Polarizing, oft-injured former 49ers running back is available in free agency

A former running back for the 49ers, who dealt with injuries while in the red and gold, is set to be a free agent.

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams / Joe Scarnici/GettyImages

The San Francisco 49ers seem fairly set at the running back position going into next season, but former Niners running back Jerick McKinnon is available in free agency.

McKinnon played very little with San Francisco due to several injuries he sustained with the team. Because of this, and the fact that he just won a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, he is polarizing among some Niner fans.

Former 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon is available in free agency

The 49ers signed McKinnon prior to the 2018 season after he had several solid years for the Minnesota Vikings as a rusher and a pass catcher.

He signed a four-year, $30 million deal, but it turned out to be one of the worst free-agent signings of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch era in San Francisco.

Before the 2018 season, McKinnon tore his ACL, which meant he was out for all of that season. Then, when he attempted to return in 2019, he had a setback with his knee and missed all of that season as well.

Ironically, McKinnon was able to play the most in 2020, the season when it seemed like basically every other 49er was injured. That season, he had 319 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in addition to 253 receiving yards.

After the 2020 season, when asked about whether he would return to the 49ers next season, he had a two-word response that involved an expletive.

The feeling was probably mutual from Niner fans.

He went on to Kansas City where he now has two Super Bowl rings despite not contributing to the team all that much.

It is unclear what McKinnon's market will look like. At 31 years old, and with plenty of better running back options still available in free agency, it seems like it could be a while before he gets signed.

One thing is for sure: A reunion with the 49ers can be safely ruled out.

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