Matt Breida has proven to be a capable running back, but he's on a team that insists on splitting the workload among its rushers, and last season wound up being unkind. Despite averaging 5.0 yards per tote in his first nine games (eight with 10 or more touches), Breida was essentially forgotten following an ankle sprain that sidelined him for three games (17 total touches in his final four games). Now there's talk he could miss the final roster in camp this summer. Even if he makes it, leaping over Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for meaningful snaps isn't promised. Breida is no better than a late-round flier in deeper non-PPR leagues. Don't be shocked to see him go undrafted.
Breida was traded to the Dolphins on Saturday for a fifth-round pick, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Raheem Mostert's improbable playoff run gave the 49ers yet another running back to their burgeoning glut, so it makes sense to see Breida move for a relatively healthy compensation. The third-year tailback has yet to register a season with more than 180 touches, but he could soon find plenty of work in the Dolphins' backfield. A two-year, $10 million offseason deal with Jordan Howard figures to block Breida's immediate path to the starting lineup, but the former 49er is unquestionably the more explosive of the two backfield options and likely will get plenty of chances to unseat the Indiana product's grapple hold on the two-down carries.
Breida signed his restricted free agent tender Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. For his career, Breida has averaged 5.0 yards per carry and reeled in 75.3 percent of his 89 targets. While production isn't a question mark, opportunity is a problem, given he's in a backfield with Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and even Jeff Wilson. Breida's name has been mentioned in the trade front so far this offseason, but for the time being he remains an employee of the 49ers.
Breida is a candidate to be traded this offseason, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Breida has produced 4.4, 5.3 and 5.1 yards per carry in three years with the 49ers, but he fell behind Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman in the backfield pecking order during last season's NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl. The Niners then used a second-round restricted free agent tender to retain Breida, keeping him under contract for $3.26 million in 2020. It's a reasonable salary for a player with his track record of production, but it's a lot to pay for a No. 3 running back, especially if the Niners truly expect Jerick McKinnon (knee) to return from back-to-back missed seasons and battle for a role. Even Jeff Wilson at the bottom of the depth chart has noteworthy NFL experience, so the Niners likely will listen closely if another team is interested in trading for Breida. Another option would involve trading Coleman, who is entering the second season of a two-year, $8.5 million contract.
The 49ers are tendering Breida at the second-round level, Dianna Russini of ESPN reports. This means the team will receive a second-round pick if it declines to match an offer sheet for the restricted free agent. Breida has made a strong impression through three NFL seasons, but not strong enough for any team to give up a second-round pick for the right to sign him to a large contract. Barring a trade, he'll be back with the 49ers in 2020 as part of a backfield that also has Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson under contract.
Breida finished the 2019 season with 123 carries for 623 yards and a touchdown, also contributing 19 receptions for 120 yards and another score in 13 games. Breida did most of his damage through the first nine games of the season as a co-starter (542 rushing yards and 110 receiving yards) before going down to injury against Seattle in Week 10. The 49ers' backfield landscape had shifted upon his return in Week 14, as Raheem Mostert had emerged as the team's top option with Tevin Coleman serving as the "1B" option. Breida suffered a case of fumbleitis down the stretch, coughing the ball up three times despite touching the ball just 23 times over five games following his injury layoff. The 24-year-old's talent as a rusher is unquestioned (5.1 yards per carry this year), but the combination of his ball security issues and the breakout performance of Mostert kept the speedy back as a healthy scratch during the team's unsuccessful Super Bowl run. All three of San Francisco's contributing backs in 2019 are under contract for 2020, so Breida figures to begin next season third on the depth chart barring any unforeseen changes this upcoming offseason.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||@New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|5||10/11||@San Francisco 49ers||3||12.16|
|7||10/25||Los Angeles Chargers||22||18.88|
|8||11/01||Los Angeles Rams||19||18.00|
|10||11/15||New York Jets||9||14.50|
|12||11/29||@New York Jets||9||14.50|
|14||12/13||Kansas City Chiefs||23||20.37|
|15||12/20||New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|16||12/27||@Las Vegas Raiders||15||17.38|
|3 Year Avg||127||634||2||22||187||1||97|