SF 49ers: 5 free agents who won’t be back in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 4: SF 49ers Running Back Jerick McKinnon
On one hand, running back Jerick McKinnon has done everything he can to spark the SF 49ers offense this season, which has been needed in the wake of Kyle Shanahan losing his top two runners, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, to knee injuries for much of the year.
McKinnon, of course, dealt with his own serious knee injuries in 2018 and 2019, sidelining him those two seasons after inking a notable four-year, $30 million free-agent contract.
The Niners elected to restructure McKinnon’s deal, voiding 2021 at the cost of $2 million and making him an unrestricted free agent.
Sure, McKinnon’s comeback from his 2018 ACL tear has been a nice storyline. Him also leading the Niners with six all-purpose touchdowns is a nice story, too, although the rest of his production has been nowhere close to adequate.
Especially after registering a mere 1.8 yards per rush in the Niners’ Week 10 loss to the New Orleans Saints when San Francisco so desperately needed him to carry the load.
Case in point, McKinnon still couldn’t easily assume the role of San Francisco’s leading rusher despite Mostert and Coleman being out for six and seven games this season, respectively. Before the SF 49ers’ Week 10 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Mostert still had the team lead with 303 rush yards, while McKinnon had just 261.
No, Shanahan isn’t getting the kind of burst he anticipated out of McKinnon back in 2018. And with the rookie, JaMycal Hasty, beginning to make some headway with the team, it’s far more likely the Niners go in that direction instead.
And at a much cheaper cost.