NFL Nation: Jeff King Todd Heap

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Kevin Kolb was completing passes to Larry Fitzgerald on a Northern Arizona University practice field when news came down that Braylon Edwards was signing with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Cardinals also had interest in Edwards, but my feel is that the 49ers thought they needed him more.

Edwards gives the 49ers a big, talented target coming off a 53-catch, 904-yard, seven-touchdown season.

Those stats make Edwards an underachiever only if we view him as the third player chosen in the 2005 draft. The one-year contract agreement Edwards reached with the 49ers reflects his current status as something less. There's no sense in holding Edwards to an outdated standard. At present, he's a 28-year-old receiver on his third team since 2009.

The 49ers needed another receiver because they cannot count on Michael Crabtree. Crabtree is recovering from a foot injury and hasn't participated in a full training camp since entering the NFL as the 10th player chosen in the 2009 draft.

Crabtree caught 55 passes for 741 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Edwards averaged 17.1 yards per reception with the New York Jets last season. His stats weren't much better than the ones Crabtree posted, but consider this: San Francisco hasn't had a wide receiver reach 53 receptions, 904 yards and seven touchdowns in the same season since Terrell Owens had 80 catches for 1,102 yards and nine scores in 2003. Owens and Jerry Rice are the only 49ers players to hit those marks in one season since 1991.

Edwards can help the 49ers.

The Cardinals could have used him, too. They have Fitzgerald, however. They like Andre Roberts, have hope for Stephen Williams and haven't given up on Early Doucet. They also recently loaded up on tight ends by adding Todd Heap, Jeff King and third-round draft choice Rob Housler.

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