Handing out 49ers 2022 awards

The 49ers magical 12-game win streak came to a crunching conclusion against Philadelphia in the NFC championship game. With the season behind us it is time to hand out ten awards for the 2022 season.

1.) Most Valuable Player Award: Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa finished with a league leading 18.5 sacks. He didn’t get much help as the rest of the defense was unable to record more than five sacks.

When Bosa wasn’t sacking quarterbacks, he was busy hitting them, leading the NFL with 48 quarterback hits. The fourth-year defensive end also finished with the second most tackles for loss.

2.) Rookie of the Year Award: Brock Purdy

Purdy’s journey from final pick of the draft to rookie of the year was a story nobody saw coming.

Starting the season third on the depth chart, an injury to Trey Lance in week two elevated Purdy to the backup role. He would then take over the reins of the 49ers offense when Jimmy Garoppolo was lost for the season against Miami.

Purdy led the 49ers to victory over the Dolphins and followed it up by winning his first six starts.

The strong play continued in the playoffs as Purdy became the first 49ers quarterback since at least 1980 to not throw an interception in his first start.

From the time he took over for Garoppolo, Purdy completed 151 of 224 pass attempts for 1,877 yards, 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

3.) Turning lemons into lemonade Award: Tashaun Gipson

When Jimmie Ward went down with a hamstring injury during training camp the 49ers found themselves looking for a safety.

They found one in Tashaun Gipson. Gipson became a 49er on August 22, just weeks before the start of the regular season.

The veteran not only filled in for Ward, but he also took his job through stellar play. Gipson recorded a team high five interceptions.

In addition to his own strong play, Gipson was able to impart his wisdom on first year starter Talanoa Hufanga. The duo combined for nine interceptions, the most for a safety duo in San Francisco since 2014.

4.) Making an Impact Award: Talanoa Hufanga

This award goes to the 49ers player who made the greatest impact as a first-year starter.

Hufanga recorded four interceptions, two sacks, forced two fumbles, and finished third on the team with 97 tackles. The strong season landed the 2021 fifth round pick an AP First Team All Pro nomination along with a trip to the Pro Bowl. Both career firsts for Hufanga.

5.) Bang for your buck Award: Deommodore Lenoir

Stepping into the starting lineup after Emmanuel Moseley was lost for the season in week five against Carolina, Lenoir helped the 49ers defense not miss a beat.

Lenoir far outplayed his $896K salary cap hit. The second-year cornerback allowed a passer rating of just 71.47 as a starter on the outside. During playoff wins over Seattle and Dallas, Lenoir picked off a pair of passes to help San Francisco advance.

6.) Unsung Hero Award: Jake Brendel

Entering the 2022 season Brendel had made just three NFL starts in a career that started in 2016.

Anchoring an offensive line which featured two other first year starters, Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford, Brendel played well enough to be named as a Pro Bowl alternate.

With Brendel calling the shots, the 49ers offensive line gave up fewer sacks and quarterback hits than the prior year while also seeing an increase in productivity on the ground.

7.) Let’s Make a Deal Award: Christian McCaffrey

The addition of McCaffrey through a midseason trade with Carolina transformed the 49ers offense. With McCaffrey in the starting lineup, San Francisco saw an increase of nearly ten points per game.

McCaffrey averaged 114.8 total yards and one touchdown per game.

In addition to his own numbers, McCaffrey’s presence on the field created opportunities for his teammates to make big plays as well.

8.) Best Assistant Coach – Kris Kocurek

Kocurek has proven himself to be one to the top defensive line coaches in the NFL. Under his guidance the 49ers defensive line continued to get big plays out of each member.

Nick Bosa and Samson Ebukam each hit career high sack totals in 2022. While he didn’t record a sack during the regular season, Arik Armstead made his presence felt in several key moments after returning from injuries which derailed the early portion of his season.

9.) Biggest Disappointment Award: The broken ankle

With Trey Lance taking over at quarterback the excitement was palpable. However, the excitement lasted a total of five quarters.

Losing Lance for the season in week two meant the loss of valuable time in his development as a quarterback. As the team gets ready for Lance to enter his third season, they find themselves needing to figure out in a hurry what the next steps will be.

Lance will be the only healthy quarterback when San Francisco opens offseason workouts unless they bring in a veteran or two. These reps will prove invaluable as the team tries to assess whether or not to exercise the quarterback’s fifth year option.

10.) Play of the year: Brock Purdy vs. Seattle in the NFC Wildcard round


This article has 44 Comments

  1. Haha! Awesome awards, Jack.
    “Biggest disappointment of the year award – Broken ankle.”
    Funny, but true.

    Overall, it was a great and exciting season!

