The 49ers have been very active in free agency which had not been the case under the previous regime. What did feel familiar is their acquisition of players who are either coming off of injury or those who have a history of them.
John Lynch addressed the concern about the health of their new signees, former Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander in particular.
“You know, when you get to free agency,” Lynch said, “you’re looking for players that are going to make your team better. The good news with a guy like Kwon is he has an ACL. Those things get better."
“He's putting in the work. We had a physical that was very thorough, and our doctors came out feeling good about it. That’s just, we thought these guys were great players. We vetted it thoroughly, and we felt comfortable with it.”
It’s not just the 49ers new linebacker that has a history with injuries. The majority have had a history of missing games. Here’s the rundown:
Alexander tore his ACL in October of 2018, approximately one month after Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury occurred. He is planning to be ready for training camp. He also missed multiple games in 2017 with a hamstring injury.
Ford most recently suffered a groin injury, coincidentally when playing the 49ers, during the same fateful game that Garoppolo tore his ACL. He still played in all 16 games in 2018. He only played in six games in 2017 after a back injury forced him to be placed on injured reserve.
Verrett missed the entire 2018 season after tearing his Achilles tendon during a conditioning test on the first day of training camp. He only played in five games from 2016-2017 due to knee injuries. He participated in just six games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury in 2014.
Mathews has had trouble with his knees for quite a while. He missed six games in 2017 and two in 2018. He was cut during training camp with the Patriots with a hamstring injury.
Mayo had a sports hernia/core muscle surgery after the 2018 season. It is the same type of injury that Nick Bosa had repaired. He is expected to make a full recovery by training camp.
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Ward has ended each of his four seasons with broken bones. In his rookie season, it was a foot fracture. In 2016 he broke his collar bone and in both 2017 and 2018, he broke his forearm albeit in different places.
While the training and medical staffs cannot control the rate of injuries the 49ers are still revamping the structure. Lynch explained the methodology behind the shift.
“I think we looked hard at it,” Lynch said. “We’ve adjusted our staff accordingly. We’ve announced some of those moves, some more to come. So, we've really tried to look at our structure and how we can best care for our players and give them every opportunity to stay healthy. Having said that, injuries happen.”