The goal for the San Francisco 49ers this season should be making the transition into being the starting quarterback as easy as possible for Trey Lance. If that means loading up on more offensive weapons, then so be it.
There have been a lot of rumors swirling about Deebo Samuel’s future with the team. Samuel requested a trade the week before the 2022 NFL Draft, and while some trade discussions were held, nothing came to fruition.
If the 49ers can convince Samuel to return to the team, Lance would benefit greatly. Samuel is one of the most physically gifted wide receivers in the NFL, turning in an All-Pro season in 2021. If he is ultimately moved, their game plan will have to change.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has always wanted to use multiple tight end sets. He has one of the best players at the position in George Kittle, but finding a complementary player for him has not come easily. Could that change this offseason?
One player that would fit the bill for what Shanahan is looking for is Jared Cook. They didn’t use a draft pick on a tight end, so bringing in the veteran is something that they could do to help offset the potential loss of Samuel.
Cook doesn’t possess the same level of athleticism at this point in his career as he did earlier when he was a matchup problem for opposing defenses, but he can still get the job done. Last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, Cook caught 48 passes for 564 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games.
Given how much receiving talent there was in Los Angeles, those are strong numbers for the 13-year veteran. His size still makes him a difference-maker in the red zone as he could provide another safety blanket for Lance to get the ball to.
Cook is nearing the end of his career, but he is still an upgrade on what the 49ers have at the position behind Kittle. Bringing him in as insurance and a little extra punch to the passing game would be a smart move for John Lynch and the front office to make.