So much of what made the 49ers’ offense tick last season was the conversion of Deebo Samuel to running back. The upside was massive, but it also left Samuel open to injury, and that reality will only increase if he continues to be used like that going forward.
With general manager John Lynch saying he believes the 49ers will reach an agreement with Samuel’s representatives on an extension this offseason, there will eventually be an increased need to be more careful with him.
Part of the reason he was used in that role so much more was the fact that Kyle Shanahan only really trusted Samuel and rookie Elijah Mitchell to run the ball, and Mitchell was dealing with a bevy of injuries last year.
The workload that both Mitchell and Samuel shouldered in the backfield last season is untenable, so the question now is, how do the 49ers ease that?
One fairly straightforward route would be retaining Raheem Mostert, who missed all of the season with a knee injury he suffered at the start of the season opener.
When healthy, Mostert is elite. But he’s not been healthy all that consistently.
Given the uncertainty, The Athletic’s Matt Barrows joined KNBR and assessed Mostert’s chances of returning to the 49ers.
I think they’re good. I mean if there’s any lesson that we’ve learned from the 49ers since Shanahan got here in 2017 is that you can’t have too many running backs. It’s gonna depend on his market and I just don’t think that his market is going to be all that robust just given his his injury history.
Now, one reason it could [be] is because there’s so many teams now — Miami Dolphins being added to the list — that run this offense. I mean, he’s run roughshod on the Green Bay Packers. You don’t think that they would love him in that offense?
But I think it’s going to be a one-year, sort of prove-it deal no matter who signs him. And the 49ers have as good a shot as any of those teams. But I think that they could really use him I think he would be great in a role where he’s not getting 25 snaps a game and it would also keep the other guys from from getting 25 snaps a game.
Elijah Mitchell cannot do 17 games with that amount of workload. You don’t want Deebo Samuel getting 15 to 20 snaps at running back which is what he was getting at the end of the season. So it would help everybody if another really quality back was part of that mix. So why not Mostert?
Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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