Randy Moss is aboard now, but the San Francisco 49ers are still looking for help at wide receiver.
On Thursday, their search continued as former Giant Mario Manningham visited with the Niners, as did former Ram (and 49er) Brandon Lloyd. Earlier this week, free agent Chaz Schilens of the Raiders came in for a visit.
But, all three left the Bay Area without a contract offer. Manningham, in fact, was due to meet in St. Louis with the Rams Friday, according to Yahoo Sports.
Though the 49ers also were busy making other news Thursday – releasing veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer and signing Raiders backup running back and special teams standout Rock Cartwright – finding another wideout remains a priority for a team that finished last season with a thin receiving corps that produced only one catch in the NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants.
Manningham and Lloyd are probably the top two free agents still available on the market.
In his fourth season for the Giants, Manningham, 25, had 39 catches for the Super Bowl winners in the regular season, his lowest total since his rookie year of 2008-09. But the 6-foot, 185-pounder is considered a deep threat who had 57- and 60-catch seasons in his second and third years in the league and has a 14.5-yards per catch average with 18 TD receptions over his past three seasons. Buffalo and Miami also have been reported to be interested in Manningham.
The 6-foot Lloyd, who played his first three seasons in San Francisco, played just four games for the Broncos last season, his 10th in the NFL. His best year came in 2010-11, when he had 77 catches for 1,448 yards and 11 TDs.
Schilens, who has battled injury problems with the Raiders, is a much bigger target at 6-foot-4 and has shown flashes of brilliance when he’s been on the field. Though he caught only 23 passes this past season, he had an 18.1 yard average, with 13 of the catches going for first downs.
Another receiver who could be in play is Ted Ginn Jr. The 49ers’ own free agent kick-return specialist and backup wide receiver, met with the Lions this week but did not receive a contract offer. He told Detroit media that he would like to play a bigger role as a receiver – not just a special teams returner.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that after Manningham, Lloyd and Schilens, the cast of available wideouts has thinned considerably. It includes the Cardinals’ Early Doucet, the Eagles’ Steve Smith, the Jets’ Plaxico Burress, the Titans’ Donnie Avery and Legedu Naanee of the Panthers.
The Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows reports the 49ers will likely be methodical in their search for another wideout, writing, “The market has cooled off a bit. The 49ers can afford to play it slow.”