Searching for depth with receiver Deebo Samuel likely to miss time at the onset of the season due to a broken foot, the San Francisco 49ers are planning to sign receiver/running back Tavon Austin and wideout J.J. Nelson, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday.
Both players have been at the 49ers facility for workouts and COVID-19 testing, Rapoport added.
ESPN first reported the news.
With a somewhat banged-up and relatively inexperienced group of receivers in San Fran, Austin and Nelson bring a combined 12 seasons of NFL experience.
The No. 8 pick of the 2013 draft by the Rams, Austin, 30, gives the 49ers some versatility with his past as not just a receiver, but a kick returner and a rusher. Having never realized his first-round potential with the Rams, Austin returns to the NFC West following two seasons with the Cowboys. Austin offers 3,346 scrimmage yards and 25 total touchdowns over his first seven seasons.
Nelson brings big-play potential with an average of 17.4 yards per catch over a five-season NFL career thus far. However, after showing promise with the Cardinals during back-to-back 500-yard showings in 2016-17, Nelson's final year with the Cards in 2018 was an unproductive one and he played in only two games last season during a stint with the Raiders that saw him cut in November.
Receiver Richie James is also on the NFI list like Samuel, so Nelson and Austin will aim to contribute to a WR corps that includes first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Jalen Hurd and Dante Pettis.