The 49ers have some good receivers for Jimmy Garoppolo, including wideouts Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders and perhaps the NFL’s best tight end in George Kittle.
But what the offense lacks is a true deep threat, a wide receiver who can stretch defenses and force secondaries to be consistently threatened by the long ball.
Fortunately, there are some veterans who may be available in free agency who could fill that need. Including Bengals star A.J. Green.
Green, 31, is an eight-year veteran who’s been with Cincinnati since 2011. But he missed all of the 2019 season with an ankle problem and played just nine games in 2018. So, it seems likely the Bengals could move on from the seven-time Pro Bowler. If that happens, ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell predicts Green could land in San Francisco to give Garoppolo the deep-ball threat he needs.
Barnwell predicts Green will sign with the 49ers (a four-year deal for about $84 million), and that San Francisco – with Green in hand – will allow Sanders to leave in free agency.
Writes Barnwell: “While San Francisco would likely be interested in bringing back Emmanuel Sanders, Green is a clear step above Sanders and would be an ideal primary receiver in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Injuries are becoming a concern for … Green, who didn’t play a snap this past season, but this is a chance to add a transformational receiver.”
Green has six seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards and has averaged 14.8 yards per catch over his career. He also has 63 touchdown catches. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he’s also a big target as well as being a fast one.
The Bengals reportedly would like to keep Green, but his age, recent injuries and his reported desire to get a long-term contract could make the Bengals shy away from Green and look for a less-expensive option. Cincinnati also could retain him for a year by placing the franchise tag on him.
If Green does hit the open market, there will be other suitors. The Colts and Seahawks would also be among the suitors for his services, according to several reports. But the 49ers would certainly be attractive for Green, with a strong offensive mind in Kyle Shanahan and the possibility of making another Super Bowl run in 2020.