4 SF 49ers players already fighting for their futures this season
By Timmy Gibson
No. 3: SF 49ers Running Back Jerick McKinnon
Perhaps no player on this list has had a more tumultuous career with the SF 49ers than running back Jerick McKinnon.
McKinnon is entering his third season under contract with the Niners, but his first with any regular-season playing time, as he struggled with a significant knee injury that kept him off the field for his first two seasons.
Now that he has finally returned to action, he has proven himself to be a valuable, versatile tool in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. McKinnon was originally primarily in a receiving role, which makes sense as he is genuinely considered a pass-catching running back.
However, when 49ers lead back Raheem Mostert was injured, McKinnon took over the 49ers backfield and proved he can carry the team’s leading workload. However, when Mostert returned, McKinnon went back to his pass-catching role, where he didn’t particularly shine in recent weeks.
Additionally, rookie running back JaMycal Hasty played well last week and has shown he may be a cheap running back option in future years. If McKinnon wants to stay on the 49ers into 2021 he needs to prove two things: First, he needs to show that he is the best pass-catching back the 49ers have. If he can prove that, he should have a future for the Niners in that role.
Second, he needs to prove when given lead-back duties, due to injuries or other circumstances, he is fully capable of handling the role. With Mostert dealing with injury again this week, McKinnon should have ample opportunity to prove he can be the SF 49ers’ lead back when needed.
Those are the two things he needs to do as he fights for his future with San Francisco.