Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan looking for a receiver to step up, shares why 49ers weren’t aggressive with Julio Jones

Jun 9, 2021 at 2:30 PM--

It's pretty clear who will be the starting wideouts for the San Francisco 49ers. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel currently sit atop the depth chart. Fans are curious who will be the team's third receiver. It turns out, head coach Kyle Shanahan is curious too and is hoping someone steps up during training camp.

Following a couple of injuries on Monday, San Francisco canceled the remainder of its offseason program, including next week's minicamp. Players won't return to the practice field until training camp at the end of July. That's when the real competition at wide receiver begins.

"I think we've got a number of candidates who can earn that spot you're talking about," Shanahan told reporters this afternoon when asked about the receiver depth. "We're looking for the obvious third spot, with what you say about Aiyuk and Deebo. But those guys, they've got to put in a good camp and get through it healthy, so we can get them up to play up to their potential. That's mainly allowing them to get a month of practice in, which would be great for them in training camp. And if they get that, I know how good they'll be going into the season."

Samuel missed nine games last season. Aiyuk missed four. Kendrick Bourne has served as a primary backup in recent years but signed with the New England Patriots as a free agent this offseason.

"After [Aiyuk and Samuel], I've been happy with our group out there," Shanahan continued. "A number of guys have a chance to try to earn that third role, and we need a number of guys to make the roster to be ready for starting roles, in case people get hurt. It's not to where you can just pencil in those guys."

Shanahan rattled off the names of several candidates, like Richie James, who has been sidelined due to an injury. However, he is expected to be back by training camp.

"Right before he got hurt, tweaked something, I thought he was having a hell of a camp," Shanahan said. "So, I'm excited to see him come back, and some of the guys that people haven't seen yet with Jauan Jennings, who was on our practice squad last year. A guy like Mohamed Sanu, who's done a lot of things in his career. He's been having a hell of a camp. Travis (Benjamin) has been having a hell of a camp. Kevin White's been doing great.

"I know I'm missing people, but there's not a guy on our roster at receiver that doesn't have a chance to make this team. All of them, I believe, are NFL players, and [we gave all of] them a chance in OTAs to show us that. We'll see what they do in their 40 days away, and it will be a fun competition to watch. If everyone stays healthy, it's going to be a battle. It's a good problem to have, though."

The 49ers could have increased their depth with the addition of wide receiver Julio Jones. San Francisco was thought to be interested in the future Hall of Famer. A report this week from Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated stated that the Atlanta Falcons spoke with the 49ers, along with every other NFC West team. However, San Francisco never presented a real offer for Jones.

The Falcons ended up trading Jones to the Tennessee Titans. Why weren't the 49ers more aggressive in pursuing him? Maybe things would have been different had the team not surrendered future first-round picks to trade up in this year's draft for quarterback Trey Lance.

"Everyone knows the player [Jones] is, but it's not as simple as that," Shanahan explained. "You've got to build a team. It's not just year to year. You've got to build it for the future. And you just think about how hard it is going into drafts. You never know what you're going to be able to do in free agency, who you're going to lose, who you're going to be able to bring in. You've got lots of guys on one-year contracts, things like that.

"Everyone knows we don't have a first-round pick. But what happens when you don't have a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick, and you lose a number of guys in free agency, which you never can for sure count on? Then you end up going into a draft, and you've got to get six new spots, but all you have is a third- and a fifth-round pick. It's kind of tough to build your team that way and to consistently do it.

"But he's a hell of a player. He's going to definitely help Tennessee. And everyone knows how special he is, but you've got to think about the short-term and the long-term, and that's why those things are so risky for everybody."

Related News

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers' Kyle Shanahan on Julio Jones to Titans trade: "My second-favorite choice is him being in the AFC"

By David Bonilla
Jun 6, 2021

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is at the Sonoma Raceway today. He is the Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series race and caught up with reporters following the news of the Atlanta Falcons trading wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans. The 49ers were likely interested, and there was a lot of speculation surrounding the potential of a Jones-Shanahan reunion. The coach worked with Jones for two seasons (2015-16) when he was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta. Shanahan was asked about the trade. "I'm very glad he's in the AFC," he responded. One reporter said it would have been nice to have

49ers Weekly Recap: Julio Jones traded, 2nd week of OTAs, a few signings, and more

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Jun 6, 2021

Here's your recap of the top San Francisco 49ers-related stories from the past week. Julio Jones Trade This week wrapped up with a bang, as on early Sunday morning, Ian Rapoport reported that Julio Jones was traded to the Tennessee Titans along with a 2023 sixth-round pick in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 fourth-round pick. Read More Second Week of OTAs In other news, week two of organized team activities (OTAs) concluded and with that came more press conferences. New defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was in the spotlight as he shared his plan of attack for the upcoming season. "Our defense will be a fast, attacking,

Breer: Falcons discussed Julio Jones trade with 49ers, other NFC West teams

By David Bonilla
Jun 7, 2021

The Atlanta Falcons were really trying to move Julio Jones' salary. Eventually, they were able to strike a deal with the Tennessee Titans for the veteran receiver. That was after trying to gauge interest with several others. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reports that the Falcons reached out to all four NFC West teams, which, of course, includes the San Francisco 49ers (h/t to Josh Schrock of NBC Sports). While it has been reported that there was some interest from head coach Kyle Shanahan and company, Breer is

Falcons trading WR Julio Jones to the Titans

By David Bonilla
Jun 6, 2021

It looks like the Atlanta Falcons are finalizing a deal to trade future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones. There won't be a reunion between the veteran wideout and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Jones is being traded to the Tennessee Titans, per Dianna Russini of ESPN (h/t to Patrick Tulini). The deal should be finalized by Monday, barring any snags. The Falcons are expected to trade Julio Jones to the Titans barring any setbacks in the next 24-48 hours, per sources. The 2 sides still are finalizing compensation but, as one source said, "I feel very good


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone