Ex-49ers Assistant Mike McDaniel Could Land High-Profile Free Agent: Report

Mike McDaniel

Getty Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel in Santa Clara on December 4, 2022.

The San Francisco 49ers don’t come off as a destination for four-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook. Especially with Christian McCaffrey gearing up for his first full regular season as a 49er.

However, Cook just may have fired off the signal that he’s heading to a 49ers-like attack spearheaded by a popular former 49ers assistant.

The now former Minnesota Vikings running back, who was released on Thursday, June 8 in a salary cap move, posted this photo on his Instagram page of him standing inside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami…best known as the home of the Miami Dolphins.

That could mean a new dynamic option for Ex-49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, whose first rushing attack with the Dolphins last season struggled with producing a 1,000-yard rusher even with fellow former 49er Raheem Mostert producing a career-best 891 rushing yards as the featured back.

Even before Cook shared that photo, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter listed the Dolphins as one of two strong suitors for the perennial Pro Bowl running back.

“The Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos are two of the teams that are expected to have an interest in signing running back Dalvin Cook once he officially is released, per sources. There likely will be others, but those two have been monitoring Cook for weeks,” Schefter tweeted.

Sources: McDaniel, Dolphins Would Be ‘Hell to Stop’ With Dalvin Cook

Heavy NFL senior reporter Matt Lombardo spoke with NFL sources regarding the topic of where Cook may end up on June 2. Lombardo ultimately helped draw the conclusion that Cook heading over to the 49ers-style offense being implemented by McDaniel is a prime fit for the back with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

“Miami would have a hammer to go with all of that speed,” one AFC scout told Heavy, on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about another team and in this case, the Dolphins. “With Dalvin Cook, they’d really be hell to stop on offense. It would almost be unfair to drop him in that situation.”

To reiterate, McDaniel’s ground attack struggled with getting some early footing as they ranked 25th in rushing yards. No Dolphin running back — including the past 49ers representation of Mostert and Jeff Wilson — surpassed the three-touchdown mark last season.

Still, “The Dolphins would be a terrific fit,” from what an NFC Personnel Executive told Heavy while adding, “he’s a great back.”

Cook would enter a room not only featuring past 49ers, but head to an offense that already has perennial Pro Bowler Tyreek Hill and past 100-catch wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Miami also made the aggressive trade to land past 49ers nemesis Jalen Ramsey via the Los Angeles Rams during March 2023.

Christian McCaffrey Is ‘Game Ready,’ 49ers Assistant Says

Tracing back to the Bay Area, a buzz has been building for McCaffrey being given a full season in the 49ers offense this fall.

“Run CMC” didn’t take long to impact the Niners with 1,210 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns…all in a span of 11 games following the blockbuster trade done by the Carolina Panthers.

“He is a student of the game and he works his tail off,” Lynch said last week, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Right now things are coming to him a lot faster than they did last year because he wasn’t familiar with the system. I’m just looking forward to where he can go next because he looks game-ready right now.”

McCaffrey has also began to provide an impactful influence on the other 49ers in the backfield with him.

“He leads by example and when you see one of your best players practicing and performing like that it elevates the whole team and even the coaching staff,” Lynn said.

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