Trent Taylor

49ers roster analysis: More receiver depth needed around Deebo Samuel

49ers roster analysis: More receiver depth needed around Deebo Samuel

This is the third installment of a nine-part series that examines the 49ers’ roster coming out of the 2019 season, looks ahead to 2020, and outlines the offseason challenges facing general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan on a position-by-position basis.

Wednesday, a look at the 49ers’ wide receivers.

Under contract (signed through)

Deebo Samuel (2022)
Richie James (2021)
Dante Pettis (2021)
Trent Taylor (2020)
Jalen Hurd (2022)
Marquise Goodwin (2021)
Chris Thompson (2021)
Shawn Poindexter (2021)

As the 49ers look for ways to tighten up their cap situation, they likely will get out from under Goodwin’s contract, which is scheduled to pay him $4.5 million in salary and bonuses this season. Goodwin was placed on season-ending injured reserve in December.

Expiring contracts

Emmanuel Sanders (UFA)
Kendrick Bourne (RFA)
Jordan Matthews (UFA)

Sanders’ most recent contract paid him on average $11 million annually. OverTheCap.com has Sanders valued at $10 million for his next contract. That might be a bit steep for the 49ers, who would stand to gain a compensatory draft pick in 2021, if Sanders leaves for a sizable contract.

In 13 games with the 49ers, including the postseason, Sanders caught 41 passes for 573 yards and three TDs.

Bourne is a priority to bring back. He is scheduled to be a restricted free agent. If the 49ers are unable to sign him to a multi-year contract, the club will have a decision to make.

If they place an original-round tender of $2.1 million on Bourne, the 49ers would receive no compensation if another team signs him to an offer sheet and they decline to match. But if they raise the tender to a second-round level of approximately $3.3 million, they would be assured of keeping him or getting a second-round draft pick in return.

What needs to happen

Toward the end of the season, the 49ers clearly did not have a lot of trust in their depth at wide receiver. Samuel, Sanders and Bourne were the team’s top three wideouts. After that, they got zero production.

Pettis went three full months without catching a pass. He was inactive for Super Bowl LIV. Pettis finished his rookie season on a high note and looked good during the offseason program a year ago. His decline upon reporting to training camp was dramatic. He still has a chance to work his way back as a contributor, but it will take a major commitment on his part.

James generally did a good job as a return man, but he did not see much action on offense.

Taylor and Hurd were expected to be key players on offense last season, but neither played a snap during the regular season due to injuries that landed both on injured reserve. Taylor underwent five surgeries after sustaining a Jones fracture in his foot. Hurd never got back after a stress reaction in his back.

The 49ers must make a decision on how to approach contract talks with Sanders, who enjoyed his time with the club after arriving in a midseason trade from Denver. Bourne should be back. So the 49ers will have to decide if they’re comfortable with a depth chart that includes Samuel, Bourne, Pettis, Taylor, Hurd and James.

This is being hailed as a great draft for wide receivers, so the 49ers could look to add another young player. If they hold onto the No. 31 overall pick, the 49ers could look at receiver. Or a better strategy would be to trade back, acquire multiple picks on the second day of the draft, and add a promising young player at that point.

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Expectations

The 49ers were not expecting Samuel to play as much as a rookie. They had no other choice but to keep him on the field. It was a learning process, and he made a lot of mistakes. But Samuel got better and better, and now he is being counted upon to take his game to a higher level in Year 2 as the team's top wide receiver.

Bourne is capable of being a starter. He just needs to show more consistency. If Taylor is healthy, he could end up as the 49ers’ leading pass-catcher. The 49ers did not have a true slot receiver who could get open quickly for Jimmy Garoppolo on third downs. Taylor is that player.

Hurd has the kind of versatility that excites coach Kyle Shanahan because of the strain he can put on defenses -- especially in no-huddle situations at the end of halves. Hurd can line up outside, in the slot, at tight end or in the backfield. Shanahan is good at dictating matchups, and Hurd will be valuable in helping the 49ers expose the weak link of defenses.

