The 49ers are fortunate enough to have one of the best tight ends in the league in George Kittle lining up on one side. On the other side they aren’t so lucky. Garrett Celek burst out in 2017, but his 2018 was disappointing. This can be blamed on a thumb injury, but injury or no, tight ends opposite Kittle just weren’t cutting it.
The 49ers could go draft another tight end in the fifth round. It worked for Kittle. Or they can look at this free agent crop. Antonio Gates is slated to hit free agency. Given that has spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Chargers and hit free agency before, only to be brought back, seeing him in a different uniform isn’t likely.
Tyler Eifert from the Cincinnati Bengals is a good name to look at. His injuries are a concern (he is yet to play a full season), but for a red-zone threat, he might be the best of the tight end free agency class. Besides touchdown threats, there’s not much data on him. He’s only gone over 500 receiving yards once (2015 where he got 615). The 49ers had their share of issues in the redzone, so maybe Eifert can fix them. As a companion piece to George Kittle, he might be injured more often than not, so that lead back to Garrett Celek before long.
There’s Jared Cook who winds up having a few big games (or he did with the Raiders) but with those four games he got over 100 receiving yards, he has nine games with 35 yards or less. There’s only so many mouths to feed, and when he’s on, he’s on.
Like we said, it’s not finding an end-all tight end, it’s finding a good compliment to the George Kittle show.
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 Tight Ends