Ex-49ers WR Signs With Falcons in Free Agency: Report

Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III

Getty Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III

The San Francisco 49ers brought back Jauan Jennings, but another free agent WR will be leaving the team for the Atlanta Falcons. After two seasons in Santa Clara, California, Ray-Ray McCloud III is departing the 49ers franchise.

The news was first reported on March 14 by NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.

“More speed for the #Falcons: They’re signing veteran WR and return man Ray-Ray McCloud to a two-year deal worth up to $6 million, per source,” Pelissero wrote on X. “The deal for @RMIII_34 was negotiated by agent @blakebaratz of @TeamIFA.” 

McCloud is best known for his special teams return duties, but he also carved out an offensive role in San Francisco. Now, he’ll see if he can step into an even bigger role with the Falcons.

Considering that Atlanta just added a new franchise QB in Kirk Cousins, how McCloud adapts will be interesting. But any potential reunion will have to wait until the playoffs or the 2025 season, as the Falcons and 49ers are not scheduled to play each other in 2024.

McCloud Continues NFL Journey With Falcons

Before joining San Francisco in 2022, McCloud had spent the first four years of his career with the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers. While he had established himself during those stints, his 49ers tenure was a step up.

According to PFR, McCloud scored multiple touchdowns for the first time in his career in 2022. He not only caught a touchdown, but he ran for one as well. He totaled 321 yards from scrimmage and 17.8 yards per touch.

In 2023, he caught another TD but his offensive production dropped to 165 total yards. Over his two seasons with the 49ers, McCloud averaged 9.8 yards per punt return and 23.0 yards per kick return.

It’s almost puzzling that McCloud has never returned a kick for a touchdown. The closest he’s come was a 57-yard punt return in 2020. His deepest return of any kind with the 49ers was a 39-yard kick return in 2022.

49ers Set to Bring Back Jauan Jennings

While McCloud has his sights set on Atlanta, Jennings appears to be coming back to San Francisco. While he could still technically leave if a team is willing to give the 49ers a second-round pick in compensation, that feels unlikely.

The 49ers’ choice to tender Jennings was first reported by NBC Sports reporter Matt Maiocco on March 11.

“The #49ers have tendered restricted free agent WR Jauan Jennings at the second-round level,” Maiocco wrote on X. “Jauan Jennings is set to make $4.89 million on the tender for the 2024 season. The sides can continue to negotiate a multi-year extension. Any team that signs him to an offer sheet that the 49ers decide not to match must part ways with a second-round draft pick.”

Jennings has taken a support role behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but stepped up in the 2024 Super Bowl. Besides catching four passes for 42 yards and a TD, Jennings found RB Christian McCaffrey for a trick-play touchdown pass.

Now, he’ll get a significant pay raise from the $940,000 salary he was earning during the 2023 season.

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