Pettis’ best attribute is his ability to run choice routes, in which he can set up a defender and break off his pattern to create maximum separation from the defender. Pettis has to better his durability and be willing to take those routes into traffic over the middle.

Whether it’s in the draft or free agency, the 49ers also would like to add a bigger wide receiver who can stretch the field and provide a target for Garoppolo in the red zone, too.

Trent Taylor hopes to be ready for 49ers camp after five foot surgeries

Trent Taylor hopes to be ready for 49ers camp after five foot surgeries

SANTA CLARA -- After a very productive training camp, Trent Taylor was slated to have a breakout season in 2019 but unfortunately things did not go as planned for the 49ers wide receiver. 

Five foot surgeries later, Taylor doesn’t have a timeframe for when he will be on the field again but his hope is to be ready for training camp. On Tuesday, he explained what he has been going through since his initial surgery back in August of 2019. 

The plan was to put hardware into Taylor’s fractured bone as a preventive measure, making his recovery a four-to-six week process. Waiting until the bone is broken becomes an eight-to-ten week recovery. 

Things got more complicated when Taylor’s body and the installed screw didn’t cooperate. He had another surgery to insert different hardware and that’s when the foot got infected. The third surgery was to clean out the infection as well as installing a PICC line in order to have a constant stream of antibiotics entering his system. 

That still wasn’t enough to combat the infection in Taylor’s foot, so doctors finally inserted an antibiotic device into the bone itself which remained installed for six weeks. The fifth and final surgery was to remove the antibiotic device. 

Taylor is currently still wearing a walking boot but hopes to be without it soon.

“I think one thing I definitely learned was that all you can do is control what you can control,” Taylor said as the 49ers cleaned out their lockers last Wednesday. “I could just sit around and pout about the bad situation that I’m in and how everything is unfair how this happened to me and whatnot. But that would be just digging myself into a deeper hole. 

“So, no time to pout about it, you just got to keep moving forward, and just go with what I got right now and that’s starting back at ground zero, back to walking and then eventually running and getting back to it.” 

The 49ers' Cinderella journey to Super Bowl LIV made watching from the sidelines a little more tolerable for Taylor but there’s nothing that could make missing an entire season pleasant. 

“Definitely a blast to watch, just to see how successful we were just compared to the last couple years that I’ve been here,” Taylor said. “So that was a good feeling. It was kind of a bittersweet feeling just to see it happen and me not to be able to be a part of it.”  

[RELATED: Fred Warner focused on improvements in 2020]

Taylor not only struggled through foot surgery in 2019 but had a challenging sophomore campaign after going through back surgery during the 2018 offseason. Over his two seasons, he has tallied 69 catches for 645 yards and three touchdowns. 

Taylor has shown a great deal of potential on the field, instantly becoming a reliable target for Jimmy Garoppolo when the quarterback was traded to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season. 

49ers' Trent Taylor looks to return in spring after five surgeries

49ers' Trent Taylor looks to return in spring after five surgeries

SANTA CLARA -- After undergoing five surgeries that kept him out for the entire 2019 season, 49ers receiver Trent Taylor told NBC Sports Bay Area he hopes to be ready to practice in organized team activities in the spring. 

Taylor looked to be in line to have a strong season before a broken bone, known as Jones fracture, in his right foot sidelined him during training camp. Following a proactive surgery to “get ahead” of the injury, he felt healthy enough to start working out again.

Unfortunately for Taylor, the area around his foot became irritated and pushed back his return. 

After having his second surgery following the irritation, Taylor dealt with further complications involving an infection. In November, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Taylor would not play again until next season.

Three further surgeries that included antibiotics placed near the infection site finally have the receiver back at the facility but in a walking boot and on crutches for now. 

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Taylor’s final surgery was performed on Jan. 2, and the receiver says the “bone looks good,” which has him expecting a return for OTAs. Taylor added that time off the field has been rough but he's trying to look on the bright side.

“It could always be worse," Taylor said.

Taylor was at Levi's Stadium on Sunday and watched the 49ers play the Minnesota Vikings from a suite in the tower at Levi’s Stadium, as George Kittle did while sitting out in Weeks 10 and 11.