Despite Deebo Samuel‘s strong rookie season and the acquisition of veteran Emmanuel Sanders at the trade deadline, the 49ers have some question marks at wide receiver heading into next season. For instance, Sanders is ticketed for free agency, and while San Francisco will surely attempt to re-sign him, the club does have other key players with contract issues that need to be resolved and not a ton of cap space.
Plus, 2018 second-rounder Dante Pettis has failed to impress in his first two seasons in the league, 2019 third-rounder Jalen Hurd spent his entire rookie campaign on IR, and Marquise Goodwin will almost certainly be cut. So, in short, there is still an opportunity for Trent Taylor to have an impact on the team moving forward.
The Niners selected Taylor in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, HC Kyle Shanahan‘s and GM John Lynch‘s first in San Francisco. He showed promise as a receiver and as a punt returner in his rookie season, but he underwent back surgery prior to the 2018 campaign and said he never felt fully healthy that year.
He then missed all of 2019 due to a broken foot, so he is entering a critical moment in his career. He obviously needs to prove he can stay healthy and prove he can perform on the field, and that is especially important given that he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2021.
Last week, Taylor underwent five different procedures on his foot, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link). He is currently in a walking boot, and while he is expected to be out of the boot soon, there is no set timetable on his return. At this point, we don’t know if he will be fully recovered in time for offseason workouts.
As such, the Niners can’t afford to rely on Taylor in 2020. If he should perform well, that will be an added bonus, but the team needs to retain Sanders and may add a receiver or two in a WR-rich draft.
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