The San Francisco 49ers have some notable players hitting free agency at the end of this season, and many of those players have injuries as their primary concern. I’m not sure who the 49ers will choose to extend before the season is over, but injuries have to be a large factor in those conversations.
Defensive end Tank Carradine will hit the open market in March, and it’s likely an end to his 49ers career unless he manages to perform well when returning from injured reserve. With Solomon Thomas set to get his snaps, the rookie could easily box Carradine out by the time he’s ready to play.
It’s a big problem for Carradine, who spent much of his 49ers career underperforming and searching for the right position. Now that he’s found it, he has a significant injury.
Then there’s safety Eric Reid, who has played at a very high level when healthy, but who has consistently missed games. Concussions were the primary issue previously, and now he has a PCL injury keeping him out. He should come back soon, but it’s worth noting that Jaquiski Tartt is taking his snaps, and the 49ers like Tartt a lot.
Reid could just as easily be looking at his final snaps as a 49ers player, just like Carradine.
Carlos Hyde, Tank Carradine, Eric Reid all 2018 with injuries. Jaquiski Tartt 2019\ Hyde new offensive system in each of his first four seasons
To a lesser extent, Carlos Hyde is in this conversation as well. He hasn’t been as injury-prone as others, but there have been some questioning his ability to hold up over the course of a full NFL season. Through three games, he’s playing very well, and I think he’ll be first in line for an extension if he holds up into December.
Even defensive end Aaron Lynch, who doesn’t have a significant injury himself finds himself in a position where his playing time is dependent on them. He’s likely to see an uptick in snaps with Tank Carradine heading to injured reserve, and he’ll be looking to show the 49ers — and the rest of the league — that he has what it takes to be a starter.