3 moves 49ers will regret making this offseason

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco 49ers
Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

No. 1: 49ers Letting Emmanuel Sanders Walk in Free Agency

There were plenty of reasons why the Niners decided to let veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders leave via free agency during the offseason.

Statistically, Sanders provided just two games (Weeks 9 and 14) with 100-plus receiving-yard efforts, and his numbers began to decrease notably towards the end of the second half while then-rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel‘s took off.

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The thinking likely was Sanders would be an extra commodity, and Samuel would emerge as the go-to player at his position. With the Round 1 selection of Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, Kyle Shanahan likely anticipated pairing these two young pass catchers together in order to make this group all the more prolific.

Yet Samuel suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot during an impromptu practice session during the offseason and could be out for at least the first quarter of the regular season. Additionally, the lack of offseason on-field workouts in light of the current pandemic has translated to Aiyuk failing to get those oh-so valuable practice reps necessary to master the complexity of Shanahan’s offense.

It’s anyone’s guess how these two significant factors pan out in 2020.

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Sanders would go on to sign a two-year, $16 million contract with one of San Francisco’s top competitors for the NFC crown, the New Orleans Saints, and one can only wonder if this winds up coming back to haunt the 49ers in 2020.