San Francisco 49ers helmet on sideline
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are clearly thin at wide receiver following the departure of Emmanuel Sanders in free agency and the recent injury star young pass catcher Deebo Samuel suffered.

With Samuel slated to miss the start of the 2020 NFL regular season, San Francisco has gone out there and signed two veteran receivers.

San Francisco 49ers set to sign Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson

The big name here is obviously Austin. A top-10 pick of the then-St. Louis Rams back in 2013, the 20-year-old Austin never really panned out with his original team. He did put up a career high 907 total yards and nine touchdowns back in 2015. Over the course of the past three seasons, Austin has tallied a combined 34 catches. He’s seen more as a return guy after spending each of the past two years with the Dallas Cowboys.

A member of the division-rival Arizona Cardinals from 2015-18, J.J. Nelson tallied a combined 63 receptions for 1,076 yards in 2016 and 2017. He spent part of last season with the then-Oakland Raiders after falling out of favor in the desert.

This all comes after San Francisco inked former Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed to a contract earlier in August.

Some major question marks at wide receiver for the 49ers

Signing two veteran receivers at this stage in the summer tells us a story of a 49ers brass that’s not too sold on its in-house candidates.

By virtue of Samuel’s injury, rookie first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk and veteran Kendrick Bourne are San Francisco’s two-best options. They are joined by two youngsters in that of Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor who both missed the entire 2019 season to injury. Former second-round pick Dante Pettis fell out of favor in San Francisco as a sophomore last season after showing out big time as a rookie.

This is certainly an area of concern for head coach Kyle Shanahan. Whether the additions of Austin and Nelson help remains to be seen.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.