San Francisco 49ers: Ranking top 10 trades in franchise history

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Anquan Boldin, 49ers
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin #81 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The 49ers haven’t been shy about building through trades, although these 10 inter-team moves rank as the best in franchise history.

In the middle of the 2020 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers broke a blockbuster move by engineering a trade with the Washington Football Team for perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, arguably a first-ballot Hall of Famer when his time comes to be enshrined in Canton.

The move was special for a number of reasons. First, Williams would be reunited with his former offensive coordinator in Washington, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan. On top of that, the Niners were pulling off essentially an emergency move to replace the retiring Joe Staley, who anchored the left spot of San Francisco’s offensive line since 2007.

And all the 49ers had to give up in the process were two mid-round picks, a fifth rounder in 2020 and a Round 3 selection in 2021.

Not bad at all.

Williams might not stick around with the Niners long enough to be viewed as one of those cornerstone trades fans would talk about for generations. Yet it illustrates the point San Francisco has never been shy about improving its roster by way of the illustrious trade.

Some trades of yesteryear didn’t go so well. Few choose to remember the disastrous trade for former Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson back in 1978. Jettisoning Hall of Fame EDGE Charles Haley to the rival Dallas Cowboys wasn’t a great move either.

Yet there were plenty of other trades the various 49ers front offices made over the years that panned out to desired expectations, some certainly more than others. How about quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo? Wide receiver Anquan Boldin? Yes, those moves worked out well enough.

Niner Noise looks at the 10 best trades in franchise history.