SANTA CLARA -- There are very few jobs within the 49ers that appear safe for the future.
General manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly are on the hot seat with the 49ers dropping a franchise-worst 12 consecutive games. But tight end Vance McDonald will certainly be back after signing what the club announced as a five-year contract extension on Friday night.
Kelly had nothing to do with the contract negotiation, but he did voice his support for getting McDonald under contract for the future, he said on Monday. McDonald was in the fourth and final year of his contract and scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the end of the season.
“I don’t negotiate contracts,” Kelly said, “but they asked me if wanted Vance back and I said, ‘Yes.’”
McDonald left Sunday’s game against the New York Jets with a shoulder injury in the first half before catching a pass. McDonald is third on the 49ers with 24 receptions for 391 yards and a team-best four touchdowns. He has scoring catches this season of 75 and 65 yards.
“I think he’s fit in very nicely in terms of what we’re trying to do,” Kelly said. “I think he’s a mismatch in the pass game for some people. If you try to match him with a linebacker, obviously his speed is probably better than any linebacker that’s going to cover him. He has a size matchup when you want to put a defensive back on him.
“We’ve exploited some teams with those matchups for us. I don’t know the number of plays over 60, but he’s had a few of those long catch and runs in mismatch situations where we found him. The speed that he has at the tight end spot is kind of rare and unique for him. So, obviously, I think he was a guy that when you look at the market for tight ends, kind of where he fits, you’re hoping you can keep your own guys home and that was the decision there.”
The 49ers chief contract negotiator is Paraag Marathe, the team’s chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations. Although the initial national report was the deal is worth $35 million with $16 million in guarantees, a league source told CSNBayArea.com, the contract is more in line with a three-year, $17 million deal with less than a $6 million signing bonus.