also had seven interceptions. In the past six games, Garoppolo has tossed 16 touchdown throws while getting picked off just four times.

“He’s continued to make big throws and stuff, but he’s obviously eliminated some of the turnovers, which I think is huge,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday. “Sometimes when guys make a bunch of big plays and turnovers, the only way to get them to eliminate the turnovers is to stop trying to make those big plays. I don’t think Jimmy has done that.

“He’s continued to make big plays, maybe even made more of them, and the turnovers have gone way down, which has been a huge step in the right direction.”

Chalk it up to experience.

Garoppolo had never before started more than five games in any of his first five NFL seasons. This season, he has remained healthy through 13 games – and he is no longer stuck at No. 2 on the depth chart behind one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

“Confidence comes with that, being able to do it week-in and week-out,” said Garoppolo, who spent 3 1/2 seasons as Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots prior to the trade that sent him to the 49ers in the middle of the 2017 season.

“As a quarterback, that’s what you want to do. You want to be out there for the team week after week. That’s part of your job. I wouldn’t say it’s anything special. It just gives you more confidence, though.”

Garoppolo seemingly has learned from his mistakes without over-correcting and becoming too cautious or tentative.

“The more you’re out there and the more situations you go through, good or bad,” Shanahan said. “It’s how are you going to react to them. What are you going to learn from them? Some people, the more they are out there, the more nervous they get and they go into a shell and just get worse.

“Jimmy, no matter whether a good thing or a bad thing happens to him, I feel it’s made him better each week. He learns from it, he doesn’t overanalyze it and freak out about it. He just learns from it, files it in the bank and then goes to the next week and tries to keep stacking them up.”

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo is first 49ers QB to win Player of the Week since 2012]

Garoppolo said it took him a while to feel comfortable after his 2018 season ended in Week 3 after sustaining a torn left ACL in Kansas City.

“Taking a year off with the ACL and everything, takes a little while to get back into it,” he said.

He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday after his 349-yard, four-touchdown performance in a 48-46 victory over the New Orleans Saints. He said he has done nothing extraordinary during his hot streak, which has included a 124.4 passer rating over the past four games.

“It’s just going through the game plan, knowing where your outs are, knowing your hots, things like that, and taking what the defense gives you,” he said. “I don’t think it’s doing anything special or anyone making a crazy play. It’s just playing within the offense and following your rules.”

49ers get better idea of cost to retain Arik Armstead on franchise tag

49ers get better idea of cost to retain Arik Armstead on franchise tag

The 49ers now have a good idea of what it would cost to place the franchise tag on defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

Here’s a hint: It won’t be cheap.

Armstead is enjoying his breakout season along the 49ers’ defensive line. After registering nine sacks over his first four NFL seasons, Armstead this season has compiled a team-leading 10 sacks in 13 games.

The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option a year ago and are paying him $9.046 million this season. But his price tag will rise significantly next season.

Joel Corry, a former NFL player agent and current salary-cap expert for CBSSports.com, projects the franchise tag for defensive ends to be $17.95 million for the 2020 season.

A player qualifies at a specific position based on where he played more snaps. Armstead has played more snaps at defensive end than defensive tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: 49ers fear nose tackle Jones out for year with ankle injury]

As much as the 49ers would like to retain Armstead, the team also wants to save as much cap space as possible to be able to sign such players as DeForest Buckner and George Kittle to multi-year contract extensions in the near future.

Buckner is expected to receive approximately $14 million in salary next season on the fifth-year option. Kittle is in line for a big new contract when his deal is up after the 2020 season.

NFL teams were informed at a league meeting this week that the 2020 salary cap is projected to jump from $196.8 million to $201.2 million. Corry came up with his numbers for the franchise and transition tags based on a projection of $200 million for the 2020 salary cap.

In 2020, teams are allowed to use both the franchise and transition tags on players scheduled to be free agents in the spring, Corry explains.

The non-exclusive franchise tag means that another team can sign a tagged player to a contract, but the original team has five days to match the contract terms. If that team does not match, it would receive two first-round draft picks as compensation. The exclusive franchise tag comes at a higher salary and prevents other teams from negotiating with the player.

A transition tag gives the incumbent team only the right to match a contract. There is no compensation for a team that chooses not to match an offer sheet for a player who is tagged as a transition player.

Teams are allowed to name their franchise and transition players beginning Feb. 25 through March 10.