Former National Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne announced Monday evening that he will sign a contract with the San Francisco 49ers. He spoke with the media upon making the announcement, and you can watch the press conference HERE.
Hayne told the press his deal with the 49ers included $100,000 guaranteed. He is not guaranteed a roster spot, but that is a pretty huge guarantee for a guy who as he described it is effectively an undrafted rookie free agent. He agreed to terms with the 49ers on Friday (Thursday Bay Area time, I believe), and would speak with Trent Baalke, Jim Tomsula, and his agent Jack Bechta about the next step for getting him over to the United States.
Speaking of Tomsula, it is no surprise that the former NFL Europe coach influenced Hayne's decision. According to Hayne, at one point he was not going to visit the 49ers. He had visits planned with the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, along with interest from a variety of teams. However, Jim Tomsula proved to be influential because of his NFL Europe experience.
Hayne is making a transition that not many people make. Tomsula has extensive experience working with players that have little or no American football experience. It does not guarantee Hayne or Lawrence Okoye will ever pan out, but it does give the 49ers a leg up when it comes to bringing in guys like that. Hayne's Pro Day involved punt return and running back drills. He has plenty of work to do, but as one more member of the 90 man roster, he just provides a little bit more competition.