Wild Idea Has 49ers Pursuing a Former Super Bowl-Winning Rival WR

Robert Woods

Getty Robert Woods tries to stiff arm 49ers defenders on November 29, 2020 in Inglewood.

Free agency officially begins in 20 days for the San Francisco 49ers and the rest of the league. But already, one former $65 million wide receiver has become the trendiest name available: Robert Woods after being released from the Tennessee Titans.

Woods, or “Bobby Trees,” is officially looking for his next NFL home after being among the Titans’ cuts on Wednesday, February 22. Woods never became a top option for the Titan offense and ended up with career-low marks in receiving yards and average yards per catch. But before Nashville, Woods was a 90-catch wideout the 49ers had to prepare for twice a year in the NFC West.

And now NFL analyst Jordan Elliott of SB Nation delivered this wild idea on Thursday, February 23: The thought of the 49ers luring in the former Los Angeles Rams star and Super Bowl 56 winner.

Why Robert Woods Could Fit With 49ers

Why would the 49ers consider another receiving option when Brandon Aiyuk delivered his first 1,000-yard season, Deebo Samuel has a Pro Bowl appearance plus All-Pros George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey both serving as downfield threats out of their non-receiver positions?

Woods is surely reliable as a route runner and motion man, as proven during his time with the Rams and the Sean McVay offense. But Elliott points out another reason why Woods could fit with the 49ers.

“While Woods is a fantastic receiving option, perhaps the most valuable skill he brings to the table is his ability to be an impact blocker at the position,” Elliott explained. “For a long time, this allowed the Rams tremendous flexibility with their personnel groupings, and made them extremely effective running the football with three wideouts on the field at the same time.”

Elliott adds that Woods would enter a Rams-like offense if he heads to the Bay Area.

“After spending five years with Sean McVay, Woods already has experience with a lot of the same concepts Kyle Shanahan runs with the 49ers,” Elliott said. “When you pair the receiving ability, the blocking, and the familiarity with the scheme, on paper, it should be a no-brainer that the 49ers make a run at a player like this.”

Plays like this involving Woods not needing the football could be what can entice the 49ers — where Woods becomes the lead blocker springing his running back loose:

Woods was also described as someone whose blocking helped unlock the Rams’ offense.

Could Adding Robert Woods Still Put WR Room in a Bind?

No doubt, Woods would blend in on plays when the 49ers hand the ball to the backfield given his past blocking prowess.

But would his arrival put the WR room in a bind? Especially with the past money he made? Turns out the 49ers already have their Woods-type in Jauan Jennings, who’s been lauded for his own blocking ability and delivering a clutch catch when needed.

“As talented of a player as Woods is, it would take quite a bit of usage to justify spending additional money to address a position where the 49ers currently have a bargain with Jennings,” Elliott wrote.

But then there’s this added dilemma facing Woods: The 49ers still bring back Ray-Ray McCloud and drafted Danny Gray in the third round last offseason. Perhaps Gray become more fully inserted into the offense in season two, which was the case for Aiyuk before he became a 1,000-yard wideout.

Woods would be a welcome addition on running plays. He’d also be a strong locker room voice, especially in a still-young WR unit. But for a wideout who caught just 53 passes this past season, Woods is risking having lower numbers in an offense that is already stockpiled with receiving options.

Yet at 30, Woods could be looking more for a place where he has one more shot at a Super Bowl title. The 49ers happen to be one of those places that can offer that, even if it means being on the rival of the Rams.

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