It’s not a secret that the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers were in the market for a wide receiver following Sunday’s ugly season-opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
A couple days after San Francisco fell to its division rivals by the score of 24-20, the team has added a veteran reinforcement.
According to Mike McCarthy, the agent for free-agent wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, his client has signed a one-year deal with the 49ers.
Sanu, 31, was a surprise release of the New England Patriots late in training camp after the team acquired him in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons last October.
A former third-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2012, Sanu caught 59 passes for 520 yards and two touchdowns in between stints with New England and Atlanta last season. Suggestions out of New England during training camp were that Sanu just didn’t look good this summer.
With that said, this is a much-needed boost for an injury-depleted 49ers receivers group. Sanu has tallied 59 receptions in each of the past four seasons. San Francisco’s two starting receivers in Week 1, Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis, had 41 combined receptions last season.
This move comes after San Francisco was without Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Richie James for Week 1. Samuel (Jones fracture) is currently on injured reserve and will miss at least the next two games. Aiyuk, a first-round pick this past April, is expected to go against the Jets in Week 2.
Those injuries coupled with the erratic play of Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 1 led to the quarterback completing just 4-of-11 passes for 41 yards to his wide receivers.
Sanu’s transiton to San Francisco should be rather seamless. The veteran worked under current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, then the Falcons coordinator, back in 2016. He caught 59 passes for 653 yards while hauling in a whopping 73% of his targets that season.
In no way does this mean San Francisco’s issues at wide receiver are settled. The team is still missing the production it saw from Emmanuel Sanders last season after he departed for the New Orleans Saints in free agency.
If nothing else, this will add to the depth chart once Samuel and Aiyuk return from injury. I still fully expect the 49ers to look into the trade market at wide receiver ahead of the deadline next month. Simply put, Sanu doesn’t move the needle enough.