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Sunday, March 18, 2012
49ers buy flexibility with Manningham

By Mike Sando

Mario Manningham scored go-ahead touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10 and again in the NFC Championship Game.

If those plays did not get the 49ers' attention, Manningham's clutch 38-yard reception to sustain the winning touchdown drive in Super Bowl XLVI surely did.

The 49ers' contract agreement with Manningham came as the receiver market was drying up Saturday. It also kept Manningham from signing with an upcoming 49ers opponent. Manningham, 25, visited the St. Louis Rams after meeting with the 49ers.

San Francisco has now added Randy Moss and Manningham to a position that had subtracted Josh Morgan. The 49ers now have Michael Crabtree, Moss, Manningham, Kyle Williams, John Matthews, Joe Hastings, Dontavia Bogan and Kyle Nelson at the position.

Adding Moss and Manningham gives the 49ers flexibility heading into the draft. They should face less pressure to add a receiver in the first round.

The Scouts Inc. report on Manningham heading into the 2011 season said he "runs well but is quicker than fast and gets separation out of his break points with great burst and agility. ... He isn't a physical blocker but is effective at walling off on the perimeter. Manningham is a good, young receiver with big-play ability."

The 49ers will presumably have the 6-foot, 185-pound Manningham work on the blocking part. Morgan was a ferocious blocker for years. Crabtree developed into one last season.

Manningham agreed to a two-year deal. That indicates the 49ers got him at a reasonable price. Most big-money deals run longer, allowing teams to spread out the salary-cap impact.