49ers

As Griffin goes to Browns, Kelly calls Gabbert 'intriguing'

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As Griffin goes to Browns, Kelly calls Gabbert 'intriguing'

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Colin Kaepernick’s status has ranked near the top of the list of NFL storylines this offseason.

But while there is still no certainty where Kaepernick will play this season, there is no question Blaine Gabbert will be involved in the 49ers’ quarterback competition that will play out before the opening of the regular season.

Coach Chip Kelly, who has been asked often about Kaepernick, shared his thoughts about Gabbert on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings while fielding a question from CSNBayArea.com in Boca Raton, Florida.

“(I’m) impressed with Blaine,” said Kelly, who met with Gabbert once in person and talked to him multiple times over the phone since taking the job. “You watch him the last couple of games he started. He’s another guy, you look at his skill set. He took off against the Bears and went (44) yards for a touchdown. He ran 4.61 in the combine when he was coming out.

“He’s big. I’d never really dealt with Blaine because he came into the league before I came into the league, but just how big and physical and impressive he is. He’s a 6-4, 245-pound guy that can really run. I thought the last part of the season he played really well. It’ll be intriguing to work with him, too.”

[MAIOCCO: Kelly trusts 49ers' front office; time with Eagles 'weird situation']

If Kaepernick remains with the team this offseason, there will be a competition involving at least those two players.

“I think there’s competition everywhere,” Kelly said. “We haven’t seen anybody in terms of our staff working with them. Day 1 it’s a blank slate for the entire group. Let’s get out there and run around and see where it is.”

The 49ers do not appear to be interested in adding another quarterback at this time. General manager Trent Baalke said the organization has no contact with former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin, who signed with the Browns Thursday morning. 

“Right now, we’re focused on some other things,” Baalke said. “Will there come a time when we sit down? That certainly could happen, but it hasn’t happened to this point.”

When asked why the 49ers had not touched base with Griffin, Kelly said, “I think we probably need to figure out what’s going on with Kap before we make any decisions. That’s really where we are from a quarterback standpoint. But I’d like to be able to work with Kap and Blaine when we get going in April.”

Gabbert and Kaepernick started eight games apiece last season. Gabbert completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,031 yards in 282 attempts with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions for an 86.2 passer rating. Kaepernick completed 59 percent of his 244 attempts for 1,615 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 78.5.

Kelly blamed Kaepernick’s slip in play last season on injuries that required surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee.

“I think the biggest misconception that people don’t realize with Kap is just injuries,” Kelly said. “It’s not like his skillset diminished. He went on injured reserve last year, so he was only available for eight games. He was legitimately injured.”

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Veteran tight end Jordan Reed seemingly is taking a huge risk with designs on a return to football after sustaining a seventh documented concussion a year ago.

But it is a risk that could pay off big for Reed and the 49ers this season, his first NFL coach said on Monday.

Kyle Shanahan was in his final season as Washington’s offensive coordinator during Reed’s first season after entering the league as a second-round draft pick. Now, Shanahan and Reed are back together after Reed agreed to a one-year contract on Monday.

“I know he hasn’t been on the field for a little bit. I know he’s very hungry to get back out there,” Shanahan said.

“When you have a talented guy who’s hungry to play football, it works out if they can stay healthy. And Jordan has had some bad luck over the years. I know he’s ready to go. I hope he has some good luck here. And if he does, I think it’s going to be a hell of a deal for the Niners and a really good deal for him, also.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Reed, 30, has appeared in just 65 games over the past seven seasons with Washington. He has 329 career receptions for 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best season came in 2015, when he saw action in 14 games and caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He did not play last season after sustaining a concussion in a preseason game. The Washington Football Team released him in February.

“Everyone is aware of Jordan’s ability,” Shanahan said. “When he’s been healthy, he’s played at an extremely high level. And he’s been one of the first third-down tight ends in the league when he’s been healthy.”

[RELATEDShanahan optimistic 49ers, Kittle will get contract done]

Shanahan said he typically likes to bring six tight ends to training camp. It was a little more difficult this summer because teams have to trim to 80 players instead of the usual 90-man limits. But the 49ers found a way to add Reed, who figures to join a competition to become George Kittle’s backup.

Reed will compete with Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm and sixth-round draft pick Charlie Woerner for the backup job.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams isn't the only former Washington Football Team player joining the 49ers this offseason.

San Francisco signed free agent tight end Jordan Reed to an incentive-laden one-year contract on Monday, hoping to put a steady backup behind All-Pro George Kittle. Formerly a third-round draft pick by Washington in 2013, Reed was a teammate of Williams in the nation's capital for each of the past six seasons. Williams expressed his excitement for Reed on his Instagram story Monday afternoon.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

A Pro Bowl selection in 2016, Reed missed all of the 2019 season after getting a concussion in the third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Like Williams, Reed finished the 2019 season on injured reserve. Washington released Reed in February.

Reed could see his role increased significantly early on with the 49ers if Kittle's contract negotiations continue to stall, as general manager John Lynch didn't give much of an update Monday on the conversations.

[RELATED: 49ers rule D.J. Reed out for year after surgery on torn pec]

“We’re working diligently to come to a resolution,” Lynch told reporters over Zoom on Monday afternoon.

Reed's concerning history with concussions wasn't lost on Lynch, but the 49ers clearly see the upside in a tight end with four 50+ catch seasons out of his six healthy NFL seasons.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”