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Moving forward: 49ers wide receiver outlook

Anquan Boldin catches a pass
Anquan Boldin catches a pass
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Besides the center position, the wideouts are the other large question mark on the 49ers offense heading into the offseason.

Anquan Boldin will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after coming off a great season. While the 49ers could bring him back, there are still questions at this position behind Michael Crabtree. Here is the current status of WRs under contract for the 2014 season:

Michael Crabtree:

It will be remembered how the WR fell to the 10th overall draft pick in 2009, but the 2014 season is his contract year unless an extension comes. The 49ers WR would be the only one with at least four years of experience if Boldin leaves in free agency. He would be the only No.1 receiver on the roster.

Quinton Patton:

The 49ers 2013 fourth-round pick was injured with a fractured foot for most of the season. He came on late and was forced to become the slot WR with the season-ending injury to Mario Manningham. Patton had one key reception against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 to setup a game winning field goal by Phil Dawson. Entering his second season, the 49ers hope to see the WR develop and build upon his success from the one play.

Jon Baldwin:

This is where the gap between receivers becomes huge. Baldwin remained on the 53-man roster because he was being paid regardless of if he was cut or not. Initially acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for A.J. Jenkins, the wide receiver was pressed into action early and had three receptions for 28 yards, but he became inactive once Manningham and Crabtree returned to the 53-man roster. He was close to scoring a touchdown against the Saints, but he was unable to hold onto the ball throughout the whole process. Baldwin will be a long shot to make the team in 2014 as he has no guaranteed money in the upcoming season.

Chuck Jacobs:

Jacobs was signed as an undrafted free agent who had a promising preseason when working with then-backup QB B.J. Daniels. He caught the game-winning touchdown in the second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs and earned a spot on the practice squad.

2014 Draft picks and free agents:

With several unknown WRs on future contracts (David Reed, DeMarco Sampson), the 49ers should sign one WR and draft another at minimum. It would not be surprising if they took multiple WRs in the 2014 draft if Boldin signs with another team. While Sammy Watkins is projected to be a top-10 draft pick, they could trade up for players including Marqise Lee and Mike Evans in the middle of the first round. Another big target who could be in place for the 49ers is Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State.

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