The 49ers signed former Sacramento State star wide receiver DeAndre Carter to a two-year deal, the team announced Friday.
Carter, 23, stood out among a group of players who worked out for the new 49ers coaching staff and scouting staff earlier this week. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2015 when he was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. Carter spent time on the Oakland Raiders’ and New England Patriots’ practice squads the last two seasons.
Carter is only 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds but had the role – and the statistics – of a much bigger receiver at Sac State. During his senior season, he caught 99 passes for 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns. His reception total and yardage led the Football Championship Subdivision, and the 99 catches were second in Big Sky Conference history.
Some of the NFL teams he’s been on have eyed him as a special-teams returner. Carter handled four punts his final year with the Hornets, returning one 65 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to cap a comeback win over Portland State. The 49ers’ top punt returner from last year, Jeremy Kerley, is a free agent.
The 49ers had arguably the weakest wide receiving corps in the league last season. They were led by Kerley, whose 667 receiving yards ranked 64th among NFL receivers. He and fellow 2016 starter Quinton Patton, as well as Rod Streater, are scheduled to become free agents in two weeks.
The only 49ers wide receivers signed for 2017 are Torrey Smith, Aaron Burbridge, DeAndre Smelter, Rashad Ross, Chris Harper and Eric Rogers, who is recovering from an August ACL tear suffered at the start of last year’s raining camp. Rogers has been working out in the Los Angeles area, and his agent anticipates the receiver will be cleared for the 49ers’ first OTA practice in the spring.
Smith has 266 receptions over his NFL career. The next most prolific 49ers receiver signed for next season is Harper with 14.
A number of prominent pass catchers around the league are scheduled to be free agents, including Cleveland’s Terrelle Pryor and Washington’s Pierre Garcon, who is familiar to 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan from their days in Cleveland.
Scouting director out – One day after parting ways with assistant general manager Tom Gamble, the 49ers’ director of college scouting, Matt Malaspina, also is out.
ESPN reported Malaspina, who spent the past 11 years with San Francisco, is joining Green Bay as a college scout.
Compensatory pick – The 49ers were awarded an extra pick at the end of the fourth round as compensation for losing guard Alex Boone in free agency last year. The 49ers will have 10 picks in the April 27-29 draft.