SANTA CLARA, Calif. — With left tackle Joe Staley out for six to eight weeks because of a broken fibula, the San Francisco 49ers added some offensive line depth Friday, signing veteran Sam Young to a one-year deal.
Adding Young came at the surprising expense of wide receiver Trent Taylor, who was placed on the injured reserve list to create a roster spot for Young.
Taylor has been recovering from a Jones fracture in his right foot suffered on Aug. 8. He had surgery two days later to repair the injury, which is a break between the base and the middle part of the fifth metatarsal that results in pain on the outside of the foot.
That Taylor has landed on injured reserve comes as a bit of a surprise considering that the team initially expected his recovery to take four to six weeks and that as recently as last week, coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers were hoping to get Taylor back after next week’s bye.
Because he’s on injured reserve, Taylor must now miss at least the next eight weeks. Should Taylor be able to recover in that time, he could become one of the team’s two players designated to return from injured reserve, though it’s not clear what his new recovery timetable is. Under league rules, the 49ers do not have to designate Taylor to return now and can monitor his progress over the next couple of months before making a decision.
The loss of Taylor for extended time is a blow for a Niners offense that was expecting him to have a big role at slot receiver. Taylor has 69 catches for 645 yards and three touchdowns in 29 games, though he was limited by a back injury in 2018.
Young, meanwhile, returns to the 49ers after having been released by them on Aug. 31. He’s expected to serve as the backup to rookie Justin Skule, the 2019 sixth-round pick out of Vanderbilt, who is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In Young, the Niners get some experienced depth behind Skule. Young has played 88 games with 21 starts in a nine-year career.