The San Francisco 49ers have been quiet despite a flurry of trade activity around the NFL ahead of free agency on March 13. Why have the Niners been so inactive?
So much for the idea trades don’t happen much in NFL ranks.
The San Francisco 49ers, of course, have been awfully quiet on the trade front. At least as of the time of this article’s creation and writing.
Previous buzz surrounding the Niners and the Pittsburgh Steelers involving wide receiver Antonio Brown came to a halt. And while there are still thoughts and rumors of adding New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. via a trade, nothing has come close to materializing.
And that’s only a handful of the deals. Quarterback movement from the Baltimore Ravens to Denver Broncos, from the Broncos to the Washington Redskins and so on. Brown’s non-trade from the Steelers to the Buffalo Bills. It’s been a wild offseason so far.
So, why has San Francisco been so quiet on the trade front, especially with so many teams apparently making players available?
It’s a good question. Sure, there’s news the Niners are interested in Kansas City Chiefs EDGE Dee Ford. But aside from that report, not much.
Last month, head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t rule out possible offseason trades to improve the team’s roster, saying (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area), “We’re in the market for anything that makes our team better at every single position.”
There’s always the proverbial “it takes two to tango” argument, which could rule out the Giants as would-be partners in a deal for Beckham.
That said, there are plenty of reasons why the 49ers haven’t executed any other trades as well. For starters, armed with only six picks in this year’s NFL Draft, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch don’t have a lot of assets with which to work, compounded with the fact the Niners’ roster is far from complete.
This alone could make Shanahan and Lynch a bit hesitant to pull off even a less-heralded deal between now and draft day. Plus, with roughly $66.7 million in cap space, San Francisco might be shifting more attention to how the 2019 free-agent market shakes out.
If you can upgrade positions effectively, without having to give up much-needed draft assets, you do it.
As far as trading off players — something the 49ers did last year with center Daniel Kilgore after signing Weston Richburg in free agency — you’re likely not going to see any movement on that front until the free-agent market opens on March 13.
Besides, name a player on San Francisco’s roster who holds considerable trade value right now the team would be willing to give up. There aren’t many. Those who could be moved, such as quarterback Nick Mullens, probably won’t be until both free agency and NFL Draft results settle.
The point of all this is the 49ers haven’t needed to be overly aggressive on the trade market, and they don’t exactly have a ton of resources to get involved anyway.
The landscape can and will change, of course. But for now, it makes sense the Niners have been quiet.