Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.
During free agency the San Francisco 49ers added running back Tim Hightower to the team. Over the course the six seasons he has played, he was on rosters in Arizona, Washington and New Orleans. He played in 77 games in which 45 he was named a starter. He has had 752 rushing attempts for 2977 yards and 32 touchdowns giving him an average of 3.96 yards per attempt.
Hightower was also an effective receiver with 162 receptions of 226 targets for 1208 yards giving him a receiving percentage over 71%. He has recorded two passing touchdowns. All of these stats were spread over 9 years but only six seasons in the NFL because the running back had a nearly four year hiatus between his time in Washington and New Orleans.
Experience: 6 accrued seasons
Hightower has a base salary of $825,000 with $150,000 guaranteed. He received a $150,000 signing bonus and $32,000 in a workout bonus. He has $150,000 in a roster bonus, with $100,000 potentially based on being on the 53-man roster to start the season. If Hightower is cut there is $300,000 of dead money and a cap savings of $807,000.
Why he might improve
Most offensive players have the potential to thrive in Kyle Shanahan’s system and Hightower is one of those candidates. During OTAs he played a lot of snaps as the second running back, behind Carlos Hyde. It seemed that he worked evenly between both running and passing plays and rarely dropped passes headed his direction. Because he has experience in the league, including history with Shanahan a his offensive coordinator in Washington, he has could become a very productive member of the team.
Why he might regress
There is a lot of talent in the running backs room including the much hyped rookie and Shanahan draft crush Joe Williams. Hightower will be competing with veterans Hyde, Raheem Mostert, Kapri Bibbs,
newly acquired Josh Robinson (correction: not acquired) and rookie Matt Breida who created a bit of a buzz during OTAs. If Hightower doesn’t keep getting reps and/or someone starts to break out during training camp he could start to lose reps. There’s also the factor of Hyde’s health, which if it stays in tact, could limit Hightower reps as well.
Odds of making the roster
Hightower’s previous experience with Shanahan helps his case to be on the roster, which I believe should be a lock barring something out of the ordinary happening.
Shanahan included Hightower when talking about the veteran free agents they brought in and what characteristics they possessed:
You want to bring in guys first who can help you. So, every one of those guys, just from a talent standpoint and what they can do, we felt can help us. But, you also want to bring in high-character guys. Guys who do it the right way. You’re trying to build a culture here. You’re trying to put your stamp on things and really show the standard of what you want. I’ll always talk about, coaches can talk until they’re blue in the face about what they want and what they want their standard to be, but it’s all just coach talk and it’s not really real until the players do that. When the players hold each other accountable, when the players have a certain standard that they go to whenever a guy is slacking that the players get on that guy before the coach does, that’s when you have something special. So, we’re trying to bring in guys who do fit that standard because if you don’t, it’s probably not going to be the place for you.