San Francisco 49ers: Ranking 5 worst moves from 2020 offseason

DeForest Buckner #99 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
DeForest Buckner #99 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Tevin Coleman, 49ers
Tevin Coleman #26 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

No. 4: 49ers committing to Tevin Coleman

When the Niners inked veteran running back Tevin Coleman early in 2019, it shouldn’t have come as a big surprise. Kyle Shanahan worked well with Coleman back during their days together with the Atlanta Falcons, and one figured Coleman would enjoy the kind of dual-threat role he saw, previously.

Coleman had splash moments in 2019, yes, including two games — once in the regular season and again in the playoffs — where he recorded 100-plus rush yards and multi-touchdown efforts.

Aside from that, though, Coleman’s 3.97 yards-per-carry average on the season doesn’t particularly stand out.

A possible reason for this, at least according to The Athletic’s David Lombardi, is Coleman faced more eight-man boxes than anyone else in the league last year, and Shanahan could have been using Coleman to test out opponents’ defenses to identify weaknesses.


But where things got tricky were in the financials. Coleman was owed zero in guaranteed money prior to April 1, and cutting him would have saved nearly $5 million in cap space with no dead money. With the 49ers needing to extend tight end George Kittle, that’s the kind of cash that would have been sorely needed.

With that deadline passed, $2 million would be dead money. And one can only hope this decision won’t get in the way of keeping Kittle around beyond this season.