February 22, 2024
Jake Moody may be improving but the 49ers are bringing in kicker Matthew Wright, all while contract talks ensue on Nick Bosa and health reports perhaps dim on George Kittle.

SANTA CLARA – A Robbie Gould encore is not the 49ers’ solution to their kicking injuries.

Kicker Matthew Wright is the 49ers’ contingency plan if rookie Jake Moody is unable to open the season because of a quadriceps injury, ESPN first reported Thursday.

Wright’s signing is not yet official but is the expectation, according to a team source. He will be added to the practice squad as Moody’s quadriceps injury is not severe enough for the 49ers to shop for a full-time replacement.

“The most promising news is he kicked again yesterday and is doing very well,” general manager John Lynch said. “We will have a backup plan. Jake is coming along well.”

Wright, 27, has made 40-of-46 field goals since 2020 in stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs. He played for the Carolina Panthers in the preseason before being waived Saturday.

So why did the 49ers not bring back Gould, who remains a free agent after six stellar seasons with the 49ers? If Gould or any other vested veteran is on the roster for Week 1, his salary becomes guaranteed; he made $4 million last year.

The 49ers spent a third-round pick to land Moody as the highest-drafted kicker since Roberto Aguayo (2016 second round to Tampa Bay). Lynch, in his Wednesday press conference, referred to Moody as “a rare talent at that position who’s going to be our answer there for a long, long time.”

Zane Gonzalez, Moody’s would-be backup, went on Injured Reserve on Tuesday because of a calf injury from Friday’s warmups.

CONCERN FOR KITTLE

Tight end George Kittle enters a second straight season with a groin issue, only this one sidelined him about two weeks before he played 12 snaps in Friday’s preseason finale. He is not practicing this week, and the 49ers hope he can resume Monday.

“There’s always concern when something persists, and this has kind of lingered,” Lynch said on KNBR. “George usually has about one of these things a year, and when he gets through it, he’s good. Knock on wood that’s the case.”

Kittle missed the first two games last season after straining his groin six days before the opener at Chicago.

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“The great thing about George is he attacks it. Man, we miss him when he’s not on the field, not only because of his ability, but the energy he brings, so there has been a little void here the last few days, but we’re trying to get him right. He’s another guy with a ‘de-load’ week. We want him right, we want it all-load for Pittsburgh.”

The term “de-load” was introduced to the 49ers’ public lexicon Wednesday when Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan described their plan to cut Brock Purdy’s weekly pitch count in half, to freshen up his surgically repaired elbow for the regular season.

LATEST ON BOSA

On Day 38 of Nick Bosa’s contract holdout, Lynch said: “The communication is ongoing, it’s good, it’s healthy. We’re working to get something done.”

Lynch, sticking to both sides’ vow to keep negotiations “in-house,” expects Bosa ready to play once he rejoins the 49ers after training on his own in Florida, with the general manager adding: “Nick is real smart. He’ll be ready. We look forward to that day he’ll be back.”

Lynch declined to say whether a Bosa deal on Sept. 9 would allow him to play in the season opener the following day in Pittsburgh.

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