The San Francisco 49ers capped a surprisingly busy and exciting day by trading a conditional seventh-round draft choice to the Miami Dolphins for offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. Yes, this is the Martin who played for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and who was, according to the Wells Report, the target of specific and abusive language and actions by Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey, and others in the Miami locker room. This same report quoted Harbaugh as supporting Martin, saying:
Coach Harbaugh told us he believed that Martin likely could continue to have a successful career in the NFL. It appears that Martin was up to the challenge of dealing with physical or verbal intimidation by opposing players during NFL games, but fell victim, at least in part, to persistent taunting from his own teammates. Although initially quiet, he became a vocal leader on the team by his final year. Coach Harbaugh emphasized that he never doubted Martin’s physical or mental toughness, and he believes that Martin can continue to have a successful career in the NFL. Coach Harbaugh also said that the atmosphere in the Stanford locker room, in his view, was not materially different from that of the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room.
So now Harbaugh has Martin, and the 49ers gave up very little to acquire him. The question becomes, what, exactly, will he be doing for a team with two solid, long-term starters at the offensive tackle positions? Both Joe Staley and Anthony Davis are signed for the next few years. It thus appears that Martin will be used as a rotational player, a backup, or perhaps inside–were guard Mike Iupati may very well be leaving a hole after next offseason. It will be intriguing to see what the 49ers do, but as Martin hardly cost a king’s ransom, this appears to be a good trade to shore up an offensive line with young depth. Also, does this not show that Harbaugh and Trent Baalke are talking again and listening to each other? This trade, all in all, is good for the 49ers.