Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

49ers Agree to Terms with RB Jerick McKinnon and G/C Weston Richburg

49ers Agree to Terms with RB Jerick McKinnon and G/C Weston Richburg

The San Francisco 49ers started free agency Wednesday by getting some needed help for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, agreeing to a four-year contract with versatile running back Jerick McKinnon and a five-year deal with interior offensive lineman Weston Richburg just after the start of the new league year.

Adam Schefter reported that McKinnon's four-year deal will be worth an average of $7.5 million per year, calling it "one of the most surprising deals of free agency". Jerick has proven to be an extremely versatile football player whose speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability make him a very hard matchup for defenses. So that gives McKinnon, whose career-best single-season output is 570 yards, the fourth-highest average salary of all National Football League running backs, per Spotrac. The 49ers reportedly got involved in a bidding war to acquire McKinnon, according to Bay Area News Group.

McKinnon replaces Carlos Hyde, who is leaving as a free agent for Cleveland. Splitting carries with Asiata, McKinnon rushed for 539 rushing yards with two touchdowns. He also added 94 receptions for 676 yards with four touchdown catches since 2016.

With Dalvin Cook returning from a torn ACL for Minnesota in 2018, McKinnon knew that his touches would likely go down if he were to re-sign with the Vikings this year.

Soon-to-be free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon took questions as the Vikings cleaned out their lockers on the following day and talked about some of his goals for the near future. This hefty sum also indicates the 49ers view him as a lead back. The offensive system run by San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan is one that gives running backs a good amount of opportunities to make plays in the open field.

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