Goodbye, Carlos Hyde. Hello, Jerrick McKinnon.
After four seasons with San Francisco, the former Ohio State running back Hyde is leaving to sign a free-agent deal with the Cleveland Browns. ESPN.com reports Hyde will receive a three-year deal worth as much as $15 million.
Hyde, the 49ers' No. 1 back since the departure of Frank Gore after the 2014 season, rushed for 938 and 988 yards over the past two seasons. In 2017, he also flourished as a receiver in Kyle Shanahan’s new offense, catching 59 passes for 350 yards.
But the 49ers acted quickly Wednesday to secure his replacement, agreeing to a four-year deal with former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerrick McKinnon on a four-year contract that could be worth up to $30 million.
McKinnon, 25, is a small but powerful ballcarrier at 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds who originally was a third-round choice out of Georgia Southern in 2014. He’s been productive as part of a rotating group of running backs on the Vikings the past two seasons, in particular.
In 2017, McKinnon carried 150 times for 570 yards and had 51 catches for 421 yards. In 2016, he had 159 carries for 539 yards with 41 catches for 255 yards.
It's not yet known if the 49ers intend to use McKinnon in a featured back role, or as part of a group. Shanahan's history as a head coach points to McKinnon being a strong role player in combination with holdovers Matt Breida and Joe Williams, or another player acquired in free agency or the draft next month.
As offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, Shanahan used a pair of small, quick running backs (who also are fine receivers) in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to great effect.