Who would have guessed the New York Jets would have the best offseason of any team in the NFL?
It once looked like Jerick McKinnon was going to have to fill shoes Adrian Peterson left in Minnesota a few years ago. Rather than let the pressure get to him, McKinnon stepped into the role and became a solid contributor in a dual-back system alongside any number of runners.
Now he gets his chance to shine. After leaving Minnesota this offseason, McKinnon is heading west to San Francisco where he could break through to the next level of his career.
In Minnesota, McKinnon was good but not great. That likely had more to do with the offensive system he was trying to fit in. Norv Turner and then Pat Shurmur used McKinnon in their run game but it wasn’t a stout attack.
He heads to San Francisco to not only play behind the best quarterback he’s had in his career but also with the best offensive mind he’s played for. Kyle Shanahan helped turn two running backs in Atlanta into multi-million dollar stars, and that bodes well for McKinnon.
McKinnon lands a 4-year, $30 million deal from the 49ers. It’s a ton of money for a guy who has never been considered a top-tier runner, but Shanahan could end up buying low if all comes to fruition with his new back.
This is a fantastic fit for the 49ers, who seem to be moving on from Carlos Hyde. That allows McKinnon room to flourish into the team’s No. 1 back, and he has the talent to make the most of that opportunity. They don’t call him ‘Jet’ McKinnon for no reason, as his speed will be on display in what might be one of the NFL’s fastest offenses next season.