49ers Agree To Deals With McKinnon, Richburg


But now they appear to have their running back as well.

If the value of McKinnon's contract with the 49ers is indeed true, his average salary will be the fourth-highest among National Football League running backs in 2018. This hefty sum also indicates the 49ers view him as a lead back. McKinnon will be the teams new lead back, with Carlos Hyde out of the picture. With Dalvin Cook on injured reserve, McKinnon split the backfield duties with Latavius Murray.

His role as a pass-catching running back helped usher in a new era for Minnesota's run game that went from last in 2016 to No. 7 last season. It would be prudent to wait for the final numbers to be reported, as incentives will likely play a part in McKinnon's contract. 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.

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The 49ers did not waste much time finding their next running back. He's just barely topped 200 touches in each of the last two seasons and has a career-high of 159 carries.

The signing also means San Francisco should be moving on from Carlos Hyde, the starter for the last three seasons when healthy. 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 leaving Minnesota this offseason, McKinnon is heading west to San Francisco where he could break through to the next level of his career. He certainly has upside as a receiver, but McKinnon is best viewed as a mid-range RB2.