Cameron Latu

49ers Rumors: Willis, Floyd, Ward

The 49ers have one of the NFL’s more complete rosters with few holes, if any. While tight end is certainly not a hole on the roster with George Kittle bringing his All-Pro talent to the offense, the team will be looking to fill in the depth behind him after the departures of Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley in free agency. Both former San Francisco backups signed with the Falcons this offseason.

According to Cam Inman of The Mercury News, second-year tight end Brayden Willis is making a case for the TE2 job in 2024. Willis, a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma, was the second tight end the team drafted last year following Cameron Latu, whom the team drafted in the third round out of Alabama. While Latu spent his rookie season recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL, Willis got depth experience with some special teams play and minimal snaps on offense.

The team does have some experience at the position in veteran free agent addition Eric Saubert, who can step in if Willis and Latu fail to make an impact during their sophomore campaigns. Local Cal-product Jake Tonges and Furman undrafted free agent Mason Pline serve as under the radar prospects at the position who will likely find their way to the practice squad. Some combination of Willis, Saubert, and Latu will likely be used to replace the backup production lost in Woerner and Dwelley’s departures.

Here are a few more rumors coming out of the Bay Area in recent weeks:

  • San Francisco may have added the complimentary pass rusher across from Nick Bosa that they’ve been looking for this offseason in Leonard Floyd. That signing can be directly attributed to another offseason addition: the hiring of assistant head coach Brandon Staley. Staley worked directly with Floyd in Chicago as the Bears outside linebackers coach in 2017 and 2018 and in Los Angeles as the Rams defensive coordinator in 2020. With Staley’s backing, Floyd became a priority free agent target this offseason for the 49ers.
  • Coming off of a second-team All-Pro season, cornerback Charvarius Ward is entering a contract year with the 49ers. In a recent interview on the Up & Adams show, Ward told Kay Adams that he’s “trying to get that bag.” He’s in no rush, though, as he said he’ll have to have his best year and, hopefully, get paid in 2025. He also shared an encouraging update on his injury status with Adams, telling her that he’ll “be ready for training camp for sure.”

Lions Match 49ers’ Brock Wright RFA Offer Sheet

The Lions will not let Brock Wright leave for California. Detroit is matching San Francisco’s three-year, $12MM RFA offer sheet,’s Ian Rapoport reports. The Lions have announced their decision to retain the fourth-year veteran.

Wednesday marked the deadline for the Lions to keep Wright on the 49ers’ terms or pass. Despite rostering breakout tight end Sam LaPorta, the Lions view Wright as a key auxiliary component of their offense. By virtue of the 49ers‘ offer sheet, Wright is no longer going year to year. Rather than playing out a rookie contract, he is now signed through 2026 with Detroit.

San Francisco lost top George Kittle backup Charlie Woerner, who joined the Falcons on a three-year, $12MM deal. That set the market for Wright, who became the rare RFA to receive an offer sheet. The 49ers included $6MM guaranteed in an attempt to prevent their most recent NFC championship game opponent from matching, but the Lions will do so anyway.

While this decision will extend the 49ers’ search for a No. 2 tight end, the Lions will end up paying Wright more than they had planned. They had given the former UDFA the low-end RFA tender, which called for a $2.99MM salary in 2024. The LaPorta sidekick will instead see a nice guarantee and see some security rather than playing out a contract year as a backup. Used frequently as a run-blocking presence in Detroit, the Notre Dame alum will continue developing in OC Ben Johnson‘s system rather than transitioning to Kyle Shanahan‘s.

Wright, 25, played 44% of Detroit’s offensive snaps last season. In 2022, that number came in at 52%. The 6-foot-5 pass catcher totaled 18 receptions for 216 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. This included a 51-yard game-winner against the Jets. With LaPorta in the fold last season, Wright totaled just 13 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. Pro Football Focus did not rate Wright well as a run blocker last season, grading him in the bottom quartile at the position. Still, 263 of Wright’s 423 offensive snaps came on run plays.

The 49ers will join the Dolphins and Bears as recent teams to submit an RFA offer sheet only to see it matched. The Broncos matched the Fins’ C.J. Anderson offer sheet in 2016, while the Bills kept Ryan Bates (before sending the O-lineman to the Bears earlier this year). San Francisco used a third-round pick on tight end Cameron Latu last year, but he suffered a torn ACL during the preseason. The 49ers viewed Latu as more of a developmental player, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, explaining their Wright move.

49ers Place Nick Bosa On Reserve/Did Not Report List, Pare Roster To 53

The 49ers joined the Chiefs in placing their best defensive player on the reserve/did not report list due to a holdout and joined the other 30 teams in finalizing their 53-man roster. Some changes are expected, with veterans pledged to stay. But here is how the 49ers reached 53:



Placed on reserve/did not report list:

Placed on IR:

Placed on reserve/PUP list:

The 49ers are planning to re-sign Hyder and Bryant once they make other roster moves, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Both are vested veterans who are not subject to waivers. With Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu gone, Hyder figures to be a key piece as a rotational defensive end. He is with the 49ers for the third time in four seasons. After an 8.5-sack slate in 2020, Hyder signed with the Seahawks. But Seattle released him in 2021, leading the veteran back to the Bay Area.

