The San Francisco 49ers are signing free agent wide receiver Marcus Johnson, the player’s agent confirmed Thursday.
Johnson, 27, caught nine passes for 160 yards in seven games (three starts) with the Tennessee Titans in 2021.
He had five catches for 100 yards in the Titans’ 23-21 victory against the New Orleans Saints in Week 10.
Johnson has 51 receptions for 839 yards and three touchdowns in 41 games (12 starts) with the Philadelphia Eagles (2017), Indianapolis Colts (2018-20) and Titans.
–Field Level Media
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is headed for shoulder surgery soon, ESPN reported Tuesday.
He will be sidelined until early July, but indications are he will still be traded this month as there is “significant interest” from multiple teams, per the report.
Garoppolo, 30, hurt his shoulder during the 49ers’ 23-17 wild-card win against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 16.
He played through that injury, as well as a thumb injury, as San Francisco advanced to the NFC title game before losing 20-17 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. His thumb does not need surgery, ESPN said.
Garoppolo completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 games during the regular season, posting a 9-6 record.
Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is the heir apparent at quarterback for the 49ers heading into the 2022 season.
–Field Level Media
The San Francisco 49ers have won six straight games against the Los Angeles Rams and seek to maintain that mastery in the postseason when they travel to Inglewood, Calif., to face the fourth-seeded Rams in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
Sixth-seeded San Francisco recorded wins of 31-10 at home and 27-24 in overtime on the road in this season’s two regular-season meetings with the Rams. The latter meeting, in Week 18, saw the 49ers overcome a 17-0 deficit to clinch a playoff spot at SoFi Stadium.
The stakes are higher now with San Francisco in its fifth NFC title game in the past 11 seasons and Los Angeles in its second in the past four.
The Rams reached the title game despite blowing a 24-point lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round. Matthew Stafford’s crucial 44-yard pass to Cooper Kupp led to Matt Gay’s decisive 30-yard game-ending field goal in a 30-27 victory.
The 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers 13-10 in the divisional round Saturday without scoring an offensive touchdown, and Robbie Gould’s game-ending 45-yard field goal elevated San Francisco.
As for the Rams’ issues with the 49ers, Kupp said it will be a non-factor on Sunday.
“The Niners have done a great job against us the past few years,” Kupp said after Wednesday’s practice. “You learn from the past and you have to be ready to move forward. We don’t live in a world where we need past motivations.”
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t see the streak giving his team an advantage.
“Every game’s different,” Garoppolo said. “So the feel of it, the flow of it, last time we played the Rams when we were down (and) it didn’t feel like we were in control of that one. So I think each one has its own flavor to it.”
Stafford is aiming to give the Rams a better showing after throwing two interceptions in each of the losses to the 49ers.
Stafford was picked off eight times over the Rams’ final four regular-season contests. He has turned that around in the postseason by not tossing any during wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Bucs.
Stafford engineered his 43rd career winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime of his 13-year career against Tampa Bay, but it was his first in the postseason. He went 0-3 in the playoffs with the Detroit Lions before being dealt to the Rams last offseason.
“It means a lot,” Stafford said of the game-winning drive that began with 42 seconds remaining. “That’s a lot of hard work for a lot of years going into a short amount of time. A lot of hard work this year, too, with some great teammates.
“That’s the thing I’ve loved, and I’ve really appreciated in being a part of this team is how many guys we have pulling the rope in the right direction, doing everything they can to be prepared for those moments.”
Kupp has put together a wide receiver season for the ages. He led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yardage (1,947) and touchdown receptions (16) and has tacked on 14 catches for 244 yards and two scores in the playoffs.
But San Francisco star defensive end Nick Bosa and his mates shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last weekend after beating the Dallas Cowboys in the opening round of the playoffs.
The 49ers also have top-level confidence after recovering from a shaky 3-5 start, while observing the manner Garoppolo handled things when there were calls for him to be replaced by rookie Trey Lance.
“Jimmy G, you can’t say enough about that guy,” San Francisco tight end George Kittle said. “The (bleep) that he takes, excuse my language, consistently, people just try to pull him down, and all he does is try to deliver. He leads this team, he has a sense of calm in the huddle, he has a sense of calm in the storm, and he allows us to play football at a high level.”
Garoppolo is still dealing with a thumb injury on his throwing (right) hand, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said his QB’s previous shoulder injury is no longer an issue. Left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) were among the players who missed practice on Wednesday.
For Los Angeles, safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) were limited practice participants. Rapp has missed both postseason games and Whitworth sat out versus the Buccaneers, but both appear in line to play Sunday.
The teams have met in the NFC title game once before when the Joe Montana-led 49ers routed the Rams 30-3 in the 1989 conference championship game at San Francisco.
–Field Level Media
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa cleared concussion protocol Friday and will play in Saturday’s NFC divisional-round road playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
Bosa was listed as questionable to play as recently as Thursday after he was injured in Sunday’s wild card-round victory over the Dallas Cowboys when his head collided with the leg of an oncoming teammate. Bosa played in just 23 of 72 snaps against the Cowboys.
Bosa’s 15.5 sacks were fourth in the NFL during the regular season, and he had 21 tackles for loss, which tied the league lead.
Bosa returned to being a full participant in practice on Thursday, along with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who added a right shoulder injury Sunday to a previous thumb injury on his right (throwing) hand. Garoppolo is expected to play against the Packers.
San Francisco also placed cornerback Darqueze Dennard on the active roster along with linebacker Mark Nzeocha. Cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) and defensive lineman Jordan Willis (ankle) remain questionable.
–Field Level Media