The 49ers still have work to do to improve their corps of wide receivers. Chances are, San Francisco will use one of its draft picks in April to get a pass catcher.
But San Francisco also believes newcomer Jordan Matthews will provide a big boost in 2019.
Matthews, 26, signed a one-year, free-agent deal with the Niners recently after playing five seasons in the NFL, four with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has 270 career catches for 3,255 yards and 22 touchdowns, and at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, also gives the 49ers a good-sized target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
He’s been limited by injuries the past couple of years but now appears to be fully healthy.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch says the team was interested in adding Matthews because of his experience, versatility, size and character. He believes Matthews will make a nice impact.
“It’s a different body type than we have on our roster, and it’s something we wanted to provide,” Lynch said this week in an interview on the team’s website. “But it’s more than body type, it’s his play. I think he fits because he’s got tremendous flexibility to play the big slot and be that bigger target inside. What we liked is that he can play all three receiver positions for us. He has that mental capacity. More so, he has the skills. Very few guys can play all three positions.”
Matthews, too, is excited about joining the 49ers for a number of reasons – including that Jerry Rice is his mother’s first cousin and he was a fan of Rice and the 49ers when he was a boy. With the Eagles, he wore No. 80 to honor Rice.
Upon signing with the 49ers, Matthews posted a picture of himself on Twitter wearing a 49ers hat, with Rice, when he was young, with the caption, “Some things are just meant to be!”
It’s expected that Matthews will compete with Trent Taylor for the primary slot-receiver role. But, as Lynch noted, Matthews is expected to not be limited to slot duty.