As expected, the San Francisco 49ers are moving on from veteran wide receiver Pierre Garçon.
In a flurry of moves on Thursday, as the free agent period is set to begin in one week, the 49ers declined the contract option for Garçon, who only played in 16 games — all starts — over the last two seasons due to injury.
San Francisco did, however, tender one-year contracts to restricted free agent running back Raheem Mostert, and two exclusive rights free agents: linebacker Elijah Lee and defensive back Greg Mabin. The 49ers exercised the 2019 contract options for fullback Kyle Juszczyk, defensive lineman Cassius Marsh, linebacker Dekoda Watson and cornerback K’Waun Williams.
Garcon, 32, has played in 148 games in his career, but never fewer than 10 in a season until he got to San Francisco. Garçon originally signed with San Francisco as a free agent on March 10, 2017, but in two seasons, had just 64 receptions for 786 yards (12.3 average) and one touchdown. His 40 catches for 500 yards in 2017 were the lowest in his career since his rookie season, until he caught just 24 balls for 286 yards last season. It’s expected that the 49ers will go with a wide receiver with their second pick in April’s NFL Draft, after going with an edge rusher with the No. 2 pick overall.
After starter Jerick McKinnon went down with a torn ACL, Mostert became one of San Francisco’s main running backs, appearing in each of the team’s first nine games of 2018, before going down with a gruesome broken arm. He registered 34 carries for 261 yards and one touchdown while adding six receptions for 25 yards. Mostert also tied for the team lead with seven tackles on special teams. He was placed on the Injured Reserve List on November 2, 2018.
Lee appeared in all 16 games (five starts) and recorded 62 tackles, two passes defensed, 1.0 sack and one forced fumble. Mabin (6-2, 200) appeared in 13 games (one start) last season and finished with 11 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Juszczyk, one of a dying breed in the NFL, was named to his third straight Pro Bowl for his work during the 2018 season, when he appeared in all 16 games with 14 starts. He finished with 30 receptions for 324 yards and one touchdown along with eight rushes for 30 yards on the ground.
Marsh played in all 16 games, with three starts, and tallied 37 tackles, 5.5 sacks and one fumble recovery. Watson suffered a hamstring injury late in camp, and missed the first eight weeks of the season. Other injuries limited the outside linebacker to just four games, where he tallied six tackles, 2.0 sacks and one forced fumble. Williams appeared in 14 games (11 starts) and finished with 45 tackles and two passes defensed.