No. 2: Running Back Jerick McKinnon
It’s a shame fans haven’t been able to witness running back Jerick McKinnon make an impact on the 49ers offense the last two years.
After tearing his ACL at the close of the preseason in 2018, all hopes for a healthy 2019 return were dashed with McKinnon re-aggravated the injury, landing him back on injured reserve for the duration of the year.
San Francisco’s ground game has gotten by well enough, however, as the strong trio of runners Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert shouldered the load, promoting one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks in the league last season.
As such, McKinnon has unfortunately become something of an excess commodity.
There’s a good thought the Niners might rather part ways with Coleman, who has one year remaining on his deal in San Francisco, and with zero guaranteed money. But head coach Kyle Shanahan seems to favor Coleman, as the tailback was frequently in Shanahan’s game plan down the stretch despite some second-half struggles.
If that’s the case in 2020, McKinnon is the odd player out.
McKinnon has two more years left on his deal, and cutting him this offseason would cost the 49ers $4 million in dead money, albeit with $4.55 million in cap savings.
That’s likely the route the Niners choose this offseason.