49ers to reunite with former punt returner whom they drafted in 2017

Trent Taylor is coming back to the 49ers, per reports, and also according to him.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor (15)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor (15) / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The 49ers are bringing back Trent Taylor to help assist with punt returns and to bolster the wide receiver depth chart.

The San Francisco 49ers had a notable void in the return game on special teams when their previous option from the last two seasons, wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, opted to sign with the Atlanta Falcons in NFL free agency.

One option the Niners could have pursued was to promote second-year wideout Ronnie Bell into a full-time return role, but Bell didn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence filling in for McCloud last season when the latter was injured.

Instead, San Francisco is reportedly opting to reunite with an old friend.

49ers to sign WR and return specialist Trent Taylor

On Tuesday, rumors began to surface about the 49ers potentially looking to one of their NFL Draft picks from way back in 2017, wide receiver Trent Taylor, who initially looked like he'd be a long-term part of the squad amid what was a complete team overhaul that year.

Not long thereafter, NFL insider Jordan Schultz reported that Taylor and the Niners were indeed agreeing on terms to bring the soon-to-be 30-year-old slot receiver and return specialist back to the Bay Area:

In the wake of the news, Brad Graham of TheSFNiners reached out to Taylor to confirm whether or not the reports were true.

Taylor responded in the affirmative:

As far as offensive production, Taylor's rookie year was still his best. He recorded 43 receptions for 430 yards and two touchdowns that season, but injuries derailed the remainder of his San Francisco tenure, which came to an end in 2021 when he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Taylor also spent last year with the Chicago Bears, serving as a punt-return specialist, returning 23 punts for a total of 188 yards, averaging 8.2 yards per return.

It's likely this is what the 49ers will ask of Taylor in 2024, although a notably thin back end of the wide receiver depth chart could prompt head coach Kyle Shanahan to rely on Taylor as a key reserve, should the Niners need the veteran in case of any injury attrition.

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