49ers

Vance McDonald makes push to be part of 49ers' future

Vance McDonald makes push to be part of 49ers' future

ORLANDO, Fla. – It has taken tight end Vance McDonald a while, but he has become a legitimate threat in the 49ers’ passing game.

McDonald, a second-round draft pick in 2013, recorded just 10 receptions in his first two seasons. He started to see more action last season after the 49ers dealt Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos at the trade deadline. He has started 20 games the past two seasons, including all nine games in which he has appeared this year.

“I just always look back at the opportunity when Vernon went to (Denver),” McDonald said. “Just being able to have the trust and the opportunity to start games and play every down.”

Through three seasons, McDonald had not produced and given few indications that he warranted a contract extension. But as a player who is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in the offseason, McDonald is making a convincing argument to become a priority for the 49ers to re-sign.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 22 receptions and second behind Jeremy Kerley with 382 receiving yards. McDonald has a team-leading four touchdown catches, including scoring plays of 75 and 65 yards.

“He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said. “So really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”

Even the 49ers’ designated deep threat, wide receiver Torrey Smith, has not been able to shake free for as many big gains as McDonald, who is listed at 267 pounds.

“Vance has done a great job,” Smith said. “I’m very happy for him, especially knowing how hard he’s been fighting over the years. He’s finally getting a chance to show what he can do. And he’s done a great job. He’s very fast. That’s what helps him out a lot. It’s not often you can get a tight end and take it to the house, running past everyone.”

McDonald said he believes Kelly’s system allows him a greater opportunity to be part of the team’s passing attack.

“It provides the tight end an opportunity to be a big playmaker,” McDonald said. “I’ve welcomed that idea and embraced that role this year. It’s been a lot of fun.

“As an offense, I like looking at a bigger picture, and we have to be more consistent. I can help with that and I’m trying my best.”

 

49ers place Trent Taylor on IR, re-sign veteran tackle Sam Young

49ers place Trent Taylor on IR, re-sign veteran tackle Sam Young

The 49ers on Friday signed veteran offensive tackle Sam Young to a one-year contract and placed wide receiver Trent Taylor on injured reserve.

Taylor, who underwent surgery Aug. 10 to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, must sit out for at least eight weeks before he is eligible to return to the 49ers’ 53-man roster and appear in a game.

Originally, the 49ers placed Taylor's timetable to return at four to six weeks. As recently as last week, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he hoped Taylor would be able to return to action after the 49ers' Week 4 bye.

Taylor was expected to be one of the team’s leading pass-catchers this season before he sustained the fracture to the fifth metatarsal on his right foot. Since the 49ers selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, Taylor has appeared in 29 games and caught 69 passes for 645 yards and three touchdowns.

The 49ers re-signed Young, who was among their final cuts before the start of the regular season. The 49ers require more depth at offensive tackle after Joe Staley broke his left fibula, an injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Rookie Justin Skule is scheduled to start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at left tackle.

[RELATED: Jimmy G headlines 49ers to watch in Week 3]

In his nine-year NFL career, Young has appeared in 88 games with 21 starts with Dallas, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Miami. Young will wear No. 65 for the 49ers.

Why Richard Sherman believes it's good to have unhappy high-profile players leave their teams

Why Richard Sherman believes it's good to have unhappy high-profile players leave their teams

SANTA CLARA – Players in the NFL do not have the advantage of guaranteed contracts, such as those in the NBA. But more and more, NFL players are leveraging their star status to bounce from one team to another.

And cornerback Richard Sherman, the 49ers player representative and a vice president on the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, views that as a positive all the way around.

“I’m sure the owners don’t like that,” Sherman said. “They don’t want to give up any power or for players to flex their power, but I think it’s good for the game. It’s good for the game to have some differences.”

Wide receiver Antonio Brown forced a trade from Pittsburgh to the Raiders this spring. Then, he got his way out of Oakland in order to land with the New England Patriots. The Steelers this week acquired Miami defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick after the second-year safety demanded a trade from the Miami Dolphins.

Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade out of Jacksonville. Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams and Chargers running back Melvin Gordon are high-profile holdouts. Former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell sat out all of 2018 in order to hit free agency, where he landed a lucrative contract with the New York Jets.

Sherman said he believes the player movement is good for the game because it is different than what the NFL has experienced in the past. Until recently, it was rare for high-profile players to switch teams at the heights of their careers.

[RELATED: Jimmy G headlines 49ers to watch in Week 3 vs. Steelers]

Now, marquee players -- such as Odell Beckham Jr. and Khalil Mack who were traded to Cleveland and Chicago, respectively – are moving with more frequency for ample draft-pick compensation.

“People are starting to realize the first-round picks aren’t as valuable as they used to be,” Sherman said. “It’s what can you do for me now? Rather than waiting and developing a player who may develop or may not develop, you’re getting players that you know who they’re going to be. You know what they are.”

Sherman said an added benefit of players exercising their rights to get out of bad situations is it should inspire NFL teams to treat their players better in order to foster loyalty.

“I think players are becoming more volatile and more frustrated and more angry, and (they are) doing their best to get out of those situations,” Sherman said. “So, hopefully, these organizations treat these players better and players move forward and it works out well for both sides.”