49ers Sign Ex-Packers RB in New Free Agency Move

San Francisco 49ers running back Patrick Taylor Jr.

Getty San Francisco 49ers running back Patrick Taylor Jr.

The San Francisco 49ers are bolstering their running back group with the signing of former Green Bay Packers RB Patrick Taylor Jr. There was speculation that San Francisco would add an RB in the 2024 NFL draft, but they’re already moving with Taylor.

ESPN reporter Adam Schefter was the first to report the signing on April 3.

“The 49ers are signing former Green Bay Packers RB Patrick Taylor Jr. to a one-year deal, per source,” Schefter wrote on X. “After facing the 49ers in the playoffs, Taylor now joins them. Taylor’s agent @chriscabott of @equitysports confirmed the deal.”

Taylor Jr. is approaching his fourth NFL season and has spent the past three years in Green Bay. During that span, he was almost always the third-string option behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.

Taylor will likely take on a similar role with San Francisco, but he could also find it difficult to make the roster. Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel take the majority of the touches, and Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason are both solid options as backups and are on relatively cheap contracts.

On the other hand, both Mitchell and Mason are entering the last year of their current contracts. So this could be a move to setup a transition away from either RB.

Patrick Taylor Jr. Starts NFL Career with Packers

After playing his college ball at Memphis, Taylor Jr. entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. His junior season with the Tigers featured 1319 yards from scrimmage and 18 total touchdowns, but a foot injury wrecked his senior season and his draft stock.

The Packers picked Taylor up after the 2020 NFL draft, but his injury recovery forced him to the injured reserve. He was never activated and didn’t start practicing in the 2020 season until mid-December.

The following season in 2021, he initially failed to make the 53-man roster. Green Bay kept him on the practice squad though. He ended up making 9 appearances as a rookie according to Pro Football Reference.

That ended up becoming Taylor’s routine for the next two years. He has been released and added to the practice squad every year starting in 2021. However, he has been often activated and utilized despite not being a 53-man roster member for the majority of his tenure.

In 34 appearances, Taylor has taken 65 rushes for 261 yards and one touchdown.

49ers Still Trying for Brandon Aiyuk

While San Francisco is clearly in the free agency market with moves like this, they are also trying to retain Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk spoke on the situation on March 28.

“I’m trying to get what I deserve,” Aiyuk said on “The Night Cap” podcast on Thursday. “I feel like this season, this season playing football, I figured out who I was as a person and a player — what I bring to the table, what I bring to the locker room, what I bring to the organization.”

That’s a reasonable stance, especially considering Aiyuk led the 49ers in receiving yards the past two seasons. That being said, handing out big money to players like Aiyuk is often easier said than done.