McDonald (shoulder) -- who was subject of trade talks during the draft -- remains with the 49ers for the time being, but will have to earn his spot as the team's top tight end, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee reports.
The veteran tight end posted career bests in yards (391), touchdowns (four) and YPC (16.3) in 11 games last season, earning a four-year contract extension from former GM Tren Baalke. The 49ers' new regime clearly wasn't sold on the incumbent tight end, admitting that McDonald was placed on the trading block during the 2017 NFL Draft. GM John Lynch even went out and signed veteran tight end Logan Paulsen and drafted athletic tight end George Kittle to help create more competition at the tight end position. McDonald will have to show that he can be an effective blocker and stay healthy (16 games missed over last four seasons) during training camp in order to hang on to his role as the 49ers' top tight end.
It was rumored that the New 49ers regime was looking to trade McDonald and that has now been confirmed. The tight end had the best season of his four-year career in 2016, recording career highs in yards (391) and touchdowns (4) despite only playing in 11 games. If he's still with the team when the regular season begins, he'll likely the be the No. 1 tight end options.
The 49ers' previous front office regime signed McDonald to a surprisingly hefty extension in December, adding three seasons and $9 million in guaranteed money to his pre-existing contract. The new regime, led by GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, probably wasn't too excited to inherit such a sizable contract for a player who's caught only 64 of 118 targets (54.2 percent) through four injury-plagued seasons. The 2013 second-round selection hasn't lived up to his draft status even when he's been healthy, and he suffered a broken scapula two days after signing his extension. Even if he gets healthy and sticks with the team, McDonald likely will face competition for the starting job from some combination of Garrett Celek, Logan Paulsen and Blake Bell (head). Having passed on the position through the first two days of the draft, San Francisco may want to scour the bargain-bin free agent market for veteran tight ends.
McDonald (shoulder) could face competition from Garrett Celek, Blake Bell and free-agent addition Logan Paulsen, ESPN.com reports.
McDonald signed a five-year, $35 million extension in December, but he promptly suffered a broken scapula, and the 49ers then underwent a regime change. While the hefty contract still provides clear incentive to use McDonald in a key role, it didn't prevent the team from signing both Paulsen and fullback/H-Back Kyle Juszczyk. It's quickly become clear the team's new leadership isn't pleased with the personnel left behind, as the Niners also added wideouts Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson -- opting for quantity rather than big-name signings in free agency. McDonald is still the favorite to serve as the top pass-catching tight end, but between the shoulder injury and the organizational changes, his outlook is unquestionably murky. On the bright side, San Francisco also added QB Brian Hoyer, who should be an upgrade on last year's hideous duo of Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick. The Niners might still add another veteran signal-caller or use a high draft pick on the position.
McDonald was placed on injured reserve Monday due to a broken scapula, Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group reports.
The turn in fortunes was sudden for McDonald. Last Friday, the 49ers signed the tight end to a five-year, $35 million extension. Then, in his first appearance after putting pen to paper, he lasted 17 snaps Sunday versus the Jets before sustaining the season-ending injury. With three games remaining on the 2016 slate, head coach Chip Kelly is left with the tight end duo of Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.
|P1||8/11/17||@ KC||9:00 pm|
|P3||8/27/17||@ MIN||8:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ SEA||4:25 pm|
|4||10/1/17||@ ARI||4:05 pm|
|5||10/8/17||@ IND||1:00 pm|
|6||10/15/17||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 11|
|13||12/3/17||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|14||12/10/17||@ HOU||1:00 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ LAR||4:25 pm|
|2013||San Francisco 49ers||15||4||8||119||14.9||25||0||3||0||5|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||8||4||2||30||15.0||21||0||1||0||0|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||14||11||30||326||10.9||36||3||5||0||15|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||11||11||24||391||16.3||75||4||6||2||13|
|2013||San Francisco 49ers||15||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||8||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||14||5||5.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||11||1||0.0||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2013||San Francisco 49ers||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||8||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||14||2||0||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|