In his first two NFL seasons, tight end Vance McDonald had just 10 catches for 149 yards and zero touchdowns. Over the past two, he’s had 54 catches for 717 yards and seven TDs.
Obviously, the 49er is starting to fulfill some of the promise from his selection in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Yet the Niners acknowledged recently that during the most recent draft, they talked to other teams about trading McDonald.
“We’re trying any way possible to improve our team,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “We did it with Vance the most because a lot of people are interested in Vance.”
Yet, the 49ers decided to hold on to McDonald, and he figures to be the team’s No. 1 tight end heading toward the 2017 season.
Now another report has surfaced that the Niners also were talking with teams about trading NaVorro Bowman, the veteran Pro Bowler who’s penciled in as the team’s starting middle linebacker in the team’s new 4-3 scheme.
This time, the 49ers have denied any such conversations. In a joint statement released by Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, they labeled such reports as “completely false.” They added that Bowman is working hard to be at peak condition after an injury-marred 2016 and are eager to see him anchor the team’s defense.
Recently, Shanahan told the media Bowman’s recovery from Achilles’ tendon surgery has been better and faster than expected.
“I couldn’t be more excited with Bo than I am right now,” Shanahan said. “He’s been winning our drills, our shuttles. … Just to come out there and watch him. He does not look like a guy coming off an Achilles.”
Bowman played just four games for San Francisco in 2016 after starting all 16 games in 2015. That was his comeback year from missing all of 2014, and Bowman – still only 28 this offseason – showed he was back on track by being in on 154 stops with 2½ sacks.
This spring, Bowman said he’s feeling good and strong.
“Just looking forward to getting back out there and showing what I have,” he said.