  2. Jack,
    Great awards I agree with you on all ten. I think I would have found room for an eleventh award, an award for Banks. The fans and media all but gave up on him after his rookie year. Maybe you can call it, From The Outhouse To The Penthouse award.
    I really really hope Kocurek won’t be winning that award for Tex. next year.

  3. All positive. I like it. What about Most Disappointing Performance Award? It’s got to to Javon Kinlaw. Dude was seriously terrible. The only explanation I can think is he was injured. He was getting pushed around by much smaller players. At this point I think you have to cut your losses.

    1. I think next year will tell the future for Kinlaw. He should be healthy and in good shape and needs to produce.

      1. Felix, given the multiple procedures on his knee and time off for recovery, it would appear, at least to me, that he has a chronic condition and can no longer produce at a level higher than a backup. He might remain on the roster, but it wouldn’t surprise me if in the offseason he retires or is traded for a late round pick.

        1. I doubt that Kinlaw will ever be able to play at full health. I know something about having a chronic knee issue. Javon may have times when he could play, but there will also be times when he can’t especially if tendinitis sets in.

          I think that the 49ers FO will need to have a serious discussion regarding Kinlaw’s future going forward.

        2. You could be right but I tend to believe it is just that he’s out of shape after all the rehabbing he’s done. He hasn’t been on any injury reports since coming back. It sure would be nice to get some information from him or from Kyle.

          1. Felix,
            I would like to see Kinlaw come back next season and be successful. But a persistent knee issue dating back to his college days may not permit him that luxury.

            I believe that many of us wanted to see Jalen Hurd make a full recovery after his ACL injury, but when tendinitis set in it limited his ability.
            I believe that Hurd’s injury may have opened the door for Deebo.

    2. Pat,
      The 49ers are close to cap hell already. Do you know what it would cost them in cap to cut Kinlaw?

          1. OC
            If a team cuts a player, the team must pay the full amount outstanding. The full amount remaining will get accelerated into the team’s cap in the season the player is let go.
            Kinlaw CAP HIT = $4,928,220

  4. Even if he doesn’t register a sack, you constantly see Bosa around the quarterback. The two-time Pro Bowler recorded 20 quarterback hits in the first six and a half games.

  5. Jack, your play of the year award is right on the money. We haven’t seen anything like it in 20 years.

  6. Jack,
    How bout a post on the Senior Bowl. and the Shrine game.The 49ers have 11 picks in the draft at my last count, starting with 4 late 3rd rounders. Many of the later picks come from the Senior bowl and Shrine game. I think the 9ers will sign a FA QB and draft a QB, with the success of the Purdy pick I can see them drafting another senior with plenty of starting experience. I think Jake Haener Fresno, Clayton Tune Hous, Malik Cunningham Louisville and Dorian Thompson-Robinson will all be available from the late 3rd round and on. It would be interesting to know whether any OTs, DTs, Edge rushers or DBs who look like later round picks stood out.

  7. everyone on the “cut javon Kinlaw” wave……i wanna point out a couple things…..
    1. cut the guy and your still paying him money that counts against the cap! Was the # 5 mil? to NOT PLAY FOR US!?
    2.Dline is the group with the most free agents….Omenihu, Hyder, Wilson to name a few…..cant afford to pay ANYONE 5 mil to NOT PLAY !
    3. see- Jimmy Ward!!! same issue, different year!!!!! A first round pick who couldnt stay healthy early in his career……so the “fans” ( gosh, i hate being associated with most of you)….wanted him gone, cut, out of spite!!!! For the crime of getting hurt!!! Well, KS and JL didnt cut him! Roster was so bad and void of good players…….that they decided to give him another shot……he’s remained healthy for the most part……and settled in as a top tier DB/ FS/SS/CB/NCB

    1. j,
      The difference between Ward and Kinlaw is Ward was relatively uninjured in college while Kinlaw was already experiencing knee problems. Once Ward was in the NFL he had an array of injuries affecting many parts of his body while Kinlaw’s injuries have been primarily if not solely to his knee. Lastly Kinlaws size works against his ability to rehab his knee. The 49ers can’t cut Kinlaw (salary cap) they will likely try to give him away in a trade (swapping 7th round picks) maybe taking on part of his salary. Most likely he will sit on IR next year. Trading Buckner for the pick they used to draft Kinlaw will go down in 49er history as one of the worst transactions ever. imho

    2. It doesn’t matter what people on this blog think about Kinlaw. No one on this blog has any idea as to the condition of his knee.

