The San Francisco 49ers recently saw free-agent running back Raheem Mostert head to Miami, and now they’re seeing another former RB return to the NFC.
The 49ers have had no shortage of quality running backs over the past decade, from Frank Gore to current fullback Kyle Juszczyk and second-year running back Elijah Mitchell. While they’ve had plenty of solid running backs, that’s also meant there’s been plenty of turnover at the position.
That included Matt Breida, who spent three seasons in Santa Clara, California before being traded to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round pick. After a season in Miami and then spending 2021 with the Buffalo Bills, Breida is heading to New York.
ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler reported the signing on the morning of March 21.
“Veteran running back Matt Breida has signed with the New York Giants, per source,” Fowler Tweeted. “New York gets a speedster in the backfield after Breida comes from Buffalo.”
NFL media insider Mike Garafolo then reported that Breida is joining the Giants on a one-year deal.
Breida will be joining his former coaches Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen to East Rutherford, New Jersey, who took over as the head coach and general manager of the Giants this offseason.
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Breida’s Time with 49ers and Seasons Since
Breida arrived in San Francisco after a successful career at Georgia Southern, but still didn’t draw enough attention to be drafted. The 49ers were able to pick him up as an UFDA, which paid off huge dividends fairly quickly.
As a rookie backup in 2017, Breida ran for 465 yards and two touchdowns. Pro Reference Football shows that set up a starting opportunity in 2018, which saw the now 27-year-old go for 1000 total yards, with 814 passing yards and and 261 receiving yards.
He added another 623 rushing yards in 2019 before his departure, but hasn’t had quite the same impact at his new teams. Between Buffalo and Miami, he only had one start and 379 yards and one touchdown.
49ers Moving Forward with Mitchell
While Mostert and Breida find new homes, the 49ers are feeling pretty great about their decision to draft Mitchell in the sixth-round of the 2021 NFL draft. Despite the Louisiana product entering San Francisco’s crowded running back room, he quickly established himself as the best ball carrier they’ve got.
Pro Football Reference states Mitchell racked up 963 rushing yards in just 11 total games in the regular season, adding another 137 receiving yards and five rushing touchdowns to cap off a tremendous rookie season that also saw the 23-year-old deal with multiple injury issues.
In the 49ers’ three playoff games, Mitchell totaled 169 rushing yards and added another 57 receiving yards. Not quite as explosive as his regular season totals, but recovering from injuries plus facing the best competition in the NFC are the other factors to consider.
Now, the 49ers have a running back they can look to rely on for a very cheap price. Spotrac says that Mitchell is only going to make $3,663,568 on his current four-year rookie deal. San Francisco could offer an extension before the end of his fourth year, but either way, general manager John Lynch and the 49ers are sitting in a great spot when it comes Mitchell’s value.