SANTA CLARA – Former New England wide receiver Aaron Dobson worked out for the 49ers on Tuesday, according to a source.
Dobson, 25, caught 53 passes for 698 yards and four touchdowns in 24 games during his three injury-plagued seasons with the Patriots. It is not believed that a signing is imminent. Dobson has reportedly also worked out for Philadelphia and the New York Jets.
His best season came as a rookie when he caught 37 passes for 519 yards. Dobson sustained a stress fracture in his foot as a rookie but still appeared in 12 games. He had a season-ending hamstring injury in 2014 after appearing in four games. He sustained a high ankle sprain last season and appeared in eight games.
Dobson (6 foot 3, 205 pounds) was among the Patriots' final round of cuts before the start of the regular season last week. Dobson entered the NFL as the Patriots' second-round draft pick (No. 59 overall) in 2013 from Marshall.
The 49ers on Tuesday waived wide receiver Chris Harper, also among the final cuts with the Patriots, and re-signed running back DuJuan Harris. Harper was promoted from the 49ers’ practice squad for the season opener on Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams.
The 49ers currently have five receivers on their 53-man roster: Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Jeremy Kerley, Rod Streater and rookie Aaron Burbridge.
George Kittle, entering the final season of his four-year rookie contract, is in line for a big payday when he eventually signs a contract extension with the 49ers. But the tight end reportedly is one of a handful of players expected to reset the market at the positon this offseason.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that "[multiple] sources around the [NFL]" think Kittle, Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (a pending free agent) and Philadelphia Eagles star Zach Ertz (one year, $6.4 million left on his contract) are set to "redefine the value" of tight ends with big paydays this summer.
Kittle set the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end last year, and he leads the 49ers with 60 receptions for 754 yards. He is in the top five among tight ends in both categories, despite missing two games with -- and subsequently playing through -- a serious ankle injury.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph ($9.35 million) was the highest-paid player at the position not on a rookie deal this season, and Kittle's reported likelihood to set precedent for tight ends drives home the 49ers' financial realities this offseason. DeForest Buckner is also eligible for an extension, while breakout defensive tackle Arik Armstead is eligible for free agency.
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Over The Cap projects the 49ers having just over $24 million in salary-cap space next season, which would make it difficult to extend all three players, especially if the final year Kittle's -- and/or Buckner's -- deal is restructured. The 49ers can free up space by cutting players such as running back Jerick McKinnon and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote Saturday that he can't see McKinnon playing on his 49ers deal as is in 2020 or Goodwin playing for San Francisco at all.
The 49ers likely will prioritize re-signing Kittle and Buckner. Based on Kittle's career and Schefter's reporting, they know the tight end won't come cheap.
Jimmy Garoppolo balled out in the 49ers' thrilling 48-46 win over the Saints last Sunday.
For the third time this season, Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes in a game.
In guiding the 49ers to an NFC-best 11-2 record, the quarterback has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 3,245 yards. He has thrown 25 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions this season.
While Garoppolo's not in the MVP conversation, he's putting up solid numbers as the 49ers continue to rack up wins. But there is one anonymous NFC offensive coach who still hasn't quite bought into Garoppolo.
"I don’t think he can do it consistently, but he did it today," the coach told The Athletic's Mike Sando after the 49ers beat the Saints. "[Drew] Brees moved down the field and scored. That is what you expect. I didn’t know that Garoppolo would be able to do it, but he did it."
Sando noted that in his annual "Quarterback Tiers" survey, the coach in question had Garoppolo on the second tier in 2017. Last season, after Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3, the coach moved Garoppolo down to the third tier of NFL quarterbacks.
Whether or not Garoppolo is an elite quarterback is up for debate. NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms feels the 49ers quarterback is "really good," but doesn't consider him elite. But what is for certain is that Garoppolo is not a "third tier" quarterback. He doesn't have the gaudy numbers like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson or Lamar Jackson, but Garoppolo has a 19-4 career record as a starter in the NFL. That can't be ignored.
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Garoppolo will have another chance to impress the offensive coach Sunday when the 49ers host the Falcons at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.