49ers news: Rams sign former Niners cornerback, more Kirk Cousins speculation

Niner Noise has a bit of news for your Friday roundup ahead of a holiday weekend.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23)
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23) / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

A former 49ers Round 3 NFL Draft pick is joining the Rams. And there's always room to debunk Kirk Cousins chatter, right?

It's looking as if former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is making his way around the NFC West.

After having come up with the Niners, one of their Round 3 picks from the 2017 NFL Draft, the Sacramento, California, native departed via free agency following the 2020 season and briefly spent time with the Seattle Seahawks before being moved to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Witherspoon had a modestly successful time there for two years, but he ultimately is choosing to come home to the West Coast.

Just not with San Francisco.

LA Rams to sign former 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspon

The 28-year-old Witherspoon went unsigned over the first few waves of free agency, and it's not uncommon for another wave to take place not long after the annual NFL Draft wraps up.

That was two months ago, though, yet Witherspoon had to wait until late June to find his next employer, the Los Angeles Rams.

According to a report from NFL insider Jordan Schultz, Witherspoon is now joining the 49ers' NFC West rivals:

A rebuilding LA team would benefit from someone like Witherspoon, who has playoff experience. He might not make up for the blockbuster departure of All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey, but Los Angeles could do worse.

And the Niners would love nothing more than to make Witherspoon's life worse, too.

Matt Barrows feels Kyle Shanahan, 49ers already have their 'Kirk Cousins' in the form of Brock Purdy

As long as Kyle Shanahan is San Francisco's head coach, and as long as quarterback Kirk Cousins is playing football, there'll be rumors and speculation about the Minnesota Vikings' current signal-caller someday joining the 49ers.

Recently, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio speculated this would be the case, suggesting the Rams and Niners would engage in a "tug of war" for the pending 2024 free agent.

That said, The Athletic's Matt Barrows rejected the idea and replaced it with the notion that Shanahan already had a Cousins-like quarterback in Brock Purdy.

Barrows wrote:

"Shanahan loves Cousins. He has championed Cousins, now 34, since he was Washington's offensive coordinator in 2012, the year Washington chose the quarterback in the fourth round. But he suspects he now has a younger, cheaper and more mobile version of Cousins in Purdy, who is 11 years younger."

While that might not stop Florio from continuing the Cousins-to-San Francisco chatter, at least it can alleviate any 49ers fans' concerns about it potentially happening.

Talanoa Hufanga makes NFL.com's All-Under-25 team

One of the reasons the Niners have enjoyed so much recent success is their ability to find late-round gems in the NFL Draft.

Perhaps the most recent star addition was in the form of safety Talanoa Hufanga, a Round 5 pickup out of USC in 2021 who turned into a first-team All-Pro his second year at the NFL level.

Now, after receiving such an accolade, Hufanga is now a member of NFL.com's All-Under-25 team heading into 2023:

"Hufanga rose from a favorite of tape watchers to a breakout star in 2022, showing the ability to create game-changing takeaways (four interceptions, two forced fumbles) in his first year as a full-time starter. The rest of the NFL took notice of his performance, as he earned a first-team All-Pro nod. He is an established star now, but I have one recommendation: Go back and watch each of his games. Hufanga plays like a heat-seeking missile. He occasionally runs himself off course, but when he connects with his target, it's a spectacular sight."

Yes, Hufanga is fun to watch regardless of whatever course he's taking

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