Circumstances cost 49ers' Brandon Jones

Go ahead and criticize the San Francisco 49ers for wasting their money on free-agent receiver Brandon Jones.

The team announced his release Wednesday without getting anything close to a reasonable return on its investment. But any analysis of Jones' acquisition from the Tennessee Titans in free agency before last season should take into account unexpected circumstances that lowered expectations for the signing.

The team couldn't have anticipated having a shot at receiver Michael Crabtree in the 2009 draft. Expectations changed when Crabtree fell to the 49ers at No. 10 and Jones suffered a shoulder injury heading into the season. Jones had trouble staying healthy and the team never really needed him once Crabtree reported, particularly with tight end Vernon Davis emerging as a Pro Bowl threat in the passing game.

Jones had been missing practices with a hamstring injury lately, and with Ted Ginn Jr. enjoying a strong camp, Jones was further on the outside. Rookie return specialist Kyle Williams has also emerged at receiver and the team appears high on him despite the toe injury Williams suffered recently.