49ers bolster tight end room by adding veteran Tyler Kroft

Tyler Kroft #81 of the New York Jets (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
Tyler Kroft #81 of the New York Jets (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /

The 49ers may have passed on a tight end in the 2022 NFL Draft, but Kyle Shanahan is always searching for one and now has Tyler Kroft.

The San Francisco 49ers’ tight end room just got a little bit deeper.

It’s hard to say whether or not it got a lot stronger, but the Niners at least added another body on Monday in veteran tight end Tyler Kroft, who is joining San Francisco on a one-year deal.

Kroft’s agent reported such on Twitter:

Kroft spent 2021 with the New York Jets under former 49ers pass-game coordinator, turned Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. So, from that perspective, head coach Kyle Shanahan adding the 29-year-old Kroft makes a good deal of sense.

So does the notion of Shanahan wanting to get another tight end to pair with the All-Pro, George Kittle, although it appeared as if the Niners were poised to let last year’s two options, Ross Dwelley and Charlie Worner, perform that role again in 2022.

San Francisco also inked fellow tight end Troy Fumagalli last week, too, although he figures to be little more than a camp body.

Tyler Kroft to compete with Ross Dwelley for 49ers’ No. 2 TE?

After putting up career-best numbers in 2020, it’s safe to admit Dwelley had a bit of a down year in 2021, recording a mere four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown, prompting the idea the 49ers would let him walk in NFL free agency during the offseason.

Nevertheless, Dwelley returned on a one-year deal and figured to be the primary backup to Kittle, whose own injury history mandates someone at least competent to fill the void.

Kroft wasn’t much of an impact player for New York last season, hauling in 16 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown in his lone season there. And his numbers the previous two years with the Buffalo Bills weren’t overly impressive either.

However, perhaps the Niners are banking on Kroft emulating his best season as a pro, 2017 with the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he had 42 receptions for 404 yards and a noteworthy seven touchdowns.

If that’s what San Francisco envisions, yes, Dwelley’s own spot on the roster is in a bit more jeopardy. The same could be argued for Woerner, too, who is entering year three of his rookie deal.

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