The 49ers made a back-of-the-roster transaction earlier in 2022 by inking Troy Fumagalli, but a deep crop of tight ends automatically makes him a long shot.
There’s an awfully good chance, the only time you heard of San Francisco 49ers tight end Troy Fumagalli was when the Niners signed him as a free agent earlier this offseason, essentially replacing one of their undrafted free agents from 2022, tight end Garrett Walston, to open up a roster spot.
If you did know a bit about Fumagalli, you were either a fan of his alma mater at Wisconsin or paid close attention to the team that drafted him in 2018, the Denver Broncos, who selected him in Round 5 of that year.
At any rate, Fumagalli now finds himself part of a notably deep crop of tight ends amid San Francisco’s offseason programs, and it’ll likely be more than just difficult for him to make the 53-man roster in 2022.
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
The 6-foot-6 and 248-pound Fumagalli never caught on as an above-average pass-catcher in Denver after redshirting his rookie season and in the wake of a solid collegiate career, one that boasted 135 receptions for 1,627 yards and seven touchdowns over four seasons.
But that association with the Broncos is important.
And it might be the only reason why Fumagalli makes a dent with the 49ers.
Why Troy Fumagalli improves with 49ers in 2022
Denver was running a Niners-like offense in 2019 under then-offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who served as San Francisco’s quarterbacks coach the previous season.
As such, Fumagalli is going to be familiar with head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, and that might offer up a bit of an advantage for him in contrast to some of the other depth tight ends on the 49ers’ 90-man offseason roster.
Keeping his collegiate numbers in mind, and also looking at the quarterbacking struggles the Broncos have seemingly had over the last six years, one can understand why being on the Niners roster now is the best possible outcome for him in terms of productivity.
Especially considering his top competition right now consists of blocking-specialist tight end Charlie Woerner and recently acquired Tyler Kroft, who hasn’t made much of a statistical impact in the NFL since 2017.
Why Troy Fumagalli is a 49ers camp invitee only in 2022
San Francisco likely has its top two tight ends locked into place for the upcoming season, George Kittle and Ross Dwelley. And while there’s always the chance of keeping four, the likelihood is for Shanahan to retain only three.
That’ll mean Fumagalli will have to outperform the likes of Kroft, Woerner, Tanner Hudson and Jordan Matthews between now and Week 1 of the regular season.
It’s certainly an open-ended competition, and Fumagalli’s experience in a Shanahan-like offense offers some weight.
But considering Fumagalli’s lowly impact amid a notably bad Broncos offense the last two seasons is still underwhelming, it’s not likely for him to suddenly break out amid a new setting.
Especially considering the other options.
Chances Troy Fumagalli makes 49ers’ 53-man roster
Signed to a one-year deal worth $895,000 with zero in guaranteed money, there’s going to be zero financial ramifications into the regular season if he’s let go as part of post-preseason roster cuts.
Woerner has an edge having been a regular part of the 53-man roster the last two seasons, while Kroft at least has his 2017 laurels to give him a chance.
Either one of those two could easily push Fumagalli out of contention, so it’s likely he winds up seeing a handful of reps late in preseason games and little else.
Anything above that would be a notable shock, particularly considering the 49ers have other options on the table who can offer more by the way of stats.