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2017 NFL free agency rumors: Martellus Bennett asking price at around $9 million per year

The 49ers have tight ends, but could use some upgrades.

Free agent tight end Martellus Bennett has drawn some early interest, according to CSN New England reporter Mike Giardi. A couple hours into the tampering period, and Bennett has reportedly heard from six teams. Giardi reported that Bennett’s asking price is around $9 million per year.

The “per year” numbers we’ll hear in rumors and final reports really are not all that useful for accurately assessing NFL contracts. A player will be listed as making X million per year, but for cap purposes, it is usually lower in year one. And for actual payment, a player almost always is either cut or renegotiates his deal before it reaches its conclusion.

If Bennett gets “$9 million per year,” the APY would match Rob Gronkowski for fifth highest among tight ends. The top four are Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, and Julius Thomas.

The San Francisco 49ers have a full depth chart of tight ends, but there remains plenty of room for improvement. Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek signed contract extensions last year, and the team spent a fourth round pick on Blake Bell in 2015. All are adequate options, but none has emerged as a clear No. 1 tight end. McDonald has some of the skill to do that, but injuries, bad hands, and a lack of general consistency has been a problem.

At what point do we see the 49ers make some moves at the tight end position? There was a report that Jacob Tamme would be interesting in reuniting with Kyle Shanahan is something does not get done in Atlanta. And the tight end position is particularly deep in this year’s draft. Do we see some changes?