One day after reports surfaced indicating the San Francisco 49ers were interested in River Cracraft following a successful workout at the team’s facility in Santa Clara, California, the former Washington State wide receiver signed with the reigning NFC champions.
Cracraft announced the news from his Instagram account Thursday morning and the 49ers later confirmed they’d signed the 25-year-old slot receiver in a news release.
In addition to Cracraft, San Francisco signed another wide receiver, Kevin White, who was a former first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears. The 49ers released veteran receiver Jaron Brown and waived injured defensive end Jonathan Kongbo to make room for Cracraft and White.
San Francisco made two notable signings at receiver, recently picking up veteran players Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson, but Kyle Shanahan still needed more depth at one of the team’s most injury-riddled spots.
Former Baylor star Jalen Hurd went down with a torn ACL during the first week of training camp and first-round 2020 draft pick Brandon Aiyuk, formerly of Arizona State, is week-to-week with a hamstring strain.
Before camp opened, Deebo Samuel was already dealing with a Jones fracture that was sustained during an offseason workout and Richie James was still out with a wrist injury.
“You’re bringing in legs, but you’re bringing in guys that you want to work with, spend the time at, who have a chance to help our team, if they’re better than people we’ve got or if they get an opportunity because of injuries,” Shanahan said Thursday, according to The Athletic.
Cracraft, the most productive inside receiver in WSU history, catching 218 passes for 2,701 yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons, has been a free agent since April 30, when he was waived by the Philadelphia Eagles. He signed with Philadelphia’s practice squad on Dec. 4, 2019, and signed a reserve/futures contract with the team on Jan. 6.
Prior to that, Cracraft spent three years on and off with the Denver Broncos, originally signing with the AFC West club after going undrafted in the 2017 NFL draft. Cracraft was cut and re-signed by the Broncos multiple times and made one reception for 44 yards in his time with the club, in addition to 12 punt returns for 40 yards in eight games played.
Cracraft has spent the majority of his offseason working out with Southern California-based trainer Lester Spellman, who also trained WSU’s Dezmon Patmon before he was selected in the seventh round of the 2020 draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
In various Instagram and Twitter posts, Cracraft shared photos of videos of himself working out with a handful of NFL stars, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Washington quarterback Kyle Allen.
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