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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports


Jets pushed hard in failed attempt to keep Jerick McKinnon from 49ers

Mar 19, 2018 at 9:24 AM--


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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan coveted running back Jerick McKinnon in free agency, and so did the New York Jets. General manager John Lynch and company had to make McKinnon the fourth-highest paid running back in football to ensure the 49ers land him.

McKinnon signed a four-year deal worth up to $30 million to become the featured back in Shanahan's offense. A report from the New York Daily News details how badly the Jets wanted him on their roster.

"The Jets engaged in a full-court press to sign the underrated player, according to sources, before the 49ers landed him," wrote Manish Mehta. "McKinnon, 25, drew significant interest, but it ultimately came down to 49ers and Jets.

"The Jets believed that they had made strong enough offers to land McKinnon, but there was a sense from both sides that Kyle Shanahan simply wouldn't be denied, according to sources."

Mehta goes on to write that the Jets made a substantial offer to McKinnon and felt it would be difficult for other teams to compete – until they did. The 49ers included $12 million in first-year guarantees to sweeten the deal.

It wasn't just McKinnon's ability to rush the football that caught Shanahan's eye. His ability to act as another receiving threat is viewed as a tremendous asset.

"When it comes to separating and beating linebackers and safeties in man-to-man coverage, I definitely think he's an issue for teams," Shanahan told reporters last Thursday. "I think this league, when it comes to third downs and things like that, you move the chains based off of matchups, which allows you to get points in the long run. I think Jerick is very versatile and we can do a lot of things with him."

After losing out on the dynamic McKinnon, the Jets signed running back Isaiah Crowell, who was speculated to receive interest from San Francisco.

Mehta states that the Jets were also interested in center Weston Richburg, who also signed with the 49ers.

"The Jets also had a level of interest in new 49ers center Weston Richburg, who signed a five-year, $47.5 million deal, but knew that he'd likely be out of their price range," wrote Mehta.

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