49ers

John Lynch says Jerick McKinnon fits 49ers' plan for 2019 NFL season

John Lynch says Jerick McKinnon fits 49ers' plan for 2019 NFL season

PHOENIX – The 49ers could get out of Jerick McKinnon’s contract with minimal financial impact before next week.

But general manager John Lynch believes it would be foolish for the team to part ways with McKinnon prior to April 1.

“Yeah, Jerick is going to be a part of us,” Lynch said Monday at the NFL owners meeting. “We’re excited to see that through.”

As part of the terms of the four-year, $30 million contract the sides agreed upon last year, McKinnon’s full $3.7 million salary for 2019 becomes fully guaranteed next Monday. He can also earn another $300,000 in bonuses during the upcoming season.

McKinnon picked up $11.7 million in fully guaranteed money at signing last year, but his season ended before it ever began. McKinnon tore his ACL a week before the start of the regular season.

He is on pace for a full return for training camp, according to the team.

“Jerick’s working incredibly hard,” Lynch said. “He’s always had a chip on his shoulder because that was his first opportunity to be the guy. I’m sure he’ll have a bigger chip on his shoulder. But he’s very much a part of our plans. The way he’s working is very encouraging. But it’s a big thing to come back from, that’s for sure. Yeah, Jerick is going to be a part of us.”

The 49ers’ signing of free-agent running back Tevin Coleman was the source of some speculation about McKinnon’s future. Lynch said the 49ers did not enter the offseason determined to add a veteran running back.

"We were comfortable going into the season with our running back group," Lynch said.

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was among the top players available on the open market. Bell signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the New York Jets.

The market was soft for the other running backs. Coleman, who played two seasons with Kyle Shanahan as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the 49ers.

“We saw an opportunity with Tevin and we pounced on it, because we knew the player he was,” Lynch said. “And that’s one where Kyle had first-hand experience with him. If we could do it at that price, absolutely, we’d be involved. We worked hard to get it done, and we’re really thrilled.”

Coleman and McKinnon are joined by running backs Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson on the 49ers’ offseason roster. Lynch said the club is currently not engaged in trade talks of any kind.

Why Kyle Shanahan had to abort rep with Jimmy Garoppolo at 49ers minicamp

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AP

Why Kyle Shanahan had to abort rep with Jimmy Garoppolo at 49ers minicamp

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has been moving along in his rehab from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 3 of the 2018 season.

So, toward the end of minicamp, head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted to get his quarterback a rep or two in 11-on-11s. Shanahan's instructions to his defensive line were to stand still with their hands up and to not touch the franchise quarterback.

Shanahan's orders were heard, but the instincts of his defense took over and the head coach had to jump in to avoid catastrophe. 

"The animals that they are, why we love them, they couldn't help it," Shanahan told ESPN's Nick Wagoner about his defensive line during the drill. "I saw it, so I stopped it. I wasn't going to mess with it."

After the minor heart attack, Shanahan was able to laugh it off. 

"I liked it, after I got over it," Shanahan said.

Exhale, Niners fans.

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Garoppolo has proclaimed himself "good to go" as training camp approaches, but hopefully, the 49ers' defensive line gets the memo during the next drill.

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo working with 'quarterback whisperer' Tom House

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo working with 'quarterback whisperer' Tom House

The work 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has in front of him won't be as arduous as the rehabilitation process -- that's the good news. But he's not out of the woods yet.

After suffering a torn ACL in his left knee last September, all of his focus can be concentrated on taking himself to the next level to become the best he can be. That means bringing in the talents of Tom House as a summer QB coach.

House, a "quarterback whisperer," coached the likes of fellow QBs Drew Brees, Alex Smith, Carson Palmer, and Jimmy G's former teammate, Tom Brady. 

"When he shows up, you know what you're going to get," House told ESPN's Nick Wagoner about Garoppolo.

Garoppolo was described by House as being "humble and hungry for success," just as the other star quarterbacks have been. That makes House's job much easier.

For the next month or so, Jimmy G will work with House and his team at the 3DQB training facility, CEO Adam Dedeaux, motion mechanics instructor John Beck and motion expert Taylor Kelly on everything -- and I mean everything. The 3DQB plan includes fundamental throwing mechanics, sure, but they also monitor Garoppolo's nutrition and sleep.

He won't be alone in some of the training sessions but didn't name names of teammates that would be joining him.

"During these 40 days, you do so many different things, physical, mental," Garoppolo said to Wagoner. "You're trying to recover at the same time [as] getting ready for training camp. I think just having the timing of the offense down, being in rhythm with the receivers that I'll work with and everything, and just getting comfortable. It's been a little while since I've been in 11-on-11 football, so just getting as comfortable as I can as quickly as I can."

House, aware of Garoppolo's medical rehab, wants to make sure the next steps are the right ones for the two-time Super Bowl champ.

"As the performance part of the rehab, we are working in lockstep with the medical rehab," House said. "We just make sure to coordinate accordingly. You don't want to undo anything the medical has done, and you don't want to overdo anything on the performance side. When you've got a guy like Jimmy -- and I had met him and got to know him a little bit when he was with the Patriots -- and obviously he gets along really well with the young coaches on our staff, so it was a good fit in both directions."   

But there's no rush.

"I think all of that will come with time," Garoppolo said. "I'll try to implement as many drills as I can during these 40 days or so. But, I think once until the bullets start flying and everything, then we'll really see."

House started his career as a pitcher for seven seasons in Major League Baseball across three teams. He earned his Ph.D. in Sports/Performance Psychology while he was becoming a pitching coach. He began working with quarterbacks in 2006 when Brees was rehabbing a dislocated right shoulder. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G on work he did with Mike Shanahan]

Since then, he's worked with just about every notable quarterback you can imagine. Brees himself said House doesn't stop at the physical but works with the individual as a whole. Brees mentioned in his book, "Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Power of Adversity," that he was a different player than before.

"I was coming back stronger and better than ever," Brees wrote.

Jimmy G hopes the same is true for him as the 2019 season is just around the corner.