Wide receiver is a tricky position. The 49ers have overhauled the group and now have something somewhat respectable. They still haven’t gotten a 1,000 yard receiver (hiya, George Kittle) but they no longer have the issues clouding them during Trent Baalke’s final years. The biggest problem with this overhaul is the unit’s age. Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are the only veterans on the team over the age of 24. Then you have Kendrick Bourne, Ritchie James, Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor rounding things out.
Unless it’s a surefire pick for a No. 1 or Antonio Brown/Odell Beckham Jr., the 49ers are throwing away the development they gave to these young players. The youth is something the coaching staff knew they’d have to deal with, and later in the season, the younger players really stood out. Bourne had some great catches once he got on the same page with Shanahan’s playbook, and Pettis came into his own after shaking off the injury bug from the first half of his season.
That said, they could definitely add anything to make the team better. What’s out there to make them better isn’t much. The the first name to consider is Golden Tate from the Philadelphia Eagles. At 31 years old, Tate may be entering the twilight of his career, but he’s gotten great yards after catch and can pluck some balls out of the sky. Tate also can get some decent separation, which as we all know, is something Kyle Shanahan loves.
There’s also Randall Cobb from the Green Bay Packers. Cobb has speed, but he is dependent on a No. 1 wide receiver to take the edge off. 2014 was his signature year and the only year he crossed the 1,000 yard threshold. He also accomplished this playing opposite Jordy Nelson. In 2015, Nelson was out for the entire season and Cobb failed to come near his career setting numbers from the year before (1287 yards vs. 829 yards and 12 touchdowns vs. six). Since 2015, Cobb’s numbers have continued to dip and he hasn’t quite gotten back to that 2014 season.
Donte Moncrief is also hitting free agency from the Jacksonville Jaguars. If he actually makes it that far is another question. The Jaguars already let Allen Robinson walk to the Chicago Bears and Moncrief had solid season of 668 yards. Why solid? Look at Jacksonville’s quarterback problems and you’ll have your answer. Getting that number with that nightmare is an achievement.
Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson from the Patriots are available, if you want to give either a shot. So is Jamison Crowder from Washington. Crowder had a decent 2017, but his 2018 was a severe decline in productivity. Being out for several games didn’t help.
One more name to consider is Robby Anderson with the New York Jets. Yes, he has character concerns, but he’s also turned in some decent seasons despite the quarterback position being a bit inconsistent. The issue with Anderson is, the 49ers have their own version of that and his name is Dante Pettis. It’s also worth noting the 49ers’ version of a wide receiver that plays around the field has been promising without any arrests—unlike Anderson.
The 49ers can trade for a big-name wide receiver or get some help in the draft, but their group seems somewhat solid. With all the time and development they’ve put into the group, I don’t see an addition, but I’ve been wrong before.
Here’s your free agent wide receivers in the league per Over the Cap. Things could change with franchise tags and deals, but all of the below have contracts expiring. Would you be interested in any of these pass catchers coming to Santa Clara?
Free Agent Wide Receivers