SANTA CLARA -- In the span of three days, 49ers tight end Vance McDonald went from securing his long-term future with the club to seeing his season come to an abrupt end.
On Friday, McDonald received a $7 million signing bonus as part of a three-year contract with a club option for two additional seasons. McDonald was in the fourth and final season of the original deal he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2013.
Two days later, he sustained a fractured left scapula (shoulder blade) that prompted the 49ers to place him on season-ending injured reserve.
The 49ers are on a 12-game losing streak and there is considerable uncertainty with a lot of members of the organization. McDonald’s status is safe, and he campaigned for coach Chip Kelly to be part of the team’s future, too.
“The longer Chip’s here, the more comfortable we’ll get with offense,” McDonald said. “I think there’s a ton to build on, just individually. This year I thought with the opportunities I was given I made the most out of each play. It’s just something to build on.
“I would love for Chip to be back. I’ve really enjoyed playing under him. His offense is a ton of fun, especially at the tight end position. But just for me, individually, I like the way he’s always in attack mode and attack mindset. I just appreciate that. And I like his program, too.”
McDonald caught 24 passes for 391 yards through 10 games this season before exiting in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets with the injury. He caught 30 passes last season after the trade of Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos opened the door for him to become the starter.
McDonald became a big-play threat for the 49ers this season. He averaged 16.3 yards per reception, with touchdown catches totaling 75 and 65 yards.
The 49ers had a chance to win the game with some production on their final three offensive possessions Monday night.
The 49ers had success on the ground with running backs Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida, but the first two of those possessions began with failed run plays.
Breida was stopped for no gain to open a series that began at their own 4-yard line. On the next possession, Mostert was stopped for a 1-yard loss when the 49ers took over at their own 23-yard line.
After Mostert’s run play, the 49ers finished the night with five consecutive pass plays in their 33-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. On the final play, quarterback C.J. Beathard’s pass was intercepted at the Green Bay 10-yard line. Aaron Rodgers took over, and the Packers finished it off with a game-winning field goal on the final play.
“You’re trying to win a game,” Shanahan said Tuesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “In hindsight when it’s over, anytime something doesn’t work, whether I like my play call or not, if it doesn’t work, you always wish you did something different.
With 1:49 remaining in regulation, the 49ers took over at their own 47. Beathard hit tight end George Kittle on a 7-yard pass. Beathard’s second-down pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage. And third down resulted in Beathard’s interception.
“I felt pretty strongly that they were going to come after us and bring more than we could handle in the run game, which usually leaves open a very good slant window,” Shanahan said of the second-down play call. “That’s what I thought was the best thing at the time. But they tipped the ball. They tipped it and we didn’t get a chance to complete it, which was unfortunate.
“But when you get into third and 3 versus an all-out blitz, there’s not many runs for that. That was the play that we didn’t make right there, and that’s what happened.”
The 49ers on Tuesday signed veteran quarterback Tom Savage to be the team’s No. 3 quarterback behind starter C.J. Beathard and backup Nick Mullens.
The 49ers waived tight end Cole Wick to make room for Savage on the 53-man roster. They also released offensive lineman Zach Golditch from the practice squad.
Savage, 28, appeared in 13 games with nine starts over four seasons with the Houston Texans. He started seven games last season, completing 56.1 percent of his passes for 1,412 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. He was a fourth-round pick of the Texans in 2014.
"He’s got a strong arm. He’s a very tough player," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He hangs in that pocket and plays the position well. I was a fan of his coming out of college. He’s gotten to play in a number of NFL games, so he’s been battle tested."
Savage and Matt Simms impressed the 49ers during a workout two days after Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 3. But the 49ers opted to sign Savage because of his experience of playing last season.
The other quarterbacks who tried out were Landry Jones, E.J. Manuel, Kellen Clemens, T.J. Yates and Kyle Allen.
"He was in a tough situation in Houston that didn’t work out for him," Shanahan said of Savage. "But I got to study him this preseason when he was in New Orleans, and they have some similarities in their offense as ours."
Savage went to camp with the New Orleans Saints this summer but was cut Sept. 1. Shanahan said Savage received praise from Saints coach Sean Payton.
Savage will wear No. 14 for the 49ers.