Taylor Gabriel 2.0? 49ers look to ignite Marquise Goodwin's career in similar way

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers continued their most aggressive free-agent period in years Wednesday, reportedly coming to an agreement with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on a contract. That deal can't be finalized until the new league year opens at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, San Francisco already had put into place agreements with wide receiver Pierre Garcon, quarterback Brian Hoyer and fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Goodwin will be expected to offer a speedy complement to Garcon in new coach Kyle Shanahan's offense.

Terms: Deal is for two years, but exact financial terms are not yet known.

ESPN 150 ranking: Unranked

Grade: C. On paper, Goodwin looks like a classic underachiever who has never met even modest expectations since being drafted by Buffalo in the third round in 2013, with career highs of 29 receptions and 431 yards. But there's a catch here that would seem to offer some hope for the 49ers: Shanahan has a history of finding players with certain traits who can fit into his offense and turning them into productive NFL players. Receiver Taylor Gabriel is a prime example of that after a breakout season in Atlanta under Shanahan in 2016. It might be asking too much of Goodwin to turn into Gabriel 2.0, but an approximation of that upside combined with a reasonable price tag make this a worthwhile risk even if there's no guarantee it pans out.

What it means: The 49ers' depth chart at receiver isn't nearly as barren as it was even two days ago. Goodwin isn't expected to come in and become the team's No. 1 or even No. 2 receiver, but he will have a clearly defined role that should work opposite Garcon. Specifically, Goodwin boasts world-class speed -- he ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the 2013 scouting combine -- and provides the type of deep threat who can allow Garcon to do what he does best, which is operate in the intermediate areas. Adding Goodwin shouldn't preclude the Niners from continuing the search for help at receiver, but it does add a needed body with some upside to the mix.

What's the risk? While Goodwin isn't going to break the bank, it's still expected to be a healthy contract for a player with his lengthy history of injury and lack of production. Those injuries have limited Goodwin to 39 games in four seasons, and he has managed just 49 catches for 780 yards and six touchdowns when he has been on the field. Goodwin is also somewhat limited as a route runner. At 5-foot-9, 178 pounds, he looks the part of a slot receiver but might not play it. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Goodwin has just two catches for 21 yards on 71 career routes run from the slot. According to Pro Football Focus' Jeff Deeney, 94 percent of Goodwin's routes run in 2016 were go, hitch, comeback, or out routes. If the Niners are counting on Goodwin to play a major role in the offense, much of it will have to come as a result of Shanahan's scheming.