The worst was confirmed for one of the San Francisco 49ers‘ newest receivers.
San Francisco announced a pair of roster moves on Sunday, placing former Arizona Cardinal and Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver J.J. Nelson on injury reserve while re-signing Alex Barrett for the third time in 2020.
Nelson being placed on the IR likely means that his 49ers career has probably come to an end, and according to NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco, San Francisco is already working out an injury settlement with the receiver that they signed to a one-year deal just over two weeks ago.
However, what does that mean for the 49ers’ receiving group going forward?
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State of the 49ers Receivers
It’s been a tough offseason injury-wise for San Francisco, but the amount of issues that the team has ran into with the receiver group has been inordinately unfortunate.
For one, promising second-year receiver Jalen Hurd will sit out the entirety of the regular-season with a major knee injury, as he did in his rookie year in 2019. This is probably the most severe injury of the bunch, but sadly just one of several.
Deebo Samuel’s jones fracture back in June still has no set time-table for return, although it appears as if the 49ers could return him back by Week 1. However, San Francisco saw how tough of a recovery from the fracture can be with Trent Taylor missing the entire of the 2019 season with the same injury.
Along with Nelson’s recent injury, rookie and 2020 NFL Draft first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk appears to be battling an injury as well, aggravating a hamstring last week and missing practice in the ensuing week, which is somewhat concerning but likely for the best as the 49ers will look to ensure he’s healthy and ready for the opener against the Cardinals.
River Cracraft, Kevin White, Tavon Austin and Nelson have all joined the 49ers’ ranks to shore up competition for final roster spots while also providing a bit of NFL experience, but it will be interesting to see if San Francisco’s seemingly ever-changing group of receivers will be able to hit the ground running.
Things could be worse(somehow,) but the injury wave the 49ers have seen over the past month or two has caused constant changes and will continue to affect the team as they get ready for an important 2020 season.
Re-Signing of Barrett
Barrett continues to yo-yo from being a free agent to a 49er, which means that San Francisco is doing what they can to keep him around, but the former San Diego State Aztec does face an uphill challenge as a depth-player in what is arguably the most talented positional group on the roster.
It’s fairly likely that Barrett will enter the season as a practice-squad player based on the fact that the 49ers have released him to add new competitors and depth at the offensive line and wide receiver positions, but it remains to be seen if Barrett will be cut before the final roster.
Based on the past few months, it’s definitely possible Barrett will be waived by San Francisco for a fourth time in the past year.
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.