Image Credit: Los Angeles Times
During the draft, the 49ers traded away speedy former Olympian and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin to the Philadelphia Eagles. Goodwin flashed a few times when he was first brought over to the Red and Gold, and he earned himself a nice contract extension. However, tragedy and injuries have derailed his career over the past few years, and even I wondered if he would still be on the team last season. He was, but his lack of playing time earned him a ticket out of the Bay. Goodwin is now with the Eagles, but with the ongoing pandemic he has chosen to opt out of this season and will rejoin the City of Brotherly Love in 2021.
That left the 49ers without that player who can take the top of the defense and really stretch it out. Enter former San Diego/Los Angeles Charger Travis Benjamin. Benjamin signed a one-year contract for only $1.05 million to be that player to fill Goodwin’s shoes and stretch the defense. With as cheap the contract was, I viewed Benjamin as a training camp body who will not be on the team in September. I was both right and wrong; he is neither as with the ongoing pandemic, he too chose to opt out for the 2020 season.
What does this mean for the rest of the wide receiver corps? I think it will be business as usual.
With the departure of Emmanuel Sanders and now Benjamin opting out, the 49ers will lose some veteran leadership in the wide receiver room. But they are looking to regain Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd after both missed the 2019 season due to injuries. Unfortunately, the 49ers will be without last year’s breakout star Deebo Samuel for the first few weeks after he suffered a Jones fracture back in June. With Benjamin gone and Deebo sidelined for a few weeks, this will put some added pressure on rookie Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk, by the way, was 0.23 seconds slower than Goodwin on his 40 times. So, he’s not slow and he is a YAC (yards after catch) monster. Put the ball in his hands, and he will make defenses pay.
With the hopeful returns of Taylor and Hurd, and if Aiyuk can catch on quickly, the 49ers’ receiving corps will not miss Benjamin. And like I said earlier, I didn’t think he would make it to September anyway.
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