The 49ers are clearly in the market for a wide receiver after visiting with free agents Ted Ginn and Jerome Simpson on Wednesday.
Three of the 49ers’ top four wideouts from a year ago face uncertain futures. Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd are scheduled free agents. And Stevie Johnson, acquired last offseason in a trade with the Buffalo Bills for a fourth-round draft pick, is scheduled to make $6.025 million. He will likely face a pay reduction in order to return for a second season with the 49ers.
If the 49ers are open to dealing for another wide receiver, veteran Brandon Marshall is reportedly an option. The Chicago Bears are entertaining trade offers for Marshall, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.
Marshall’s streak of seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons came to an end last season. He caught 61 passes for 721 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games. But the 49ers certainly saw the best Marshall has to offer when he caught three touchdown passes against rookie nickel back Jimmie Ward in the Bears’ Week 2 win in the opening regular-season game at Levi’s Stadium.
It would likely take a mid-round draft pick in order for the 49ers to acquire Marshall and his scheduled $7.9 million pay for the upcoming season. Marshall is signed through 2017 with salaries of $7.9 million in 2016 and $8.5 million in 2017. Marshall turns 31 on March 23.
Anquan Boldin, who has recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since coming to the 49ers in a 2013 trade, is under contract to the 49ers for next season at a price of $6 million.
The 49ers are interested in re-signing Crabtree, a source told CSNBayArea.com. But it remains to be seen how much interest Crabtree will receive on the open market when he is allowed to begin negotiating with other teams on March 7.
One AFC executive at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis two weeks ago told CSNBayArea.com that his team has Crabtree rated in the $4 million-to-$5 million annual range. He admitted that other teams might have Crabtree valued higher.
In addition to Boldin and Johnson, Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton also currently remain under contract to the 49ers.
The team is expected to add receiver depth during free agency. And the team is also likely to use one of its top-three draft picks for an injection of youth and speed at wide receiver.
"I think it's no mystery we're looking for guys that can run and get down the field," general manager Trent Baalke said at the combine.