Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
The 49ers currently have 10 running backs on the roster. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but they do have a few and not all of them will get the starting gig come September.So here are my thoughts for what is going to happen. Jerick McKinnon will be the starter for the entire season if he remains healthy. Just for the record this is how I see things going if everyone remains healthy. The 49ers can move on from McKinnon now with six million in dead-cap money, but they went all in last season with him being their starter and in my opinion there isn’t anyone else on the roster that could change my mind.
Next on the pecking order would be Kyle Shanahan’s version of Tevin Coleman and it’s, spoiler alert, Tevin Coleman. The 49ers signed Coleman in the offseason to a two year deal that is basically a one year deal because the 49ers can cut him after the season with no dead cap.
Next in line would be Matt Breida. Breida recently suffered from a torn pec and will miss the rest of the offseason programs until training camp starts in July.Breida has suffered from a few injuries since entering the league in 2017, he is cheap as hell, but will be a restrictive free agent after this season. I will not be surprised if the 49ers move on from Breida after this season, unless something else happens to one of the two running backs previously mentioned.
Breida will see the field but I do not expect see a lot from him, maybe a few carries but most of the workload will be between McKinnon and Coleman. I looked to the 2016 Falcons to see what I believe Shanahan will do with his two healthy backs for the entire season. Just for the record I am not saying the 49ers will repeat what the Falcons did, but I looked at how the workload was distributed. In 2016 Devonta Freeman out touched Coleman almost 2-1. This is also what I see for the 49ers’ offense this season, McKinnon will out touch Coleman close to 2-1.
The 49ers managed to get Coleman cheap this offseason because the market just was not there. Coleman had his chance to prove himself last season with the Freeman injury and he just couldn’t do it. He’s a great supplement but he’s just not a starter. Now I know the argument could be made for McKinnon because he hasn’t been given the opportunity to be the starter. But the team signed McKinnon to be their starter and I’m going to follow the money and money says McKinnon is the starter and I believe he will be given every opportunity to be the starter.
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