Source: 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley to start in NFC Championship Game

Source: 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley to start in NFC Championship Game

SANTA CLARA -- Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley will return to the starting lineup in the NFC Championship Game, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Sunday morning.

Moseley will take over as the starter at right cornerback against the Green Bay Packers to replace Ahkello Witherspoon, who started the 49ers’ past six games. Moseley’s matchup against Packers star receiver Davante Adams figures to be one of the keys to Sunday’s game.

The 49ers and Packers meet at Levi’s Stadium at 3:40 p.m. PT with the winning team earning a trip to Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Moseley replaced Witherspoon in both of the 49ers’ past two games. When Witherspoon struggled, Moseley entered the game for the final drive of the 49ers’ Week 17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Moseley made a pass breakup in the end zone to help the 49ers preserve a 26-21 victory that clinched the NFC West title and homefield advantage in the playoffs.

Last week, Moseley took over after Witherspoon was beaten early in the game for a 41-yard touchdown from Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to Stefon Diggs. It was the Vikings’ only touchdown in the 49ers’ 27-10 victory.

After being benched, Witherspoon approached 49ers special-teams coordinator Richard Hightower on the sideline and asked to assume all of Moseley’s responsibilities in the kicking game.

Witherspoon has started 30 of the 37 games in which he has appeared since the 49ers selected him in the third round of the 2017 draft.

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Moseley started eight games at right cornerback this season when Witherspoon missed extended playing time due to a foot sprain. Moseley also started a game at left cornerback when Richard Sherman was out against the Atlanta Falcons with a hamstring injury.

Moseley is a second-year pro from Tennessee. The 49ers signed him in 2018 as an undrafted free agent. He saw action in just one game as a rookie before sustaining a season-ending dislocated shoulder.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine


Henry Ruggs, who ran 4.27 40-yard dash, met with 49ers during combine

The 49ers saw firsthand how a blazing-fast receiver like Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs can change a game when Hill's deep catch on third-and-15 swung the momentum in Super Bowl LIV. Henry Ruggs, believe it or not, might be even faster. 

As San Francisco looks to upgrade its receivers for coach Kyle Shanahan's motion-heavy offense, a speedster like Ruggs could be a game-changer. The Alabama receiver said Thursday that he has met with the 49ers at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

Ruggs put on an absolute show Thursday at the combine. After measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, Ruggs ran a ridiculous 4.27 40-yard dash. That is the fastest among receivers this year, and the best time thus far at the combine. His time also is tied with current 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, who could be on his way out of San Francisco, as the fourth-fastest at the combine since 2006.

That was just the start to Ruggs' big day, too. He also recorded a 42-inch vertical leap and had a 10'11" broad jump. His athleticism simply is off the charts. 

Ruggs joins a growing list of receivers the 49ers have met with at the combine. But it seems highly unlikely he will be available for the NFC champions. The 49ers own the No. 31 pick in the draft this year, and a handful of teams ahead of them make sense as a landing spot for Ruggs. 

[RELATED: Baylor receiver Mims believes his skills match with 49ers]

Before the combine, Ruggs was selected No. 18 overall by the Miami Dolphins in our latest mock draft. It would be a big surprise to see him fall past the New Orleans Saints at No. 24 overall.

It's clear the 49ers are doing their due diligence on a loaded receiver class, and could be eyeing a future star at the end of the first round. Adding Ruggs would be gold to Shanahan's offense.

George Kittle's agent 'very patient' in 49ers contract negotiations

George Kittle's agent 'very patient' in 49ers contract negotiations

George Kittle still is under contract for one more season. The record-breaking tight end will wear a 49ers jersey in the 2020 season, however, the front office already is thinking of how to keep him in San Francisco for years to come.

Kittle is set to earn a base salary of $2,144,000 this upcoming season. Soon, that will be a tiny slice of his contract. The 49ers must sign Kittle to a multiyear contract, and soon. His agent, though, will take his time when it comes to negotiations. 

Kittle's agent, Jack Bechta, told The Athletic's Matt Barrows at the NFL Scouting Combine that he will be "very patient" in getting Kittle the right kind of contract. 

“He’s the poster child of culture for that team, of the type of player they want on that team,” Bechta said to Barrows in Indianapolis.

Kittle is the best player on the team. That isn't changing any time soon. The former fifth-round draft pick was voted first-team All-Pro last season and isn't slowing down. He's the rare combination of size and speed, who is just as excited to block as he is to catch a touchdown pass. 

As of this publishing, Kittle is scheduled to be the 49ers’ 31st highest-paid player for the 2020 season. That soon won't be true. No matter how patient Bechta is, it seems reasonable to expect Kittle to become the highest paid tight end in football, and should make well over $10 million annually.

[RELATED: Kittle's secret to Shanahan's wife gets back to 49ers coach]

Kittle has gone from the steal of the 2017 draft, to perhaps a top-five player in the NFL. He and his agent should both wait until the 49ers back up the Brinks truck. 

It's certain that Kittle is about to get paid. Big time. It just might not happen right away.