49ers defensive back D.J. Reed breaks down the positions he’s playing
Two 49ers who are expected to have prominent roles next season will miss the offseason program, general manager John Lynch announced Thursday.
Center Weston Richburg had surgery following his first season with San Francisco to repair damage to his knee and quadriceps, Lynch said at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., according to the team’s website. Second-year defensive back D.J. Reed is expected to have surgery Friday to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.
“That was a bummer because D.J. really needs the reps, but you have to take care of it, so better now than later,” Lynch said on the website.
The plan, according to the report, is to have both players medically cleared for the start of training camp in late July. Richburg’s absence leaves Erik Magnuson and Najee Toran as the early candidates to receive practice reps with the starters. Mike Person, the starting right guard this season and Richburg’s backup at center, is a free agent the 49ers are considering bringing back.
Richburg was one of San Francisco’s splashy signings in free agency last March. He signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract, the third-largest for a center in the NFL. Richburg suffered his injury in the first quarter in Week 4 against the Chargers.
He played through the injury, starting 15 games, but wasn’t as productive as the 49ers hoped. Richburg finished as Pro Football Focus’ 45th of 50 graded centers and struggled to hold up against defensive tackles in pass protection. He allowed 23 hurries, third-most among centers, according to PFF.
But Richburg’s starting status is unlikely to be questioned heading into next season. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he believed Richburg could be one of the best centers in the NFL when he was signed.
Reed started two games late in the season for injured slot corner K’Waun Williams and seemed poised to compete for Williams’ starting job next season. An added bonus for Reed, a fifth-round draft pick in 2018, is he can play free safety, where he could have also fought for a starting job.
Reed performed well, particularly in the slot, as his first NFL season wore on. But he’ll miss valuable reps in the spring while he recovers.