49ers Bring Back Veteran WR on 1-Year Contract

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Chris Conley

Getty San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Chris Conley

The San Francisco 49ers are bringing back a veteran presence in the wide receiver group as they rebuild for the 2024 season. While not a critical weapon, Chris Conley has found a role in Kyle Shanahan’s offense thanks to his consistency and utility as a blocker.

The 49ers officially announced they were re-signing the 31-year-old to a one-year deal on March 16.

The receiver has spent the majority of his career hopping from team to team after initially entering the league with the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft.

After playing on three different teams over the past three seasons, it seems like Conley is getting some stability. However, he’s not a guarantee to make the roster. If San Francisco has plans to add another WR in the draft, it could force Conley out.

But signing him still makes plenty of sense, if for the stability alone. As Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk continue to be linked to trades, having a reliable player like Conley is never a bad option.

Conley Joins 49ers Super Bowl Run

After a few productive years with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, Conley’s 2022 campaign was a major disappointment. Injuries bothered him all year, as he only played in 9 games. He made four catches for 46 yards according to Pro Football Reference, the first time in his career that he failed to total 100+ receiving yards in a season.

After leaving the Tennessee Titans in free agency, Conley had to figure out his next move. Shanahan came calling, wanting a receiver that could block and take on a secondary role. While Conley was the answer, he was also cut from the roster and signed to the practice squad.

He would spend over half the season on the practice squad before being elevated in early December. Shanahan was clearly happy with his performances, as Conley never went back to the practice squad after that December call-up.

Conley only had three catches for 69 yards in the regular season, but did make two grabs in the postseason. That included a catch in the 2024 Super Bowl that went for 18 yards.

While having Conley as a guiding vet is a solid plan, the 49ers will still need to figure out return duties.

49ers WR Leaves for Falcons

While Conley is coming back, Ray-Ray McCloud III is departing. NFL media insider Tom Pelissero reported that McCloud signed a deal with the Atlanta Falcons on March 14.

“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 was the primary special teams returner for San Francisco, but also had developed a small role in the offense. His 2022 season with the 49ers was, offensively, the most prominent campaign of his career.

He caught 14 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown, while also running four times for 78 yards and a score. As a returner, McCloud averaged 10.8 yards per punt return and 22.9 yards per kick return.

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