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Veteran WR Sanu agrees to one-year deal with 49ers, agent says

NBC Sports

Veteran free-agent wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the 49ers, agent Mike McCartney announced on Twitter.

McCartney told NBC Sports Bay Area that Sanu will arrive at the team's facility in Santa Clara on Wednesday for his first round of coronavirus testing. The first day he would be eligible to practice, if he is cleared, is Friday.

The move is not altogether unexpected after coach Kyle Shanahan intimated on Monday that the club was interested in adding Sanu. Shanahan and Sanu spent the 2016 season together with the Atlanta Falcons.

The 49ers currently have just three healthy receivers on their 53-man roster: Kendrick Bourne, Dante Pettis and Trent Taylor. Richie James is not likely to be available due to a hamstring strain.

The 49ers hope rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk will be available to make his NFL debut on Sunday against the New York Jets. Aiyuk left practice on Aug. 23 with a hamstring strain.

Deebo Samuel, the team's top receiver, also is out for at least the first three games of the season as he sustained a setback in his rehab from surgery to repair a Jones fracture.

The New England Patriots recently released Sanu. It should not take him much time to acclimate to Shanahan's offense. In 2016, with Shanahan as Atlanta's offensive coordinator, Sanu caught 59 passes for 653 yards and four touchdowns.

The 49ers opted to bring in Sanu over promoting any of their three receivers from the practice squad. Rookie Jauan Jennings and veterans Kevin White and River Cracraft are on the practice squad.

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This is not the first time the 49ers pursued Sanu, but things ended up differently this time.

The 49ers tried to acquire Sanu last season just prior to the NFL trade deadline in October. However, the Patriots acquired him from Atlanta for a second-round draft pick.

The 49ers instead shifted their sights to receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and the club acquired him in a trade with the Denver Broncos. At the time, the 49ers preferred to add Sanu to their roster because he was signed through the 2020 season. Sanders was productive for the 49ers, and he signed with the New Orleans Saints in the offseason.

Things did not work out for Sanu with the Patriots. In eight games, he caught 26 passes for 207 yards. New England cut Sanu prior to the start of the regular season to get down to the 53-player roster limit.

The 49ers held off on acquiring Sanu until they felt they could not wait any longer.