The 49ers just upgraded their tight end room and put the backups on notice.
Veteran tight end Tyler Kroft just signed a one-year deal with San Francisco, according to reports. Which means Kroft is the 49ers’ new No. 2 tight end if he’s healthy.
Kroft, 29, has played in 81 games in his career and has started 48 of them. Last season, he played in 9 games with the Jets, started 6 of them and caught 16 passes. Modest numbers, but they would have made him the 49ers’ second-most productive tight end last season after George Kittle.
For the past three seasons, the 49ers’ No. 2 tight end has been Ross Dwelley, whom they almost never throw the ball to. And their No. 3 tight end has been Charlie Woerner, who’s a blocking specialist and core special teamer.
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The 49ers stuck with Dwelley and Woerner for years because former tight ends coach John Embree hand-selected them and believed in them. But now he’s gone — he followed former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to the Miami Dolphins, and so the 49ers signed a new tight ends coach this offseason — Brian Fleury.
It’s safe to assume Fleury feels differently about Embree’s tight ends than Embree feels about them. That’s probably why the 49ers signed Kroft — he’s Fleury’s first hand-picked tight end. And that means Kroft almost certainly will make the 49ers final roster if he stays healthy.
The 49ers still could keep four tight ends on their final roster — they’ve done that in the past. But if they keep only three, they’ll have to cut either Dwelley or Woerner.
As of now, Woerner should be the odd man out.