The San Francisco 49ers should consider making a trade for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. Let’s explore the options available to help close the deal.
Editor’s note: This article was written before the Niners made a trade with the Denver Broncos for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on Tuesday.
The San Francisco 49ers offense is humming on all levels except one. They have no wide receiver threat, which is why the Niners should strongly consider making a trade for Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
Don’t let the Week 6 “Mud Bowl” fog your perspective. This offense is still very good. Running backs Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida continue to dominate the ground game and have helped establish the NFL’s second-best rush offense. And while the 49ers have been above average in both yards per game and points per game, there is still one obvious void that needs to be filled.
San Francisco needs a sure-handed wide receiver. Much of the offseason conversation was about which young receiver would be the WR1. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked the question frequently and made it clear that nobody stood out, definitively.
After six games in 2019, the 49ers have not had a wide receiver eclipse the 100-yard receiving mark. Currently, veteran wideout Marquise Goodwin is leading this crop, albeit with just 181 yards on the year in total. It becomes more and more apparent each week Shanahan needs a weapon on the perimeter.
Green has yet to take a snap in 2019, but there is no denying his ability to add value when he does suit up. Green made the Pro Bowl in seven straight seasons, missing the event just once in his eight-year career.
No wide receiver on the 49ers has had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons since Anquan Boldin in 2013 and 2014. Boldin is also the last 49ers receiver to have a 1,000-yard season: a feat Green has accomplished six times in his career.
The knock on Green has been his availability and he is only getting older. Green has missed significant time in 2016 and in 2018. Not to bring up the fact, again, that Green has not taken a snap this season.
Though it does appear his return to the field is close. If Green is healthy, it only makes sense for the 49ers to take a chance and grab him while they can.
What would it take to acquire Green? The asking price is high, as Green has been a stellar performer. Is he worth the 2020 first-round pick? Probably not. But if the 49ers can package a player and their 2020 third-round pick, the trade becomes much more digestible.
Throw defensive end Solomon Thomas and a pair of picks at the Bengals and see what sticks. Thomas, who is still young and on his rookie contract, has found himself in a mere reserve role in San Francisco. Considering how bad Cincinnati’s defense has been this year, Thomas would surely be an upgrade somewhere for first-year head coach Zac Taylor.
And the Bengals, who could be facing a long-term rebuild, would need draft capital, too. The capital given up to acquire the talent should provide some decent return on investment.
The 49ers have until Oct. 29 to make a trade decision before the NFL trade deadline. Will they make a move? Stay tuned.