49ers' longest-tenured player in battle for spot

49ers' longest-tenured player in battle for spot
June 18, 2013, 7:45 am
Share This Post

Brian Jennings is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has been nearly perfect since his arrival as a seventh-round draft pick in 2000. (AP)

The longest-tenured 49ers player is facing his stiffest competition to remain on the team.

Long-snapper Brian Jennings, 36, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has been nearly perfect since his arrival as a seventh-round draft pick in 2000, has two young players trying to win his job this offseason.

While the 49ers carried only one punter (Andy Lee) and one kicker (Phil Dawson) through most of the team's offseason program, the 49ers brought in two long-snappers to compete with Jennings.

The 49ers under coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke have tried to promote competition at every position. Jennings emerged as the best among three options last offseason, too.

But, this year, it seems the 49ers have made a more-concerted effort to challenge Jennings with some young, viable candidates for the job of snapping on punts and kicks.

The 49ers signed UCLA's Kevin McDermott, who went undrafted, and Harbaugh made it clear he was their top target at long snapper in the entire rookie class.

"We really felt that he was the best long-snapping candidate in college football," Harbaugh said after the rookies arrived for the offseason program. "And we're really pleased to have him on the squad. And he'll be in a battle of competition with the great Brian Jennings at that position. But I think he's an excellent candidate and has the license and the opportunity to make a spot on this football team."

A month ago, the 49ers claimed another long-snapper, Kyle Nelson, off waivers from the San Diego Chargers. Nelson served as the Chargers' long-snapper for six games last season after spending the offseason and training camp with the 49ers.

Jennings, who is signed through 2014, is scheduled to earn $940,000 if he makes the team. The 49ers can save cap space if one of the younger players wins the job. Nelson would make $480,000, while McDermott is scheduled to earn the rookie minimum of $405,000.

 

More Team Talk

25m
40m
40m
1h