While the San Francisco 49ers‘ wide receiver group has serious potential, many of the Niners’ promising wideouts lack a veteran’s experience.
A receiver who doesn’t lack that experience is former Carolina Panther and Minnesota Viking Jarius Wright, who tweeted out that Washington was interested in Wright, but that the 49ers had also been looking at the receiver as a possible addition.
Washington realistically needed more WR depth and now for sure with Harmon down. Jarius Wright makes for an obvious candidate based on ties to Turner/Rivera. Don't know if he's on the short list yet. He is on San Francisco's at least and possibly other teams.
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) July 14, 2020
Like Washington, San Francisco has also had injury trouble with their receivers this offseason, although the 49ers have had to deal with not just one injury but two, as second-season option Deebo Samuel and veteran Richie James Jr. both suffered untimely injuries in back-to-back days.
With several, albeit unproven, options like 2020 NFL Draft first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk, seventh-round pick Jauan Jennings and 2019 NFL Draft third-rounder Jalen Hurd, it may seem like the 49ers are already overloaded, but injuries are proving that a team can never have enough options.
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Wright’s Career to 2020
Since joining the Vikings in the 2012 NFL Draft, Wright has started at least one game in each season save for 2017, where he still made 16 regular-season appearances with Minnesota.
Wright’s nine starts in 2019 were the most in a season for the former Arkansas Razorback, and his impressive 111 appearances through his career is just a basic sign that Wright is viewed as a player that can contribute in every game and step into a starting role when needed.
Wright boasts 12.4 yards per reception over his career, which would rank him third on the 49ers’ current roster in the context of the 2019 season, with James Jr. averaging 27.5 yards on six receptions and Samuel averaging 14.1 in 2019.
One of the most interesting stats for Wright is his catch percentage. After five consecutive seasons with a catching percentage of 67.7 or higher, Wright and Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen didn’t sync up very well, with Wright catching just 28 passes on 58 attempts for a 48.3 percentage.
Wright’s never played with especially elite quarterbacks, but getting him in 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme could lead to the 30-year-old receiver and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo connecting at a much higher and dangerous rate than Wright did with Allen.
Wright Compared to Other 49ers’ Veterans
On the 49ers’ current roster, the only 30-year-old or older receiver is Travis Benjamin, who has produced a slightly better resume with 3,143 career receiving yards and eight more touchdowns than Wright’s 11.
However, injuries over the past two seasons have seen Benjamin have to come to Santa Clara, California on a basic, one-year, $1 million deal to prove himself.
Wright doesn’t have the same issues with injuries, and could likely be brought in for a deal of similar value, with maybe just a little bit more guaranteed money.
Other than the 30-year-old Benjamin, the 49ers’ oldest receivers on the current roster are Trent Taylor and Chris Thompson, who are still just 26-years-old. No spring chickens, but definitely not the type of veteran presence that a player like Emmanuel Sanders brought in 2019.
Wright isn’t going to hit Sanders’ production per game, but is proven to consistently perform, stay healthy and could teach one of the youngest groups on the San Francisco roster a thing or two. If he’s available for a deal similar to Benajamin’s, it only makes sense to see what the former Panther has to offer.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.