The San Francisco 49ers signed a running back ahead of the 2018 season who they believed could carry the load for the team moving into the future, but it hasn't exactly worked out that way. The 49ers inked former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon to a four-year, $30 million deal in March of 2018, but he hasn't yet played in a game for his new team.
In early September of 2018, McKinnon tore his ACL during a team workout, which ended his season. Entering 2019, the 49ers were thought to have one of the best backfields in the NFL with McKinnon coming back and the addition of Tevin Coleman, but McKinnon suffered a setback from knee surgery in training camp, and was placed on injured reserve before the regular season had even begun.
With running mates like Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, McKinnon knows that his place on the roster is not guaranteed, and he told Nick Wagoner on ESPN on Wednesday that he's open to working something out with the team in order to stay in San Francisco.
"I'm willing to do whatever," McKinnon said. "The organization knows I want to be a part of this team, so when that time comes there will be a talk between both parties.'"
While he doesn't say it directly, McKinnon could be indicating that he's open to restructuring his contract. He's set to receive a base salary of $6.5 million in 2020, but hasn't yet played a down for the 49ers and there are definitely concerns with how his knee is feeling. Coleman and Mostert are already under contract for next season while Breida and Jeff Wilson are restricted free agents.
McKinnon was an effective backup running back with the Vikings, but really emerged as a legitimate offensive weapon in 2017. He rushed for 570 yards and three touchdowns and also caught 51 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers will have to take a hard look at their stable of backs this offseason, and try to figure out if they want McKinnon to be part of their plans.