The San Francisco 49ers leading rusher each of the last three seasons is set to depart when free agency gets going this afternoon. Carlos Hyde is set to sign a three-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, worth potentially more than $15 million, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. The deal includes $6 million in the first year.
Hyde had a solid season this past year, but did not emerge in Kyle Shanahan’s offense like some might have hoped. He took a big step forward as a pass catcher, with a career high 59 receptions for 350 yards. However, he averaged 3.9 yards per carry, a year after averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
The big thing though for Hyde was that he stayed relatively healthy the entire season, playing all 16 games for the first time as a pro. It generated interest for him after he and the 49ers decided to see what the market might dictate. Hyde is not quite the zone runner Kyle Shanahan prefers, and it seems likely the 49ers had no plans on re-signing him barring him getting no significant offers in free agency.
The 49ers will be adding at least one running back, and likely a couple. They were connected to Dion Lewis, but he is headed to Tennessee. There have been some Twitter mentions of Jerrick McKinnon, but nothing firm has developed. The 49ers currently have Matt Breida and Joe Williams in their backfield, and I would not be surprised to see the 49ers spend a day three pick on the running back position.