49ers Lose Shot at $12 Million Tight End: Report

Brock Wright

Getty Brock Wright will stay with the Lions instead of joining the 49ers.

The San Francisco 49ers lost out on recent restricted free agent tight end Brock Wright on Wednesday.

Instead, the Detroit Lions matched the 49ers offer as Wright inked a three-year, $12 million offer sheet per sources via ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Wright played the past three seasons for the Lions, and the team matched with the 49ers’ offer sheet within five days.

San Francisco needs a second tight end behind George Kittle after Charlie Woerner signed with the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. Wright would have brought solid No. 2 tight end experience to the Bay Area amid his 43 receptions for 424 yards and seven touchdowns in 41 career games.

3 Potential TE Free Agent Targets for 49ers

While there aren’t younger big names on the open market, the 49ers could turn to a few of better-known veterans over 30.

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, 37, once looked like one of the best at his position. He only had six catches for 39 yards and four touchdowns in 13 game appearances last season, but the Saints also only paid him a minimal contract of one-year, $1.31 million.

“Unsure of what the future holds for myself, but I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to wear [No.] 80 again and find the end zone in the only home I know,” Graham wrote on Instagram on March 29.

Once a Pro Bowler, Chicago Bears tight end Marcedes Lewis, 39, played in all 17 games but only had four catches for 29 yards and touchdown but only made $2 million on a one-year deal with the team. Overall, Lewis has 436 catches for 5,113 yards and 40 touchdowns in his 18-year career.

“I want to play,” Lewis said via The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain in January. “I knew I wanted to play a month ago. My energy, my mind for it, my film.”

Lastly, the 49ers could bring back tight end Blake Bell, 32, who began his career with the team. Bell spent the past three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he has 65 catches for 667 yards and two touchdowns for his career. He had a one-year, $1.165 million deal with the team in 2023.

3 Tights Ends the 49ers Could Draft

San Francisco could do quite well going the draft route for a second tight end behind Kittle.

The second-best tight end in the draft, Texas’ J’aTavion Sanders is considered “a Tier 1 athlete” per Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema. Sanders had 99 catches for 1,295 yards and seven touchdowns in the past two seasons for the Longhorns.

“He is still mastering the nuances of tight end play, and he needs more of a mean streak consistently as a blocker,” Sikkema wrote. “However, even with those concerns, what he brings to the table as a vertical threat is worth a top-50 pick.”

Iowa tight end Erick All could also be a target for the 49ers. PFF ranks him No. 103 on the big board and gives him a 72.4 grade for 2023. All had 21 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns last year.

Ohio State’s Cade Stover, ranked No. 113 on the big board, could also fill the void behind Kittle. Stover has 82 catches for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns in three seasons for the Buckeyes.

“Stover is a well-rounded, well-versed football player whose natural athletic ability and fundamentally sound approach to the position should make him a high-floor role player with TE1 potential,” Sikkema wrote.

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