The Trent Baalke dumpster diving has a new name to consider. ESPN's Paul Gutierrez tweeted that he is hearing the San Francisco 49ers are interested in wide receiver Marc Mariani. Gutierrez said three other teams are interested, including the Oakland Raiders.
Mariani entered the NFL in 2010 as a seventh round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans. He was selected to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist in 2011, but then missed all of 2012 with a broken leg. He signed with the Chicago Bears in late 2014, and stuck with them through 2015. He had a late surge in Chicago, catching 22 passes for 300 yards. All but three of the receptions and 42 of the receiving yards came in the final eight weeks of the season.
The ESPN Bears blogger took a look at Mariani and his outlook in free agency. He threw out just about every cliche you could imagine:
Mariani plays with maximum effort. He leaves it all on the field. You have to give Mariani credit for finishing the year on a high note after special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers wanted to bench him outright. Mariani even became a fairly reliable target for quarterback Jay Cutler in the passing game. The mere fact Mariani lasted this long in the NFL is a true testament to his character, work ethic and intelligence. Guys like Mariani are not first-round draft picks. They receive no preferential treatment. They have to fight for everything. That being said, Mariani is on the bubble. Deonte Thompson has already supplanted Mariani on kickoff return. Maybe the Bears feel they can do better. But based on Mariani's 2015 season; it would be a surprise if he's not playing somewhere in the NFL next year.
Mariani is a special teams guy who if signed could compete at the back end of the depth chart.