Amid some speculation and rumors the San Francisco 49ers are seeking a wide receiver by the 2019 NFL trade deadline, such a move would help head coach Kyle Shanahan and his offense. Wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and A.J. Green are players to watch.
The San Francisco 49ers‘ window to win a Super Bowl is open now.
That window probably showed up a season too early, which isn’t a bad thing. Most figured the Niners would hover around the .500 mark in 2019. After defeating the Washington Redskins 9-0 in Week 7 and improving their record to a perfect 6-0 this season, it’s clear head coach Kyle Shanahan has his squad on a trajectory towards a deep playoff push.
Early in the season, one could have argued the 49ers didn’t need to make a splashy move by the NFL trade deadline later this month. Particularly at wide receiver, where San Francisco has invested two second-round NFL Draft picks the last two years: Dante Pettis in 2018 and Deebo Samuel this year.
It’s way too early to prematurely give up on either of those two players, yes. And they can both remain in the Niners’ long-term plans.
But bringing in a true No. 1 wide receiver now would make a world of difference.
There are two names to watch here in particular: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, as well as Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos.
According to a report from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the “49ers are among a bevvy of teams with interest” in Green, who is still out with torn ligaments in his ankle, stemming from an injury suffered during training camp. But it’s hard to overlook the 31 year old’s seven Pro Bowl nods and recording at least 1,000 receiving yards in six of his eight pro seasons.
La Canfora also mentioned Sanders, along with a third possible trade target in the mix, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who played under Shanahan when he was the Falcons offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016.
Granted, La Canfora’s hit-miss rate on reports is so-so, at best, so it’s anyone’s guess whether or not the reports are true. Although Denver’s 9 News’ Mike Klis followed up the report, confirming the Broncos were indeed intending to trade Sanders by the NFL trade deadline.
The rumors themselves don’t change San Francisco’s need either way, which was pointed out by Fourth and Nine’s Dylan DeSimone:
Speaking of a problem, no 49ers wide receiver has more than 200 yards this season — an almost unbelievable mark after six games. While some of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s early inaccuracy issues can be attributed to the lack of wide receiver stats, the numbers also have been affected by the lack of a go-to wide receiver target. Sure, tight end George Kittle has served as such a weapon so far. But getting Shanahan’s offense to the next level requires a high-impact wideout, too.
Speaking of playoffs now, the Niners are enjoying one of the most potent defenses they’ve had this century, and surely the best they’ve had since the early years of the decade. After shutting out the Redskins, this unit’s numbers will only look better heading into the middle of the 2019 season.
But with some hard contract decisions facing Shanahan and the front office in 2020, it’s unlikely the 49ers will be able to sustain the sheer depth they’re currently enjoying at a number of positions, particularly up front along the defensive line.
This translates to San Francisco’s benefit to upgrade the offense now, while taking advantage of the defense’s current play.
Both Sanders and Green will be free agents in 2020, which complicates matters for the Niners front office. So does the fact the 49ers are without a second-round draft pick to use as compensation, too.
It’s possible both the Bengals and Broncos will trade off their top receivers to the highest bidder. Yet if there isn’t a ton of interest, or if the Niners are willing to outbid somehow, either Sanders or Green could find himself in a San Francisco uniform sooner than later. Especially if either team is driven to get something in exchange for either player before he hits free agency.
Remember, the 49ers acquired former wide receiver Anquan Boldin from the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 for a sixth-round pick.
Either way, the Niners would benefit in a big way by getting a player like Green or Sanders. And some of the reports suggest acquiring either is a possibility.
The 2019 NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET.