49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 13, 2014
49ers to host Edelman; reportedly interested in Nicks

edelman.jpg

The 49ers will get another crack at Julian Edelman.

The team worked out the Redwood City product at their facility before the 2009 draft. He ended up being drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round that year, converting from quarterback to receiver and becoming a very good pass catcher out of the slot for Tom Brady as well as New England's return man.

On Friday, he'll pay a free-agent visit to the 49ers, a league source confirmed Friday. The team also has interest in Giants free-agent receiver Hakeem Nicks, ESPN reported. The team showed interest in one-time Seattle receiver Golden Tate early in free agency.

Edelman, 27, is interesting because he's local - he began his college career at San Mateo College before moving to Kent State - and because he could fill a number of roles for San Francisco. He had a career-high 105 catches for 1,056 yards last year for New England. He also has handled 107 punts over the last five seasons and has averaged 12.3 yards a return with three touchdowns. The team's return man last year, LaMichael James, averaged 10.9 yards a return.

Given his original draft slot, Edelman has been underpaid so far in his career and is looking for a big contract. The 49ers certainly could create some room under their salary cap by restructuring contracts. However, there's not a lot of space right now after adding Antoine Bethea, Phil Dawson, Jonathan Martin, Blaine Gabbert and Eric Wright in recent days. Meanwhile, the Patriots are pressing to retain Edelman, who has become Brady's favorite target. The Browns also have shown interest, the source said.

Nicks, 26, is a five-year veteran who caught 56 passes for 896 yards last season. However, his production tailed off over the last two seasons as he battled foot and knee injuries, and he was a trade option last season.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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