The San Francisco 49ers have a lot of young and raw talent, such as WR DeAndre Smelter, at the wide receiver spot, but a lot of these players are also underdeveloped and in need of a veteran presence.
There are still a few wide receivers left on the market who are worth signing. One name that comes to mind is of course WR Anquan Boldin, who has led the 49ers in receiving yards the past three seasons. According to reports however, WR James Jones, another veteran wide receiver, said that he wanted to play for the Niners.
FA WR James Jones: I’m training right here in the Bay Area and I would love to stay at home and play for the #49ers.
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) June 1, 2016
If what the Niners are doing is truly a rebuilding process, adding Jones for a year or two would be a smart move. The Green Bay Packers took a chance on him last season when WR Jordy Nelson was injured, and many thought he was washed up. He quickly put all those thoughts to rest, however, with 890 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.
At 32 years old, he is still surprisingly quick and very smart with making lateral cuts. He has the ability to work with very little space and find that extra gear that many young wide receivers have. Turning a 10 yard gain into a 65 yard touchdown by eluding the tackle is something that could energize the 49ers offense. If he does that even once in a while, confidence will soar for whoever is starting at quarterback.
Additionally, if either QB Blaine Gabbert or QB Colin Kaepernick can float a pass in his general direction, he has the hands and leaping ability to grab a lob-type pass out of the air in the end zone.
He’s still rolling at 32 years old, much like Boldin is. Unlike Boldin, however, he has been playing with QB Aaron Rodgers for the majority of his career. Not only will he be able to mentor young receivers, but he will also be able to tell the 49ers’ quarterbacks exactly what it is that they’re doing wrong when the offense isn’t flowing well.
If anything, the Niners should sign Jones just to bolster their depth at wide receiver, which is actually a position that will be important in resurrection of the abysmal offense. WR Quinton Patton is just stepping into the spotlight, and Smelter is, at this point, a work in progress. Signing Jones would add depth and experience; additionally, Jones proved last season that he’s not quite yet.
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