49ers Free Agency Preview: Top Heavy WR Room Needs Work
With the Super Bowl having passed, it is now officially the offseason in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers are in win-now mode and will be doing everything they can to finally get over the top and become champions. This will require the team to be savvy in free agency to fill the holes on their roster and make upgrades where they deem necessary. Over the next couple of weeks I will be breaking down each position group on the 49ers and potential targets the team could have in free agency. Today we will be going over wide receivers the team could target in free agency, a position on the team that is elite at the top of the depth chart but leaves a lot to be desired towards the bottom. Here’s a look at some players the team could target in free agency.
As things stand right now the 49ers have just two wide receivers under contract for next year: All World player Deebo Samuel and talented former first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk. Second-year wide receiver Jauan Jennings is an exclusive rights free agent, which means if the 49ers offer him a contract no other team is allowed to negotiate with him so we’ll pencil him in as being back with the team. That gives the 49ers just three receivers who are slated to be on the final 53 man roster next season. The 49ers opened the 2021 season with six receivers on their initial 53 man roster so we can expect them to add several via the draft or free agency.
When he is on the field, Fuller is a dynamic receiver and a big play waiting to happen. Unfortunately, Fuller has had difficulties staying healthy the last few years. He only played two games in 2021 and has played more than 11 games just once in his six-year career. During the 2020 season, Fuller averaged 79.9 yards per game and had 8 touchdowns over 11 games played. His elite deep speed would add a vertical element to a 49ers offense that has been missing that type of player over the last few years. The big question for Fuller is his health. The team that signs him would have to expect him to miss some time. I can’t imagine the price for Fuller being all that high considering this. Fuller is a player worth exploring for the 49ers who could really take their passing game to the next level.
When Jets’ slot receiver Jamison Crowder was talked about as a possible cap casualty last year, the 49ers were one of the teams many talked about as a possible landing spot for him. Fast forward to today and once again this seems like a possibility. Crowder has been a very productive player throughout his career. His ability to excel out of the slot is something that the 49ers have been searching for basically the whole time under Kyle Shanahan. The team could use a guy like Crowder who can help them on those 3rd and short situations where they had some difficulties in the postseason. There is nobody like Crowder on the 49ers roster, and he would certainly be another tool in the toolbox for Kyle Shanahan to use.
Similar to the aforementioned Will Fuller, MVS would give the 49ers a deep threat that they currently do not have on the roster. A true burner, MVS would help the team stretch the field in a way they have not been able to under Shanahan thus far. For his career he has averaged 17.5 yards per reception. Again, this is just another situational, role piece that the team could bring in. They don’t need to go out and add an alpha wide receiver as they already have their first, second, and third receiving options on the roster in the form of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, but by adding a piece like MVS, they would be adding depth and versatility to the room.
Now they don’t need to go out and get one of the few top-end receivers on the class, BUT if say Davante Adams, Mike Williams, Chris Godwin, or even Allen Robinson are available at a cheaper price than expected, then thats something the team should explore. You can never have too many good receiving options. If Emmanuel Sanders decides to play another year, I think a reunion between the 49ers and the veteran receiver would be interesting. Braxton Berrios is a player who, similarly to Jamison Crowder, would be a good slot receiver option for the 49ers. Additionally, Berrios could rotate in at kick and punt returner. Jakeem Grant is another speedster who is electric as a returner and could fill multiple roles on the roster. One final guy who could do multiple assignments would be Mack Hollins, a big-bodied receiver who can also contribute on special teams.