Jerick McKinnon is getting another chance to make an impact for the 49ers.
The running back – signed two years ago as a free agent after playing for the Vikings – has missed all of the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Over that span, he’s watched players such as Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman earn starring roles in his place.
With salary-cap limitations this offseason, it appeared McKinnon could be a candidate to be released.
Yet the 49ers and McKinnon have worked out a deal to give the veteran one more shot with the team in 2020.
After signing a contract worth as much as $30 million over four years in 2018, he was due to get about $6.5 million in 2020 and $6.9 million in 2021. The new deal, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXMNFL, is a one-year contract for $920,000, plus roster bonuses. The deal keeps McKinnon on the roster – something he wanted – while giving the team more room under the salary cap to spend on veteran free agency this week.
As Kyle Posey of Niners Nation wrote this week, McKinnon said in February he’s “willing to do whatever” to stay with the Niners.
Now, that’s a done deal.
McKinnon is a versatile back who is an excellent receiver (much as Breida, Mostert and Coleman are) and a great fit for head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
McKinnon, 27, played four full seasons in Minnesota before coming to the Bay Area. He had 51 catches out of the backfield in 2017 for 421 yards, and had 991 yards from scrimmage that season. Over 2016 and 2017 he had 403 offensive touches.