Jerick McKinnon wanted a chance to be a featured running back. He'll get that shot, and he'll be paid like one.
After years of playing behind Adrian Peterson, McKinnon took on a larger role in Minnesota after Dalvin Cook went down with a torn ACL. A true dual-threat, McKinnon earned 158 carries for 618 yards and four rushing touchdowns, with 57 catches for 472 yards and two receiving scores from Week 5 onward last season.
As San Francisco's backfield is currently comprised, McKinnon enters as the top option -- at least until the draft. He was never afforded that opportunity in Minnesota. When he was finally in line to replace Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' brass responded by importing Latavius Murray and taking Cook high in the draft.
Given the contract figure, it's clear the Niners believe McKinnon will thrive in Kyle Shanahan's offense and should finally get that starting gig.
Shanahan's history of coaxing production from running backs bodes well for a do-it-all threat like McKinnon. Shanny has helped running backs like Steve Slaton and Alfred Morris burst onto the NFL scene. Atlanta Falcons shifty running back Tevin Coleman, who flourished in his second season under Shanahan, could be the closest example with McKinnon's skill set.
With the market for running backs heating up, McKinnon enters the new league year a huge winner and a much richer man.