The SF 49ers are bringing aboard veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, and each party can help resurrect each other for the rest of 2020.
Sanu needed a team like the Niners.
So, at least according to Sanu’s agent, Mike McCartney, and backed up by a number of other leaguewide reports, Sanu will be joining San Francisco on a one-year deal where he’ll reunite with a coach under whom he had great success, previously, Kyle Shanahan.
Sanu, 32 years old, didn’t pan out late in 2019 after the New England Patriots acquired him from the Atlanta Falcons, where Sanu and Shanahan first developed their working relationship together.
Under Shanahan, though, Sanu flourished as a big-slot wide receiver, putting together 653 yards and four touchdowns during the Falcons’ Super Bowl run that year. While Shanahan frequently featured Atlanta’s No. 1 receiving target that year, Julio Jones, Sanu performed the perfect complementary role.
So it makes sense Shanahan previously told reporters he wouldn’t rule out the idea of adding Sanu to his already-depleted and uninspiring wide receiver corps.
Well, literally, he didn’t.
SF 49ers to benefit from Mohamed Sanu
At least in one aspect, Sanu will help San Francisco’s wide receiver room much in a way now-New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders did during the latter half of 2019 after being acquired from the Denver Broncos. The Niners wideout room is predominantly young, meaning Sanu’s veteran presence and playoff pedigree should do some good.
But there are far more aspects and benefits to Sanu coming aboard.
Speaking of the lack of impact wideouts, the SF 49ers are already hurting without their clear-cut No. 1 option, Deebo Samuel, who is still on the mend after suffering a broken foot earlier this offseason. And while there’s a lot of hype surrounding the team’s first-round NFL Draft choice, Brandon Aiyuk, it’s important to remember he has yet to play a regular-season down at the NFL level.
The lack of spring workouts and no preseason also hinder Aiyuk’s development.
The shortages left Shanahan with two depth wide receivers, Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis, to start in Week 1. San Francisco also lost wide receiver Richie James to a hamstring injury during the game, potentially increasing the need to bring aboard Sanu to an even greater level than before.
Plus, Sanu won’t have to adjust too much to Shanahan’s intricate and complex offense. He’s done that before.
And a big-bodied 6-foot-2, 215-pound target will surely add to the 49ers’ physical presence on the field.
Week 1’s lack of receiving prowess during the Niners’ opening day loss to the Arizona Cardinals, combined with the injuries Shanahan is dealing with at the position, prompted this move.
And both parties now stand to benefit from the other’s presence.