The 49ers on Tuesday found a trade partner for one of their many tight ends, as general manager Trent Baalke struck a deal with a former colleague.
Tight end Asante Cleveland, a second-year player from Miami, was traded to the New England Patriots, a source told CSNBayArea.com. In return, the 49ers receive offensive lineman Jordan Devey from the Patriots, reports ESPN.
Devey (6 foot 6, 320 pounds) was originally signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie in 2013 out of Memphis. After signing with the Patriots practice squad in September 2014, he has worked at center, guard and tackle. He joins a competition along the 49ers' offensive line at potentially center and right guard, the positions where Joe Looney and Marcus Martin started Saturday night in the 49ers' exhibition opener. Marcus can also play center, and Brandon Thomas is expected to get a longer audition at right guard.
Cleveland, a native of Sacramento, spent six games on the 49ers’ 53-man roster last season and did not catch a pass. He was on the 49ers’ practice squad the remainder of his rookie season.
On Saturday night in the exhibition opener, Cleveland caught three passes for 10 yards in the 49ers’ 23-10 loss the Houston Texans. He played 11 snaps of offense in the game.
The 49ers-Patriots trade brought Baalke together with a former colleague to swing a deal. Baalke was a scout with the New York Jets from 1998 to 2000, and overlapped two seasons with New England coach Bill Belichick, who was an assistant coach under Bill Parcells.
The 49ers still have a stockpile at tight end behind starter Vernon Davis with Derek Carrier, Vance McDonald, Blake Bell, Garrett Celek, Xavier Grimble and seventh-round draft pick Busta Anderson.
It’s possible the 49ers could trade another tight end before the start of the regular season. Washington is known to be looking for a tight end after Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen sustained season-ending injuries. Both players were placed on injured reserve on Monday.