Chiefs Rumors: Former 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon Agrees to Contract with KC

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon (28) gains yards after catching a pass during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, November 29, 2020 in Inglewood, Calif. The 49ers defeated the Rams 23-20. (John Cordes/AP Images for Panini)
John Cordes/Associated Press

The Kansas City Chiefs will sign free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon, according to NFL Network's Peter Schrager.

McKinnon spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings before signing a four-year, $30 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 2018.

He missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons because of knee injuries but returned to play in all 16 games last year.

The soon-to-be-29-year-old rushed 81 times for 319 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in 2020. He also caught 33 passes for 253 yards and one score.

While it was a solid bounce-back given that he hadn't played in three years, McKinnon averaged 3.9 yards per carry and has not reached 4.0 yards per carry since averaging 5.2 in 2015.

McKinnon has appeared in 74 NFL games, starting 18. He has rushed for 2,237 yards and 12 touchdowns while making 175 receptions for 1,237 yards and six touchdowns.

The best season of his career remains 2017 when he rushed for a career-high 570 yards and three touchdowns. He also set career highs with 51 receptions for 421 yards as well as two receiving scores.

In Kansas City, McKinnon will compete with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson for playing time.

After Super Bowl LIV hero Damien Williams opted out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Edwards-Helaire became the Chiefs' No. 1 running back.

The 32nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft missed three games because of injury but rushed for 803 yards and four touchdowns, averaging a solid 4.4 yards per carry. He also caught 36 passes for 297 yards and one touchdown.

Williams appeared in all 16 games but compiled just 169 rushing yards, and Thompson chipped in 97 yards in 14 contests.

The Chiefs offense relies heavily on quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the passing game, so there may not be a ton of carries to go around, but McKinnon could carve out a role as a third-down back given his pass-catching ability.