No. 3: Tight End Levine Toilolo
The 49ers had veteran tight end Levine Toilolo on a one-year deal last season. And while he wasn’t anything of an offensive pass-catching force, hauling in a mere two passes for 10 yards, Toilolo still served as a strong blocking piece for head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Instead of returning to San Francisco, Toilolo would go on to sign a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the New York Giants.
It’s anyone’s guess right now if those numbers surpassed whatever amount of money the Niners were potentially willing to give Toilolo.
But Toilolo’s departure does create a noticeable gap on the tight end depth chart behind George Kittle. As of now, San Francisco has Ross Dwelley and Daniel Hahn as tight ends to back up the All-Pro. But the former two aren’t exactly prolific blockers, meaning jumbo packages with extra inline help needed are going to take a bit of a hit.
The 49ers will likely need to make an upgrade here via the 2020 NFL Draft instead, and rookie tight ends often struggle transitioning to blocking assignments at the pro ranks.
It’ll be interesting to watch if Toilolo’s absence winds up hurting in this regard.