With the 2021 NFL Draft less than two weeks away, the San Francisco 49ers will once again be in search of a new backup tight end behind All-Pro George Kittle.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Tuesday, April 20, eight-year veteran Jordan Reed has decided to hang up his cleats, announcing his retirement from the NFL after last season’s comeback “allowed him to walk away with no regrets.”
Former Pro Bowl TE Jordan Reed is retiring, sources say. A 2013 3rd-round pick by the Washington Football Team, Reed emerged as one of the game’s best receiving TEs before battling injuries. His improbable comeback with #49ers last season allowed him to walk away with no regrets.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 20, 2021
The latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!
Join Heavy on 49ers!
Reed’s Admirable Comeback With 49ers
Officially an unrestricted free agent as of March, Reed’s decision to wrap up his playing days rather than sign another contract is a conscientious one considering his long history of injuries. The 30-year-old originally entered the league in 2013 as a third-round draft pick of the Washington Football Team, who released the Florida product in February 2020 as a salary cap casualty after seven seasons.
Reed elected to sign a one-year, $1 million deal to join the Niners last August, where he went on to play in 10 games, including a spot start in Week 13 for an injured Kittle. After bursting on to the Bay Area scene with a season-high seven catches and two touchdowns in Week 2, Reed’s comeback was nearly cut short again after suffering an MCL sprain and ankle injury the following week that forced him to miss the next five games.
Despite his medical history and inconsistent quarterback play in Washington, Reed established himself as one of the game’s most dynamic pass-catching tight ends in recent history, highlighted by his career-best 2015 season of 87 receptions, 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. Overall, he compiled 3,602 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns on 355 catches in 75 career games (36 starts).
Reed’s departure leaves San Francisco with minimal depth behind Kittle, with only Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner and Daniel Helm currently under contract for next season. Dwelley, the elder statesman of the trio, offers the most experience with 43 games through his first three seasons. The 26-year-old was listed as the team’s starting tight end nine times last year and registered 19 catches for 245 yards and a touchdown while also contributing on special teams.
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on 49ers Facebook community for the latest out of the Bay Area!