On Saturday former Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu Sr. agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers, this according to his agent, Mike McCartney, who announced the deal on Twitter.
The former third-round pick of the Bengals experienced the best years of his career with Atlanta (2016-19), but his production has declined significantly since the Falcons traded him to the New England Patriots in October 2019 in exchange for a second-round draft choice.
Mohamed Sanu’s Career Arc
Sanu, 31, entered the NFL in 2012 with the Bengals, having played his college ball at Rutgers. In four years with the Bengals he caught 152 passes for 1,793 yards and 11 touchdowns, while adding two rushing TDs. But his production was somewhat hampered by the other wide receiver talent in front of him on the depth chart in Cincinnati, including No. 1 receiver A.J. Green.
Yet the Falcons saw his upside potential and proceeded to sign him to a five-year, $32.5 million contract in free agency in March 2016. He went on to have the best years of his career in Atlanta, becoming a preferred target of quarterback Matt Ryan on third downs.
During his three-plus seasons in Atlanta, Sanu hauled in 225 passes for 2,507 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 14 times for 62 yards and completed two passes for 56 yards and two touchdowns, building on the passing success he experienced with the Bengals.
In fact, over the course of his career Sanu has completed seven of eight passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns, giving him a perfect passer rating of 158.8.
Sanu Has Been a Vagabond Since 2019
Upon leaving Atlanta and joining the Patriots in 2019, Sanu caught 26 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown in eight games, hardly the kind of production that would warrant giving up a second-round pick.
In September 2020 he inked a one-year deal with the 49ers but caught just a single pass in three games before getting released.
He went on to join the practice squad of the Detroit Lions and ultimately appeared in a total of seven games for the Lions, catching 16 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the fact that he is on the wrong side of thirty, San Francisco is probably as good a place as any to try to continue his NFL career as the 49ers need depth at the position and Sanu can provide a veteran presence in the wide receiver room. Best case scenario is that he replaces Kendrick Bourne as the No. 3 receiver, as Bourne has signed a contract with the Patriots.
Looking back at his career as a whole, the New Jersey native has amassed 420 receptions, 4,694 receiving yards and 27 touchdown catches. He also possesses a decent amount of playoff experience, with eight postseason starts and a total of 26 catches for 318 yards and two touchdowns in nine games.
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