SF 49ers: Jordan Reed showed his long-term potential vs. Saints

Jordan Reed #81 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jordan Reed #81 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers offense wasn’t prolific versus the Saints in Week 10, but Jordan Reed showed why the Niners should keep him around into 2021.

The SF 49ers need to strongly consider extending a re-sign offer to veteran tight end Jordan Reed between now and when he is scheduled to hit free agency next season.

Yes, Reed has a lengthy injury history and has already missed five of the total 10 games the Niners have played this year due to ankle and knee setbacks suffered back in Week 3 against the NY Giants.

When he’s been on the field, though, Reed has made a difference.

One could have fairly wondered what kind of impact the 30-year-old veteran would have made after returning versus the New Orleans Saints in Week 10. While the bulk of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t particularly impressive during the 27-13 loss, Reed at least made his presence known by flashing for five catches and 62 yards, including this beautiful one-handed grab to bail out quarterback Nick Mullens on a third-down try:

A better throw could have resulted in a first down. But the play was impressive nonetheless. And Reed ended up being San Francisco’s No. 2 receiver for the game behind wideout Brandon Aiyuk.

To date, Reed has just 17 receptions for 150 yards with two touchdowns — hardly the mark of a must re-sign candidate.

But the SF 49ers should consider it anyway.

SF 49ers bringing Jordan Reed back in 2021 makes sense

Reed already inked a bargain-basement one-year, $1.05 million contract with the Niners during the offseason. His lengthy injury history, combined with his games missed this year already, isn’t going to make that number rise much higher on a re-sign deal. So there’s already one bonus there for trying to retain the one-time Pro Bowler who has 3,521 net receiving yards split between San Francisco and Washington.

On top of that, the SF 49ers never got to truly enjoy the one-two punch Reed and fellow tight end George Kittle would have displayed, had they both been on the field healthy over an elongated period of time.

That was the reason why the Niners brought Reed aboard in the first place. With Kittle now shelved on injured reserve for an indefinite period of time with a foot injury, perhaps we’ll never know.

Unless Reed is retained, of course.

Few NFL defenses are properly equipped to handle dual-tight end threats who are prolific in the pass-catching department. While fellow tight end Ross Dwelley has flashed moments here and there, he’s nowhere close to being the kind of potent pass-catcher Reed has already shown himself as over the duration of his career.

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And if San Francisco can fix all the other elements of its offense between now and Week 1 of the 2021 season, adding Reed to the mix would be a great and cheap way to ensure head coach Kyle Shanahan can continue to create mismatches with this exceptionally important position.