3 players 49ers should explore trading before Week 1

Ahkello Witherspoon #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ahkello Witherspoon #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Dante Pettis, 49ers
Dante Pettis #18 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

No. 3: 49ers Wide Receiver Dante Pettis

Many may think San Francisco should explore trading another top-drafted bust, defensive end Solomon Thomas. But with a 2020 cap hit of nearly $9.05 million, no other team is going to give up draft capital on a backup player making that kind of money.

Instead, one of those players who fell out of Kyle Shanahan’s good graces is third-year wide receiver Dante Pettis. From being a potential No. 1 receiving option late in 2018 all the way to a Super Bowl inactive, Pettis’ dramatic drop off has been well documented.

True, injuries to fellow Niners wideouts, namely Deebo Samuel (foot) and Richie James (wrist), increase Pettis’ chances to have a bigger role in 2020, particularly early in the season. Pettis should have every chance to resurrect what has otherwise been a disappointing second half of his still-young pro career.

But as far as that’s concerned, Pettis still has the “potential” factor on his side. One trade partner Niner Noise explored was the Minnesota Vikings, who could be seeking experienced depth behind their top wideout, Adam Thielen, in the wake of fellow receiver Stefon Diggs’ unceremonious departure during the offseason. If it worked out, Vikings rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson wouldn’t be under much pressure to contribute right away. But if it did work, Minnesota’s receiving corps would be much better.

There are other receiver-needy teams out there, too, potentially the New England Patriots or even the Pittsburgh Steelers, perhaps.

Granted, the 49ers would lose on their Round 2 draft investment from 2018, perhaps netting nothing more than a fourth- or fifth-round pick in return. But it would clear some of the post-Samuel/James injury logjam at the position while giving Pettis a fresh start.