      1. I hear you, Felix.
        I don’t think that the 49ers will cut Kinlaw, but they might be willing to trade him to another team.

        Sure, the 49ers will take a financial hit in trading Javon, but it’s also impractical to have a player who can’t stay on the field and perform at a consistent level when he is.

        The question is what can the 49ers receive as a reasonable value in a trade?
        A 3rd rd pick would be nice, but a 4-5th pick might be more feasible.
        If you have time, listen to the Larry Krueger take on Kinlaw and Trey Lance.

          1. AES,
            I saw that show it was very informative. He also did one on potential draft picks that will be available later in the draft.

            1. Coach,
              I caught that. Two Notre Dame players TE, Michael Meyer and DE, Isaiah Foskey were high on his wish-list.

              I not a frequent listener, but Krueger does a good job on draft talent.

            2. One guy I have my eye on is UH, WR, Nathaniel “Tank” Dell.
              He’s a DeSean Jackson clone!
              I haven’t read what round he’s projected to go yet, but I suspect late 1st or early 2nd.

  8. PRE COMBINE: Way too early Round 3 draft picks the 9er should be evaluating!
    EDGE: Zack Harrison, Ohio St. (9ers would likely have to trade up to late 2nd / early 3rd Rd.)
    OT: Blake Freeland, BYU
    OC: John Michael, Minnesota
    SS: Brandon Joseph, Notre Dame


  9. not a lot of available cap space….one of the top cap # for’23 is Armstead. It will be interesting to see what happens there. IMO i think an extension makes sense to reduce the cap number thats around $24 mil.
    Now are least favorite cohn man posted a vid about how this is the worst contract on the team next year. And there is TRUTH to it…….the problem is, he omits information that would put it into context…..
    When we made the decision to keep AA and trade DB……..the main reason is that AA was willing to play ball with the structure of his contract and Defo was not!
    The niners were willing to pay ONE of em a contract that averaged $18 mil per year…….but it had to be structured with smaller cap #s in the early years and then increase……..due to the salary cap DECREASING DUE TO COVID!
    Defo wasnt willing to play ball! He wanted $18 mil a year first year period! And $18 in each year after that.
    AA took a deal that paid him about half that first year with small increases in the following years……making the cap #s top heavy/balloon midway through. It also allowed us to re sing many players after ’19 that we wouldn’t have been able to afford if we chose DB instead of AA.
    So now, the check is due! AA’s cap # for ’23 is the tab for “running it back” in 2020. It will be interesting to see if we pay it…..or cut AA. Cutting AA would be a slimey move IMO…….and thats why i think a restructure or extension is coming.
    Also, Jimmie Ward took a team friendly deal after ’19…….and that’s probably why he’s pissed and ready to go, based off of his exit interview. Im interested to see how that plays out. Unlike Dline, and my post regarding Kinlaw earlier…..we have some depth at cb…..and Gipson might be a cheaper option at FS

  10. I bet AA will be willing to restructure his contract as well as CMC possibly Williams, Kittle and Warner. The 9ers cap issues are why I disagree with Allforfun when it comes to this years draftees. He believes that 3rd round and later picks are for backups and future starters, normally I would agree but this year (especially the 4 3rd rounders) I think the 9ers may have to draft some plug in and play draft picks. I believe they need all of their picks earlier in the year I was advocating for packaging a couple or 3 3rds for a 2nd but now think they need to keep all of their picks. imho

    1. would agree but this year (especially the 4 3rd rounders) I think the 9ers may have to draft some plug in and play draft picks. I believe they need all of their picks earlier in the year I was advocating for packaging a couple or 3 3rds for a 2nd but now think they need to keep all of their picks. imho

      Just because you need them to be immediate starters doesn’t change the probability of finding immediate starters in the 3rd round. That’s like saying you really need the money more this week so your chances at winning a game of poker have increased.

      I’m not saying that some of those 3rd rounders won’t be able to contribute immediately. There’s even an outside chance one of them might start. But it’s far more likely (therefore how you should plan) that your incumbent depth players can be developed to become replacement starters over some raw 3rd round rookies.

      1. Allfor,
        I agree with your premise, i’m just not very confident in the 49ers back ups at certain positions IE OL and S. I was curious about your take on R. Gould. Do you think we should resign him and if you do, do you think we should sign a KO specialist?

          1. He handled the job his first 3 or 4 years in the league. The team and he found his leg got fatigued and it had a pretty big negative effect on his punting and kicking

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