Three years ago, the San Francisco 49ers signed running back Jerick McKinnon away from the Minnesota Vikings for a hefty $30 million total over four years. The price tag was shocking, but as the Niners were hoping to reinvent their offense with a series of moves, it was clear that a part of that vision included giving the two-way ability of McKinnon a much bigger chance to shine than he’d been given to that point with the Minnesota Vikings.
Unfortunately for both the 49ers and McKinnon, none of that would ever come to pass. McKinnon tore his ACL in the ’18 preseason, and further issues with the knee as it healed only kept him out even longer. The end result was two complete missed seasons and a frustrated team ready to move on from a frustrating investment.
This past year, McKinnon finally hit the field for San Francisco as a rotational option with the likes of Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert and the results were fair. McKinnon averaged 3.9 yards/carry in a small sample size (81 total carries for 319 yards) and he caught 33 of 46 targets for another 253 receiving yards. After the season, he made a weird announcement that he would be moving on from the team after the season.
That’s not a good look. However, what is a good look is that McKinnon does have solid hands out of the backfield and he’s also an accomplished pass blocker. If he’s healthy, McKinnon is the sort of well-rounded back who would prove himself dependable to Andy Reid and his staff. Are there long-term health concerns? It’s likely he’s now knocked off whatever rust he had from sitting out so long. A one-year minimum deal could be money well spent.