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Golden Nuggets: Can the 49ers count on Jalen Hurd coming back healthy?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Friday, February 13, 2021

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San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The pipedream of Deshaun Watson to the 49ers lives on after a report came out saying Watson is intrigued by the idea of playing in San Francisco. It remains far-fetched, but since Watson has a no-trade clause, these rumors aren’t dying down anytime soon.

For JJ Watt to land with the Niners, the team would have to release Dee Ford with a post-June-1 designation. From there, you’d have to get creative with Watt’s contract as you have with George Kittle and Arik Armstead. If I were paying big money for an edge rusher this free agency, I’d go with the Rams’ Leonard Floyd or the Cardinals Haason Reddick from a complementary standpoint based on who the 49ers have upfront.

If Watt wants to play for the Niners at a reasonable price, or if he’s signed, it’d be a great get for the team from an intangible/leadership point of view. Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, and Arik Armstead would have a chance to see how Watt works and what it takes to get to and remain at an elite level of play.

The Bills and Ravens make the most sense as landing spots for Watt.

Who’s Bobby Slowik and why is he rising up the 49ers’ coaching chart? A mailbag

I got my hopes up that Trent Taylor and Jerick McKinnon would return from injury and be solid contributors on offense. Am I in for the same disappointment with Jalen Hurd? — Dustin F.

Every 49ers fan ought to know by now that there’s no way to predict who comes back strong from ACL tears and who doesn’t. The silver linings to Hurd’s injury are a) It was isolated to the ACL and, unlike with Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, no other parts of the knee were involved and b) It happened in August. With straightforward ACL tears, the patient can be back in nine months. Which would mean the tail end of OTAs and minicamp seems to be a possibility for Hurd.

49ers president Al Guido on using facility as COVID-19 vaccination site: ‘It’s incumbent upon us to give back to the community’

“We started working on this frankly about two months ago,” Guido said. “And we’re happy to open up a couple of days ago. We’re doing a little over 1,000 (vaccinations) a day right now, and frankly, the great thing about our facility — not just ours but all NFL stadiums - is we’ve got 2,000,000 square feet where we can vaccinate people. ... We believe we’re going to get up to 15,000 people a day, making us the largest site in California. Truthfully, just like every state right now, we’re just waiting on supply. But it’s going well so far. We’re really proud to partner with our Santa Clara County Public Health Department to pull it off.”

NFL Free Agency: Underrated Players The San Francisco 49ers Should Target

Why not go after a high-upside former first-round pick in Neal as a cheaper alternative? After earning a Pro Bowl trip with Atlanta back in 2017, the Florida product played in a combined four games the next two seasons.

He did appear in 15 games in 2020, but wasn’t the same player we saw pre-injury. Adding Neal to the mix wouldn’t prevent San Francisco from going safety at some point in the draft, but it wouldn’t force the team’s hands early on. Neal is likely looking at no more than $5 million annually.

49ers can’t risk missing out on Deshaun as they did Stafford

Before the 49ers could blink, their best chance at clearly upgrading at quarterback was packing his bags for Los Angeles and now will face the 49ers twice a year for the foreseeable future. The 49ers were outflanked by their rivals in the Stafford trade talks as the Rams did what the 49ers, to this point, have been unwilling to do by going all-in to maximize their title window.

The 49ers can’t let that happen again, especially with Deshaun Watson holding firm in his desire to be traded this offseason. On Thursday, Go Long’s Ty Dunne reported that Watson had the 49ers and Miami Dolphins atop his wishlist, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that the 49ers and Denver Broncos are among the teams that “intrigue” the star QB.

49ers Keep or Release: Safety

Jaquiski Tartt

Tartt is one of the best safeties in the NFL when healthy. Unfortunately for the 49ers, the six-year veteran has missed 24 games over the last four seasons and has never played a full 16 game schedule.

Tartt played a career-low 373 snaps in 2020. The highlight of his season would come in the season opener against Arizona when he would intercept a Kyler Murray pass, the first turnover by Murray in his young career against the 49ers.

Tartt would finish 2020 with 30 tackles, the one interception, and four passes defensed

Keep or Release: Release

An unrestricted free agent, it isn’t expected that Tartt will be back with the 49ers in 2021.