The San Francisco 49ers welcomed wide receiver Marquise Goodwin back to the field in Week 3, following a one-game (and three quarters of the season opener) absence due to a quadricep injury. Goodwin moved back into the starting lineup in place of rookie Dante Pettis, and the snap count reflected his health. Pierre Garçon led the team with 52 snaps, followed by Goodwin with 42. Pettis and Trent Taylor each had 25 snaps, and Kendrick Bourne had 15.
The 49ers traded up in the second round to select Pettis, and he quickly emerge this preseason as a serious threat. He is serving as the team’s punt returner, but the three times he has caught a pass these first three weeks, he’s made things happen — averaging 32.0 yards per reception.
The question now is what his future holds this season and into 2019. He would seem to be clearly behind Goodwin on the receiver depth chart, while Taylor seems to remain firmly locked in as the team’s slot receiver.
The 49ers signed Goodwin to a three-year contract extension this offseason, and signed Garçon to a five year deal during the 2017 offseason. If Pettis emerges, it would seem likely to be over one of these two. As friend of the site Danny Tuccitto has said, it is clear Pettis is playing almost exclusively behind Goodwin. If the 49ers were to release Goodwin after this season, they would carry $1,875,000 in dead money (if a post-June 1 designation, then $625,000 in 2019 and $1,250,000 in 2020). Meanwhile, if they cut Garçon next offseason, they would carry $7,200,000 in dead money ((if a post-June 1 designation, then $2.4 million in 2019 and $4.8 million in 2020).
All of this is to say, will we see some kind of move next year at the wide receiver position? With only three games under Pettis’ belt, it is too early to tell. But, that might be something to keep on our radar heading into the 2019 offseason.