San Francisco’s 53-man roster will include Bosa soon, and this holdout does not appear as contentious as the Chris Jones-Chiefs standoff. John Lynch has indicated the 49ers will waive Bosa’s fines for missing training camp — an option the 49ers have due to Bosa being tied to a rookie contract. While the 49ers changed defensive coordinators, bringing in Steve Wilks to replace DeMeco Ryans, D-line coach Kris Kocurek remains in place. Bosa should be able to hit the ground running once he returns, though the 49ers are running short on time here.

Gonzalez suffered a calf injury Kyle Shanahan said would keep him out a few weeks. With the veteran landing on IR, an injury settlement is likely. The 49ers used a third-round pick on Michigan kicker Jake Moody, but Barrows notes the strained quadriceps injury he suffered may keep him out of Week 1. On that note, the 49ers worked out Tristan Vizcaino and Taylor Russolino, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Robbie Gould, the 49ers’ kicker for the past six seasons, remains unsigned.

49ers TE Cameron Latu Will Require Knee Surgery

The 49ers were hoping to add some quality depth behind star tight end George Kittle when they drafted Alabama’s Cameron Latu in the third round of this year’s draft. Unfortunately, the rookie’s NFL debut will be delayed quite a bit as he recovers from the meniscus injury he sustained in the team’s preseason matchup against the Chargers, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports.

Latu is set to undergo surgery to repair the damage from the injury that should require him to miss significant time, although it’s unclear as of now just how much time that will be. This lack of specific information on Latu’s eventual recovery puts San Francisco in a tough spot.

With the roster cut deadline rapidly approaching, the 49ers have a few options on how to approach Latu’s roster status. If they put Latu on injured reserve now, it would allow the team to retain one other player on the initial 53-man roster to start the regular season, but Latu’s rookie season would effectively become a redshirt year as he would be required to sit out the current season, barring a release and a re-signing.

The other option would see the 49ers dedicating a spot to Latu on the 53-man roster then immediately placing him on IR. This would allow the team to activate Latu later on in the season once he recovers, but it would require them to cut an extra player to make room for Latu. They could re-sign that extra player after shifting Latu to IR, but that would assume that the player has not been picked up by another team by then.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has said that the team will take a little more time to consider the timeline of Latu’s injury before making a decision, according to Angelo Guinhawa of Clutch Points. A lot of other roster decisions will factor into the call on Latu. If an updated prognosis shows the potential for a timely return, Latu could find himself making the 53-man roster before heading to IR.

In the meantime, Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley will continue to serve as backups to Kittle. Kittle dominates the snap share by a mile, but the eventual re-addition of Latu to the position room could provide some more options for San Francisco in the future.

49ers Finish Draft Class Deals

Without a first- or second-round pick in this year’s draft, the 49ers did not have an especially challenging task of rounding out their draft class signings. They cleared that low bar Friday, signing six draftees to their four-year rookie deals.

San Francisco agreed to terms with third-round safety Ji’Ayir Brown, third-round tight end Cameron Latu, sixth-round cornerback Dee Winters, seventh-round tight end Brayden Willis, seventh-round wide receiver Ronnie Bell and seventh-round linebacker Jalen Graham. The team began its rookie minicamp Friday, joining many other teams in this regard.

The two tight ends hail from Alabama and Oklahoma, respectively, with Latu arriving at pick No. 101, which the NFL gave to the 49ers as compensation for the Dolphins hiring Mike McDaniel as head coach in 2022. Willis stands to have a better path toward the 49ers’ 53-man roster as a result of 2022 backup Tyler Kroft joining McDaniels’ team earlier this week. Willis caught 39 passes for 514 yards for the Sooners as a senior. Fourth-year tight end Charlie Woerner resides as George Kittle‘s top veteran backup, though veteran Ross Dwelley remains on the team’s roster as well.

Brown came off the board to the 49ers with their first pick this year. The team moved up (via the Vikings) from No. 102 to select the Penn State product. Brown totaled 10 interceptions between the 2021 and ’22 seasons with the Nittany Lions, and the JUCO transfer added 4.5 sacks as a senior. He joins a 49ers team that lost Jimmie Ward in free agency. Scouts Inc. graded Brown as this year’s No. 67 overall prospect.

The 49ers have generated some production from recent seventh-round receiver draftee Jauan Jennings, whom they retained via an ERFA tender this offseason. Bell played five seasons at Michigan, finishing with 889 receiving yards as a senior. The 49ers traded their 2023 first-rounder to move up for Trey Lance two years ago and dealt their second-rounder in the Christian McCaffrey swap last year. Here is San Francisco’s 2023 draft class:

Round 3, No. 87 (from Vikings): Ji’Ayir Brown, S (Penn State) (signed)
Round 3, No. 99: Jake Moody, K (Michigan) (signed)
Round 3, No. 101: Cameron Latu, TE (Alabama) (signed)
Round 5, No. 155 (from Dolphins): Darrell Luter Jr., CB (South Alabama) (signed)
Round 5, No. 173: Robert Beal Jr., DE (Georgia) (signed)
Round 6, No. 216: Dee Winters, LB (TCU) (signed)
Round 7, No. 247: Brayden Willis, TE (Oklahoma) (signed)
Round 7, No. 253: Ronnie Bell, WR (Michigan) (signed)
Round 7, No. 255: Jalen Graham, LB (Purdue) (signed)