San Francisco 49ers

49ers sign running back Reggie Bush in busy day of deals

A 2014 photo of Reggie Bush of the Detroit Lions, who has signed with the 49ers.
A 2014 photo of Reggie Bush of the Detroit Lions, who has signed with the 49ers. AP

The 49ers and running back Reggie Bush have agreed to terms on a contract, a league source confirmed Saturday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bush, who visited the 49ers on Wednesday, had a meeting with the Patriots on Friday, but the former USC star has decided to return to California and to join a backfield that includes Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter. Hyde, a second-round pick in 2014, likely will get most of the carries in 2015 with others playing complementary roles.

Bush, 30, has been a prolific receiver out of the backfield – he has 3,489 career receiving yards – and the 49ers plan to use the screen game more than they have in recent years. According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers attempted five screens to running backs last season. That number should rise sharply with the addition of Bush.

General manager Trent Baalke said in 2011 he’d like to see a tailback-by-committee approach by the 49ers. But with Frank Gore in the backfield, that was difficult. Gore was an excellent pass blocker on third downs and rarely wanted to leave the game.

The Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday signed Gore to a three-year deal. Later in the day Baalke said every-down runners like Gore are hard to find.

“It’s tough,” he said. “You look at today’s game compared to 20 years ago; it’s a different approach, because there are a lot more personnel groupings that offenses are using to attack. It’s hard to find that one guy that can (play) all three (downs).”

Bush, a 10-year veteran, ran for only 297 yards and two touchdowns last year in an injury-shortened season for the Detroit Lions. The previous year, however, he gained more than 1,000 yards rushing and had another 505 yards – and three touchdowns – as a receiver out of the backfield.

Bush was a high-school teammate of former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. He also has visited with newly signed running back Jarryd Hayne in Australia. The former Rugby League player will try to earn a roster spot this offseason, perhaps as a punt and kick returner.

Bush also has experience in that area, although he hasn’t handled a punt since 2011.

Changes at cornerback – Cornerback Perrish Cox has agreed to a three-year contract with the Tennessee Titans, the NFL Network reported, just days after fellow starter Chris Culliver signed a multi-year deal with Washington.

It’s the second consecutive year both 49ers starters at cornerback have departed at the same time. Last year, Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown both signed with the Raiders.

The 49ers made two moves Saturday to fill one of the spots, signing Shareece Wright to a one-year deal and re-signing Chris Cook, who played six games for the 49ers last season.

Wright, 5-foot-11 and 182 pounds, was drafted in the third round in 2011 by the San Diego Chargers. He played in 44 games (27 starts) for the Chargers, with 129 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.

Over the past two seasons, Wright started all 27 games in which he appeared and registered 115 tackles, one interception and 23 passes defensed. In 2014, he recorded a career-high 58 tackles and 10 passes defensed.

49ers reach deal with Pears – The 49ers also have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with free-agent guard Erik Pears, according to Pears’ agent, Jeff Sperbeck.

Pears, 32, gives the 49ers a veteran offensive lineman expected to compete with two younger players, Brandon Thomas and Marcus Martin, for the left-guard spot that opened when Mike Iupati signed with the Cardinals this week.

Johnson visits Chargers – Receiver Stevie Johnson, who was happy to return to California last year when the 49ers acquired him, visited another Golden State team, the Chargers, on Friday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The 49ers released Johnson on Wednesday after he and the team were unable to agree on a restructured contract. Johnson was in line to make more than $6 million this season.

The 49ers, who gave Buffalo a fourth-round pick for Johnson last year, could still re-sign Johnson.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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