San Francisco 49ers

49ers sign former Stanford tight end from the Detroit Lions

Atlanta Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo (80) is tackled by Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson in Oakland on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo (80) is tackled by Raiders free safety Reggie Nelson in Oakland on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. The Associated Press

The 49ers added tight end depth by signing free agent Levine Toilolo on Wednesday, the team announced. The news was first reported Wednesday by NFL Network.

Toilolo, 27, played with the Detroit Lions last season after spending five years with the Atlanta Falcons, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2013 out of Stanford. He’ll be the 49ers’ third addition at tight end this offseason, joining sixth-round draft pick Kaden Smith, also from Stanford, and undrafted free agent Tyree Mayfield.

Toilolo (6-8, 268) missed just one game in his six seasons, though he’s been used primarily as a blocker and reserve. He’s averaged just 164 yards on 16 catches per year. He set career highs in catches (31) in 2014 and yards (264) in 2016 when 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan served as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Toilolo has eight career receiving touchdowns.

The 49ers may be adding competition to back up 2018 breakout star George Kittle, who set an NFL record for tight ends with 1,377 receiving yards. His primary understudy, Garrett Celek, turns 31 later this month and is entering the final year of his contract.

Celek’s five catches last season were his fewest since 2014, though he scored two touchdowns and averaged 18.0 yards per reception. Ross Dwelley is also expected to compete for a roster spot after appearing in 11 games last season. He made just two catches for 14 yards.

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