Mike Lombardi of the Ringer reported the news heading into Friday's Day 2 action. Kevin Jones of KNBR reported the 49ers are considering drafting a tight end, which is the impetus for floating McDonald on the market.
McDonald, 26, recorded 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns last season. His contract, which included a $7 million signing bonus, could be worth as much as $35 million. The 49ers hold club options for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, which might limit the deal to three years should McDonald struggle to perform.
Signing McDonald at the time was a curious move, given it was all but certain the 49ers would undergo a regime change. Their one-year dalliance with Chip Kelly never got off the ground, and former general manager Trent Baalke was on the hot seat all season.
Both were ousted at the end of 2016, replaced by first-time general manager John Lynch and first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan. The duo has already been among the big winners of the 2017 draft, nabbing a haul to trade back one spot from No. 2 to No. 3 and then landing Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster in the first round.
While both lack experience running an organization, it's only natural they'd push to get their own guys in place. McDonald has no ties to either Shanahan or Lynch and lacks a strong NFL resume. He's never had more than 30 receptions or even hit the 400-yard barrier through the air.
Jones' report indicates the team is looking for a "playmaker," which likely means they'll look for a pass-catching specialist. South Alabama's Gerald Everett, Michigan's Jake Butt and Virginia Tech's Bucky Hodges could be names to watch out for when San Francisco is on the clock in Day 2.