Jordan Matthews‘ quest to change positions took a major hit this week. The 49ers wideout-turned-tight end tore his ACL during practice on Monday, reports Can Inman of the San Jose Mercury (on Twitter). The veteran will be placed on injured reserve.
Matthews announced his plan to switch to tight end last offseason, and he added 30 pounds in preparation for his new role. The 49ers decided to ease the former receiver into his new position, so Matthews ended up spending the majority of the 2021 campaign on San Francisco’s practice squad. The 30-year-old apparently made good use of his time, with Inman noting that the veteran had “made strides” in converting to the tight end position over the past year. Inman also described Matthews as a “strong contender” to make the 53-man roster. Now, the player will have to wait another year to prove he can stick at the position.
The former second-round pick made a name for himself as a receiver on the Eagles. Between the 2014 and 2016 seasons, Matthews averaged 891 receiving yards and more than six touchdowns per season. Since then, he’s bounced around the league a bit, mostly alternating stints with the Eagles and 49ers. He’s also spent time with the Bills and Patriots.
Tartt should not be expected to miss the rest of the season, having suffered a knee contusion against the Colts. But the veteran safety is down for at least the next three games. A seventh-year veteran, Tartt has made 56 regular-season starts but has dealt with injuries for most of his career.
This is a familiar transaction for Tartt, who missed time due to injury in each of the 49ers’ past four seasons. A broken arm moved Tartt to IR in 2017, and a shoulder malady shelved Tartt for part of the 2018 season. A rib injury cost Tartt four games in 2019, though he returned for the 49ers’ three playoff contests, and a turf toe bout ended his 2020 campaign. The turf toe issue dragged into this summer’s training camp, with Tartt beginning on the 49ers’ active/PUP list. He returned in time for Week 1, but more injury trouble has intervened.
Overall, Tartt missed 28 games from 2017-20. These setbacks have not shaken the 49ers’ confidence in Tartt. They extended the former seventh-round pick in 2018 and gave him another new deal this year. The most recent Tartt contract only runs through season’s end, however.
Tartt joins Kinlaw and linebacker Dre Greenlaw on IR. The 49ers will also be without Dee Ford and starting linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair for Week 8. Rotational defensive lineman Kevin Givens is back on San Francisco’s active roster, however, after his IR stay. The 49ers also promoted tight end Jordan Matthews and safety Kai Nacua from their practice squad.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks and 49ers moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Jordan Matthews has found his next team. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran wideout (and hopeful tight end) is signing with the 49ers. The team has waived wideout Bennie Fowler to make room on the roster (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter).
Matthews has bounced on and off the 49ers roster since 2019, although that’s only resulted in three appearances with the organization. Now, the veteran is hoping to reinvent himself as a tight end; the 6-foot-3 target has added 30 pounds this offseason, which should give him the weight to play the position. Matthews also worked out with teammate (and fellow tight end) George Kittle.
Matthews, a former second-round pick, had at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, but he’s struggled to match that production over the past few years. Since 2017, Matthews has hauled in only 49 receptions for 615 yards and three scores. The 29-year-old is hoping the position change will help jump start his career.
We heard that a handful of teams had their eye on the veteran, but the only squad that had been definitively connected to Matthews were the Titans and Jets. Instead of joining the AFC, Matthews will be sticking in San Francisco, and he’ll have a good opportunity to make the roster behind Kittle. The veteran will be competing with Charlie Woerner, Ross Dwelley, MyCole Pruitt, and Josh Pederson for snaps.
Fowler, 30, joined the 49ers back in May. The wideout has appeared in 68 career games, hauling in 97 receptions for 1,101 yards and six touchdowns. He saw time in five games for the Saints in 2020, catching two passes for 11 yards.
The Jordan Matthews audition tour is heading to New York. The veteran wideout (and perhaps future tight end) had a tryout with the Jets today, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter).
Matthews, a former second-round pick, had at least 800 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, but he’s struggled to match that production over the past few years. Since 2017, Matthews has hauled in only 49 receptions for 615 yards and three scores. He saw time in the 49ers’ final two games of the 2020 season, appearing on 14 offensive snaps without recording a catch.
We learned earlier this offseason that the veteran was hoping to reinvent his career as a tight end. The 29-year-old has added 30 pounds this offseason; standing at 6-foot-3, Matthews always had the height to play tight end. Now tipping the scales at somewhere above 230 pounds, he has the bulk too. Matthews also spent time working out with NFL tight ends like George Kittle and Robert Tonyan, and he visited the University of Louisville to train with wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer and assistant tight ends coach Stu Holt.
We heard that a handful of teams had their eye on the veteran, but the only team that’s been definitively connected to Matthews was the Titans. We can now add the Jets to that list, and it makes sense that the team would consider some depth at the position. Besides Chris Herndon, the team has a number of uninspiring options like Ryan Griffin, Tyler Kroft, Trevon Wesco, Daniel Brown, and rookie Kenny Yeboah.