Weston Richburg

49ers sign veteran lineman Wesley Johnson to one-year contract

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AP

49ers sign veteran lineman Wesley Johnson to one-year contract

The 49ers on Tuesday added to their veteran depth on the offensive line with the signing of center Wesley Johnson to a one-year contract.  The 49ers waived tight end Marcus Lucas to make room for Johnson on the 90-man roster.

The 49ers need addtional depth at center for the offseason after Weston Richburg underwent surgery after the season on his left knee and quadriceps. The 49ers hope Richburg will be available for the start of training camp in late-July.

Johnson, 28, played 10 games for the Miami Dolphins last season. In 2017, he started 15 games for the New York Jets. He has appeared in 51 games in his six-year career with 24 starts. Johnson (6-foot-55, 309 pounds) was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round (173rd overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt.

He has appeared in NFL games with the Steelers (2014), Jets (2014-17) and Miami Dolphins (2018). Lucas joined the 49ers' practice squad last December and did not appear in any games.

Two 49ers join Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon in rehab timetables

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USATSI

Two 49ers join Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon in rehab timetables

MOBILE, Ala. – Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon are on pace to be on the field when the 49ers open training camp in late-July, if not during the team's offseason program.

Recently, 49ers general manager John Lynch witnessed Garoppolo throw a pass to McKinnon at the team’s practice facility as they continue their rehabilitations from ACL surgeries. McKinnon was on the field with rehabilitation coordinator Ryan Donahue while Garoppolo wrapped up a session in the weight room.

“(Garoppolo) was carrying a football and I looked out and he threw one ball to him,” Lynch said Thursday at the Senior Bowl. “It fired me up. That’s what we want them to be doing. They are both working incredibly hard.”

[RELATED: 49ers offensive depth chart: Looking to add another playmaker in 2019]

The 49ers expect center Weston Richburg and defensive back D.J. Reed to join Garoppolo and McKinnon in being cleared for the start of training camp. Richburg underwent extensive surgery on his knee and quadriceps after the season. Reed is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday to have a repair a labral tear in his shoulder.

Richburg, who signed a five-year contract worth up to $47.5 million last offseason, sustained a left knee injury in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers. He hobbled off the field, but returned to the game. He was listed as “questionable” for four of the next five weeks. He missed only one game.

“I think it affected his play late in the year,” Lynch said. “He was having trouble anchoring. We decided to go in there and get the thing cleaned up. It’s going to be an extensive rehab. He’ll be right up until training camp.

“We feel comfortable that the end result is it will allow him to perform to the great ability that he does have.”

Reed’s injury was a surprise during his exit physical, Lynch said. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday. His recovery is expected to last six months.

The 49ers are hopeful all four players will be available at the start of training camp.

McKinnon sustained his knee injury one week before the opening of the regular season. Garoppolo went down with his season-ending knee injury in Week 3 at Kansas City.

Garoppolo and McKinnon were being counted on to be the 49ers’ two most-impactful offensive players. Now, they are impacting each other in their rehab sessions.

“Both of their rehabs are going exceptionally well,” Lynch said. “Neither has had any setbacks in terms of swelling or anything like that.

“Jerick is six weeks ahead in terms of time frame. They’re pushing each other. Jimmy is trying to catch him, and Jet is trying to separate. But they’re really relying on each other, so that’s a positive.”

Weston Richburg looks ahead to 2019 as stressful first 49ers season ends

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USATSI

Weston Richburg looks ahead to 2019 as stressful first 49ers season ends

SANTA CLARA – Weston Richburg admits it has been a stressful season.

He signed a lucrative long-term contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. Richburg has put pressure on himself. And although the coaching staff thinks highly of him, an analytics service rates him 30th among qualifying NFL centers.

Throughout the season, the losses have taken a toll, but so has a knee injury that he has battled since Week 4.

Richburg was in pass protection against the Los Angeles Chargers early in the season. As quarterback C.J. Beathard got rid of the ball, right tackle Mike McGlinchey struggled to keep up with edge rusher Melvin Ingram. McGlinchey fell and rolled up on Richburg’s left knee.

Richburg hobbled off, but returned to the game. He was listed as “questionable” for four of the next five weeks. He missed only one game.

“I don’t feel very good,” Richburg said at his locker Friday, as the 49ers prepare for their final game of the season on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

He said he is not sure whether he will require surgery in the offseason.

“We’ll figure out what needs to happen, but it’s been very stressful trying to play games against good talent,” Richburg said.

[RELATED: Kittle gets gift from Chiefs star as both chase NFL history]

Richburg admits to placing a lot of pressure on himself to play up to the five-year contract worth up to $47.5 million he signed with the 49ers after four seasons with the New York Giants.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said. “You’re playing on a bigger contract. You’re playing in a new place, so you want to be perfect. The reality of it is, you’re not going to be perfect. I’m fortunate I came to a place with people like this that make it a more enjoyable experience to work. But we want to win. That’s the thing. That’s what we have to get done.”

Shanahan said Richburg's run-blocking was as good as any center he has coached early in the season. He complimented Richburg's commitment to play through a nagging knee injury. Although Richburg is among the lowest-rated centers according to Pro Football Focus’ grading system, Shanahan said he likes what he has seen.

“I know that I’m happy with him,” Shanahan said. “[That] doesn’t mean that there’s not room to grow. I think he could play better, too, especially the way he started out the year. We’ve got to find out a way to make that last throughout the whole year. I think we’ve got a very good center who is only going to get better.”

Shanahan’s offense put a lot on the plate of the team’s center. In addition to being the quarterback of the offensive line with making adjustments, there are difficult physical responsibilities that PFF has no way of recognizing, he said.

“I’m not trying to bash anyone, but there is a lot that’s not known about scheme and assignments," Shanahan said. "We’re given numbers where people who have no idea what O-line play is, judge people off numbers that they see. And, then, opinions are formulated on guys that are sometimes unfair.”

The 49ers’ offensive line appears mostly set for next season, with Richburg, tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, and left guard Laken Tomlinson returning. Right guard Mike Person is scheduled to be a free agent.

“I am excited about that because I think we’ll have a better grasp of the system,” Richburg said. “I’ll be able to understand it better after going through a whole year of games. I think we’ll be able to be a little more creative and be more player-run because we’ll have more experience in it. I am excited about that aspect of it.”