Tue Aug 6 7:32pm ET
By GRANT COHN
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Running back Jerick McKinnon is back on the field for the 49ers nearly a year after a torn right ACL prematurely ended his first season in San Francisco.
McKinnon participated in position drills Tuesday after being removed from the physically unable to perform list. He practiced carrying the ball and running routes but the 49ers didn't allow him to take part in 11-on-11 drills.
''I told myself to feel it out and make sure everything is smooth,'' McKinnon said. ''Focus on the details and try not to get ahead of myself.''
The 49ers signed McKinnon to a four-year, $30 million deal last year with the expectation he would be their lead back. But he was injured during practice in September and had to sit out the entire season. He also missed OTAs and minicamp this offseason.
McKinnon expected to return from his injury sooner but he suffered a setback two weeks before camp began. ''It was a little frustrating, just because I wanted to be back that first day of camp,'' McKinnon said. ''But, at the same time, this is a process. Anybody who has been through this process will tell you that everybody's process is different than the next man's.''
Coach Kyle Shanahan said the team is easing him in slowly to avoid further setbacks.
''I'm sure health-wise he feels he could have jumped in today or at least a week ago,'' Shanahan said. ''But there's a whole process you have to go through. He has been rehabbing for a year now and there's a lot that goes into that, especially for a running back. You don't want people rolling on his legs. You've got to talk to the player and make sure he feels confident mentally and physically'' before he practices fully.
McKinnon began his career in Minnesota, which took him in the third round of the 2014 draft. In four seasons with the Vikings, McKinnon started 14 games and averaged 4.0 yards per carry. San Francisco had high expectations after signing him.
''He was going to be a huge part of our offense,'' Shanahan said. ''We got a guy who is very good at beating man-to-man coverage when going against linebackers and safeties. And also, he's a good running back. We're being patient. We know what he can do, know what he's capable of.''
To take pressure off McKinnon, the 49ers signed running back Tevin Coleman this offseason. Coleman spent the first four seasons of his career with the Atlanta Falcons, where he averaged 4.4 yards per carry. The 49ers also have Matt Breida, who averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2018, and Raheem Mostert, who averaged 7.7 yards per carry in 2018.
The 49ers haven't decided which running back will start, or how the depth chart will shake out.
''I think they're going to complement each other well and spare each other when one guy is a little tired,'' fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. ''We're not losing anything by bringing in our second guy, our third guy or our fourth guy. We feel all those guys are at a starting-caliber level, so there's really not much of a drop off.''
August 5th: ADP Value
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is already expected to play a pivotal role in the offense in 2020. The first-round draft pick may not have the blow-away speed of departed receiver Stefon Diggs, but is a versatile route-runner who can play outside or in the slot. The Vikings have been decimated on the defensive side of the football this past offseason, putting more of an onus on the offense to step up. The absence of preseason games creates a challenge for fantasy owners to properly scout rookies before drafts. But Jefferson figures to have a role early on, making him an intriguing late-round fantasy option.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller enters training camp trying to put 2019 behind him after disappointing last season. The third-year receiver caught seven touchdowns during his rookie season in 2018 and Miller's future looked very bright. But Miller endured a sloppy training camp and struggled to see the field the first month of the season. He did rebound and finished the season with 52 receptions for 656 yards but caught only two touchdowns. Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey has made a litany of comments in the offseason about Miller's preparation but has praised, thus far, what he has seen. He's trying to learn. He's dropped the ego of this whole Memphis thing. Now he's coming here and learning from Allen Robinson, asking Allen Robinson, watching Allen Robinson," Furrey told reporters. "If you're starting to do that stuff, you're definitely heading in the right direction and starting to grow individually.'' Miller will be the definition of boom-or-bust heading into fantasy drafts.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw to receivers on Wednesday but the real competition for the starting job begins on Friday when full-padded practices begin. Head coach Matt Nagy has intimated that the decision could come sooner than later with the condensed training camp schedule hindering the team's ability to get a full picture. To this point, Trubisky has said all the right things and has been praised for his preparation in zoom meetings. Even if he wins the job out of camp, Trubisky's leash will be extremely short with backup Nick Foles breathing down his neck heading into the team's Week 1 battle against the Lions.
Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles has already been praised by head coach Matt Nagy for "improving the quarterback room" as the team prepares for full-padded practice starting next week. Foles was acquired from the Jaguars in the offseason to not only compete with incumbent starter Mitch Trubisky, but perhaps snatch the starter's job from him. Foles had a disastrous season in 2019, breaking his collarbone in Week 1 and then underperformed when he returned to action in Week 11. The veteran has a history of poor quarterback play when given the keys to an offense right out of the gate but also has shown to be one of the greatest off-the-bench passer's in recent history. If Foles wins the starting job in Chicago, he still lacks any kind of fantasy appeal outside of two quarterback leagues.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will look to take a step forward in his second NFL season, and will be doing so with a new offensive coordinator in former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. In his first public comments since being hired in January, Garrett raved about the sophomore-signal caller's work ethic and the work Jones put in to learn the offense without the two being able to meet face-to-face due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jones showed huge upside last season with five-300 yard passing games and three games with four-plus touchdowns. His main issue was turnovers as he threw 12 picks and fumbled a league-leading 18 times. Garrett had great success with Dak Prescott, so expect him to help Jones improve in year two making him a good QB to target if waiting on the position in drafts.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle agreed to a five-year, $75 million extension Thursday, Aug. 13, that includes an $18 million signing bonus. The contract language is still being worked out.
Fantasy Spin: Kittle is an elite tight end that should be among the top two or three taken universally in fantasy.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle signed a five-year $75 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. The $15 million per season average makes Kittle the highest-paid tight end in the league by a wide margin over Hunter Henry's $10.6 million franchise-tag deal. Kittle caught 85-plus passes and gained 1,000-plus yards each of the past two seasons in becoming arguably the best tight end in football. The 26-year-old was named a First-Team All-Pro last season and now will be locked-into Kyle Shanahan's offense in San Francisco that was fourth in the NFL in total offense last year. Kittle should be one of the top-two tight ends drafted in fantasy within the top-25 picks.
Free-agent DT P.J. Hall (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Houston Texans Thursday, Aug. 13.
Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys DE Everson Griffen agreed to a one-year deal with a $3 million base salary and includes $3 million in potential roster bonuses.
Free-agent DL Ziggy Ansah (Seahawks) was offered a one-year, $910,000 minimum salary by the San Francisco 49ers, but it wasn't enough for Ansah to sign.
Seattle Seahawks LB K.J. Wright (shoulder) had a 'marvelous' recovery from shoulder surgery and was able to practice Wednesday, Aug. 12, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
Free-agent DE Everson Griffen (Vikings) agreed to terms with the Dallas Cowboys Wednesday, Aug. 12, according to a source.
The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent defensive end Everson Griffen to a contract on Wednesday evening. Griffen had spent over a decade with the Minnesota Vikings and had multiple suitors during free agency. The veteran lineman has recorded 74.5 sacks across his past 77 games and adds an extra pass-rushing element to the Cowboys' defense. The unit gave up the 11th-fewest points per game last season, but also lost Robert Quinn and Byron Jones over the summer. The Cowboys project to be a middle-of-the-pack DST unit in 2020.
Updating a previous source, free-agent TE Luke Stocker (Falcons) is expected to re-sign with the Atlanta Falcons, according to a source Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner said Wednesday, Aug. 12, he never considered opting out, despite the fact he's a high-risk player as a cancer survivor. 'Going on four years now removed from cancer,' Conner said. 'I didn't really have to talk to my family. It was never a concern for me. I've been healthy for years now. It was an easy decision for me. I never really gave much thought to it. I'm healthy and my immune system is back healthy. I'm not worried.'
Fantasy Spin: Conner stands to have a good bounce-back season with QB Ben Roethlisberger back under center for the Steelers. He totaled just 464 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 116 carries over 10 games in 2019. This is also a contract season for him, and he should be targeted as a low-tier RB2.
Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (personal) is away from the team right now while dealing with family matters, according to head coach Pete Carroll Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Updating a previous story, Jacksonville Jaguars TE James O'Shaughnessy (undisclosed) passed his physical Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Updating a previous story, free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) officially signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, Aug. 12. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Free-agent DT Timmy Jernigan (Eagles) is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the near future, according to sources. Jernigan visited the Jaguars Wednesday, Aug. 12.