3 former players San Francisco 49ers might miss in 2020

Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
49ers Emmanuel Sanders
Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

No. 2: 49ers Offense Could Miss Emmanuel Sanders

Granted, now-New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders only had two games with the 49ers in which he posted more than 100 receiving yards: Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals and Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. So while the veteran pass catcher’s 36 receptions for 502 yards in an abbreviated season with San Francisco have to be taken with a proverbial grain of salt, there’s little questioning he had a pretty significant impact turning what was previously an underwhelming Niners receiving corps around.

Sanders helped open up the team’s passing game, letting then-rookie wideout Deebo Samuel get more chances as defenses were often focused on the former.

Now, it’ll be Samuel’s turn to be the No. 1 wide receiver weapon for San Francisco.

There are plenty of reasons to assume Samuel is up for the task, yes. But he won’t be able to do it alone.

The Niners passed up the chance to re-sign Sanders, saving the eventual two years, $16 million he got from the Saints instead. And the approach was to bring aboard former Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.

While Aiyuk seems to be a seamless fit in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, relying too heavily on a rookie in year one is always a risky proposition.

Simply put, there will be times this season when the Niners wished they hadn’t said goodbye to Sanders.