After more than five months on the free-agent market, former Washington tight end Jordan Reed signed a one-year deal to join Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers.
It was a low-risk high-reward move by the 49ers to bring in the talented, yet injury-plagued 30-year-old. They have arguable the best tight end in the game in George Kittle, so if Reed's past struggles with concussions rear its ugly head again, the San Francisco offense won't be largely impacted.
But if Reed can stay healthy enough to play a large portion of the season, Shanahan thinks he can become a serious steal for the 49ers.
“When you have a talented guy who’s hungry to play football, it works out if they can stay healthy, Shanahan said, according to NBCS Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. And Jordan has had some bad luck over the years. I know he’s ready to go. I hope he has some good luck here. And if he does, I think it’s going to be a hell of a deal for the Niners and a really good deal for him, also.”
A 49er offense with a healthy Reed playing in two-tight-end sets with Kittle is a scary thought, especially when you consider San Francisco's consistently strong running game. If quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo can make defenses pay downfield enough, there just wouldn't be a way to defend them. Then there's the 49ers' nasty pass rush led by Nick Bosa on the other side to give teams problems.
This isn't the first time we've heard a coach gush about Reed's talent. His ability has never been the issue. In 2015 and 2016, Reed was in the conversation with Rob Gronkowski as the league's best tight end, catching over 150 passes for 1,638 yards and 17 touchdowns in two years. If it weren't for seven diagnosed concussions throughout his career, who knows what kind of player he could have become.
Perhaps Reed can tap into the production he has left in him with the 49ers. Maybe he can avoid the head injuries that have plagued his career. Nobody is rooting against him making a comeback, the unfortunate part is we haven't had a reason to believe it'll happen.
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