49ers Agree To Deals With McKinnon, Richburg

Oct 8 2017 Detroit MI USA Detroit Lions tight end Darren Fells runs after a catch for a touchdown against Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Green Thompson during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit Raj Mehta-USA TODA

McKinnon at the 2014 combine ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash and ranked in the 95th percentile or better among running backs in the vertical jump, broad jump and bench press.

Adam Schefter reported that McKinnon's four-year deal will be worth an average of $7.5 million per year, calling it "one of the most surprising deals of free agency". This hefty sum also indicates the 49ers view him as a lead back. He did this despite sharing the backfield with Latavius Murray. He saw his workload increase in 2017 after rookie running back Dalvin Cook went down at the beginning of the season. Of McKinnon's 474 carries, just 53 came in the red zone and only 10 were inside the 5-yard line. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, only $14.3 million of the contract is guaranteed, with around $11.7 million to be paid out in 2018, and $15.4 million over the next two seasons.

So the question is how Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers will view McKinnon this upcoming season.

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McKinnon was also loosely linked as a possibility for the Giants to sign, mostly because of his connection of playing in Pat Shurmur's offense with the Vikings the last two seasons. Of course, the 49ers could still address the position in next month's draft, but McKinnon's contract suggests he's clearly in the driver's seat for lead-back duties.

After missing out on the top dual-threat running back free agency had to offer, the San Francisco 49ers were successful in signing the next-best free agent on the market. From Week 5 on, McKinnon averaged 3.9 yards per rush, gaining 544 yards on 140 carries while catching 43 passes for 381 yards. He certainly has upside as a receiver, but McKinnon is best viewed as a mid-range RB2.

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