Will Trent Taylor Make the 49ers 53-Man Roster?

Let's lay out the case against Taylor.
Dec 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Trent Taylor (11) runs with
Dec 11, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Trent Taylor (11) runs with / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Say it ain't so.

This week, the 49ers gave a one-year deal to veteran wide receiver/punt returner Trent Taylor, who's a fine addition for the offseason. A training-camp-body extraordinaire. But not a serious contender to make the 53-man roster, right? Right??

Let's lay out the case against Taylor.

He'll be 30 next season. He caught zero passes in 2023. He was a punt returner who averaged 8.2 yards per return when the league average is 9.6 yards per return. He also muffed two punts last season. So he's useless on offense, awful on special teams AND he's old. What a combination.

Surely, the 49ers can find someone better than Taylor to return punts. And maybe that's what they intend to do in the upcoming draft. Maybe they intend to draft a punt returner, make him compete with Taylor during the offseason and then cut Taylor at the end of the preseason. That would be a reasonable plan.

I just don't see the 49ers releasing Taylor.

Remember, they drafted him in 2017 and he played for them for four seasons. They did not release him -- he signed with the Bengals in free agency. Then they eventually released him last year at the end of the preseason, and the Bears signed him two days later. So teams seem to want him even though he isn't good.

And the 49ers have a sentimental attachment to him because he was part of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch's first draft class with the 49ers.

So you bet Taylor most likely will make the 53-man roster. He's part of the crew already.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN