<
>

Trade of Derek Carrier streamlines TE corps, bolsters 2017 draft

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- At the beginning of the week, the San Francisco 49ers had as many tight ends on their roster as they did picks in next year's NFL drafts -- nine.

But the Niners followed up Tuesday's trade of Asante Cleveland to the New England Patriots for offensive lineman Jordan Devey with Friday's deal, sending Derek Carrier to Washington for an undisclosed draft choice reported to be a conditional fifth-round selection in 2017.

The updated scorecard, then: seven tight ends in camp, including long snapper Kyle Nelson, nine draft picks next year, with the potential of three more compensatory pick to raise the total to 12.

Carrier, a converted receiver, ended last season on injured reserve with a foot issue. He played in 16 games with one start in two years with the 49ers, catching nine passes for 105 yards in 11 games last season.

He had been seen as a potential pass-catching tight end replacement for Vernon Davis, who is entering the final year of his contract but had a tough battle with Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, Xavier Grimble and rookies Blake Bell and Busta Anderson still on the roster

"We have to have the best tight end group in the league," free safety Eric Reid said.

Not sure about that, but if nothing else, it's a little more streamlined after this week's trades.