The San Francisco 49ers have added another running back, and it’s safe to say this is not an April Fools joke. General manager John Lynch tweeted on Saturday that the 49ers have signed Tim Hightower to a contract. The 49ers brought him in for a visit two weeks ago, and this follows the decision to re-sign DuJuan Harris.
Hightower is a solid complementary piece, having put together some decent numbers in New Orleans the past two seasons. He rushed for 548 yards and had 200 receiving yards last season, with five total touchdowns. In 2015, he played in eight games and had 504 total yards with a touchdown.
Hightower started his career in Arizona, spending three years with the Cardinals as a solid complementary piece. He led the team in rushing attempts two of the years, but it was as part of various platoons with Beanie Wells and Edgerrin James. He joined Washington in 2011, only to suffer a torn ACL. He had complications that cost him the next three years, finally getting back on the field with New Orleans in 2015. He is 31, but only has six seasons under his belt. His 16 games played in 2016 was his most games played since 2010.
He joins DuJuan Harris, Mike Davis, and Raheem Mostert competing for work behind Carlos Hyde. The team needs any and all help they can get at the position. Hyde is a strong running back when healthy, but he has dealt with enough injuries that there are sufficient question marks. It remains to be seen if the 49ers will add a running back in the draft, but a young option makes a lot of sense given the various questions surrounding the current contingent of backs.