The 49ers have perhaps the best tight end in the NFL in George Kittle, yet reportedly are looking for more help at the position.
Kyle Shanahan’s offense has taken advantage of Kittle’s skills the past two years, with the third-year tight end catching 173 passes for 2,430 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Niners also re-signed Ross Dwelley.
But San Francisco wants another good receiver on the roster to complement Kittle, reports Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Barrows wrote recently that Shanahan and GM John Lynch “want an upgrade at tight end to take some pressure off” Kittle.
Among players mentioned as possible targets are former 49er Delanie Walker (released by Tennessee recently) and Jordan Reed, who has played his six NFL seasons in Washington since being a third-round pick out of Florida in 2013.
Reed, a Pro Bowl pick in 2016 when he had 66 catches, has 446 receptions and has averaged 10.2 yards per catch in his career, and is just 29 years old.
Barrows noted in an interview on KNBR that the 49ers contacted Reed to judge his interest. Reed, a free agent, sat out all of the 2019 season because of the effects of a concussion, and he was released by Washington in February.
Reed is a talented receiver, but injuries over the past three seasons – concussions and problems with his feet and hamstring – often put him on the sidelines.
He went into 2019 training camp feeling healthy and fit after injuries kept him from playing 10 games in 2017 and three more in 2018.
“I feel a lot better not dealing with as much pain, and I feel stronger,” he told the Washington Post. But, in his third preseason game, Jordan took a blow to his helmet and the concussion ended his entire season.
After Reed was released by Washington, he told Ben Standig of The Athletic he’s not ready to retire.
“(Reed) intends on playing elsewhere in the NFL during the 2020 season,” wrote Standig.
If Reed is healthy, he’d give the 49ers a talented complement to Kittle, and the 49ers would have a nice trio at the position, along with Dwelley.
If that doesn’t work out, it appears the 49ers will try to find another veteran to add to the position group for 2020.