The San Francisco 49ers head into their preseason opener with eight tight ends on the roster, and a ninth if you count long snapper Kyle Nelson. Jim Tomsula believes the team could have seven tight ends end up on a 53-man roster somewhere, whether it be with the 49ers or elsewhere.
If the team truly believes that about their tight ends, they are likely going to be on the phone soon (if not already) with Washington. In Thursday's preseason opener, Washington saw starter Niles Paul suffer an ankle dislocation, and reserve Je'Ron Hamm suffer a left thigh injury. The injuries come as the team is without Jordan Reed (hamstring injury) and Logan Paulsen (toe injury). That leaves the team with second year player Chase Dixon and rookie Devin Mahina on the depth chart.
At some point I have to think Washington GM Scot McCloughan makes some kind of move for a tight end. If that happens, why not chat with his former employee, Trent Baalke? The 49ers tight end depth chart includes the following:
Davis and Bell are locks to make the roster, while I think McDonald is pretty close to a lock. Whatever you think of McDonald, the team will have some players to unload. Garrett Celek is a capable blocker who can do a little something in the passing game. Derek Carrier is an option more in the passing game, as he has worked on transitioning from wide receiver to tight end. Asante Cleveland is getting some positive reviews in camp after getting a bit of playing time here and there last season in spot duty.
Garrett Celek makes the most sense. He is relatively inexpensive, and he has solid NFL experience. Of course, given his blocking ability, he might make more sense as the guy who sticks around. Blake Bell is a guy the 49ers want to develop, but as a recent quarterback transitioning to tight end, the blocking side of things will be something he needs to develop.
But for now, the 49ers have some assets, and Washington has a need.