The San Francisco 49ers are continuing to shake up the roster, this time adding a former Denver Broncos tight end in free agency.
On May 13, the team released wide receiver Connor Wedington as they signed 14 undrafted free agents to the roster. Just a few days later, one of those UDFA signings, ex-North Carolina tight end Garrett Walston, is also being released to make room for a new signing.
Walston has been waived so the 49ers can sign former Broncos and New England Patriots tight end Troy Fumagalli, according to the team’s official release. Fumagalli has been in the league since 2018, spending the majority of that time in Denver.
It’s worth noting that Fumagalli was a tryout member at the team’s rookie minicamp this past weekend, per ESPN reporter Nick Wagoner.
“Fumagalli was the longest tenured NFL vet at the team’s rookie minicamp last weekend,” Wagoner Tweeted on May 17. “He was there on a tryout and apparently showed enough to earn a spot on 90-man roster.”
After spending his entire NFL career in the AFC, now Fumagalli gets a taste of the NFC with the 49ers.
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Fumagalli’s Time with Broncos, Patriots
Before reaching the NFL, Fumagalli was impressing with the Wisconsin Badgers. The now 27-year-old played 47 games with the Badgers, and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2017 after placing on the second-team in 2016.
After Fumagalli brought down 135 receptions, 1627 receiving yards and seven touchdowns while in Madison, Wisconsin, the 6’6″ tight end was drafted by the Broncos in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Unfortunately, injury became an immediate issue for Fumagalli. He was placed on the Broncos’ injury reserve in September of 2018 and didn’t play a snap that season.
Finally in 2019, Fumagalli hit the field, recording six receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown in 11 games. He only played eight games in 2020, catching eight passes for 80 yards and another touchdown.
Injury issues persisted through this stretch, and the former Wisconsin star was waived with an injury settlement in September of 2020, signing to the Houston Texans’ practice squad. His time in Houston lasted less than two months, and he actually signed back with the Broncos later that November and registered his eight appearances then.
Fumagalli signed with the Patriots in the 2021 offseason, but was injury released in August of 2021.
49ers World Reacts to Free Agency Signing
A new addition is always exciting for an NFL team, and the 49ers are no different. Twitter users immediately got chatting about Fumagalli. One post that jumped out right away was @TheSFNiners head Brad Graham pointing out that Fumagalli’s blocking ability may make him a legit competitor for Dwelley.
There’s no question that Kittle is the team’s No. 1 tight end going into the season, but the depth chart is susceptible change from the backup spot onward. If Fumagalli is impressing enough to earn a contract, there’s a real chance he could be a factor when it comes time for the final 53-man roster.
It’s also worth pointing out that The Athletic reporter David Lombardi mentioned that his beat team “had expected 49ers to go after a vet tight end” in free agency. There’s still a chance that San Francisco signs another tight end, but they have acquired one already with Fumagalli.