Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

49ers making Jerick McKinnon NFL's fourth-highest paid running back

49ers making Jerick McKinnon NFL's fourth-highest paid running back

After Dalvin Cook went down with a torn ACL in Week 4, McKinnon became part of one of the best running back tandems in the league alongside Latavius Murray.

At the start of free agency on Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers welcomed running back Jerick McKinnon. "We can't wait to get them on the field with their teammates and coaches later this spring".

Previous year as a Viking, McKinnon turned 201 touches into 991 total yards and 5 scores. He allowed just four sacks in his four seasons with the Giants and earned top-five pass blocking grades from Pro Football Focus over his past two campaigns. But the 49ers' deal for four years, $30 million was not a price tag Big Blue could afford to offer. He also had 51 receptions for 421 yards-both career highs.

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After McKinnon, who's next for the Niners?

After leaving Minnesota this offseason, McKinnon is heading west to San Francisco where he could break through to the next level of his career.

McKinnon is a far more explosive option than Hyde, who was best used as a deliberate bruising back between the tackles.

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It is unclear at this point if McKinnon, a duel-threat as a runner and pass catcher, will act as a feature back, or split time with up-and-comer Matt Breida.

These moves have addressed numerous team's most glaring needs although San Francisco still could be in the market for another cornerback, a pass rusher, help at linebacker and a big receiving target.

As the lead back in San Francisco, it's reasonable to expect and uptick from the roughly 12.5 touches per game he's averaged over the last two seasons, but we're unlikely to see him approach the 20-touch range.

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