On Thursday afternoon, the Atlanta Falcons announced they had signed "wide receiver" and return man Devin Hester to a 3-year contract. There is no word on the financial details, but Hester had some interesting comments in his Q&A with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to Hester, the San Francisco 49ers were actually among his finalists, along with the Falcons and Buccaneers, and the Dolphins and Seahawks to some extent. Seeing as we are past the point where there is negotiating leverage to be had, it's interesting to see the 49ers were interested to some extent.
When word got out that Hester would not be re-signing with the Bears, I wrote something about how I did not see him ending up with the 49ers. At the time I mentioned potentially kicking the tires to see what it would cost, and my guess is the money is one reason it didn't pan out. Hester said he was looking for somewhere between $3 million and $4 million, and if he ended up getting that, I have to think the 49ers backed out in large part because of that. Hester said he expects to play some offense with the Falcons, but given that he is almost exclusively a return man at this point, I don't see how the 49ers could justify that kind of money.
For now, the 49ers will likely head into the draft with LaMichael James as their primary return man. There are cornerbacks and wide receivers that could contribute in that role, so this depth is a bit of a moving target.