SF 49ers should deal Dante Pettis to Bengals for John Ross

The SF 49ers aren’t using wide receiver Dante Pettis, while the Bengals aren’t using wideout John Ross. Would a trade make sense for both sides?

Player-for-player trades are rare in the NFL, yet that’s something SF 49ers general manager John Lynch should consider leading up to the 2020 NFL trade deadline on Oct. 29.

One of the players Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan should consider unloading somehow is third-year wide receiver Dante Pettis, who has gone from a highly touted second-round NFL Draft pick in 2018 to a regular name on the weekly inactive list, which included Super Bowl LIV last February and Weeks 5 and 6 of this season.

Whatever the case with Pettis is, it’s pretty clear both he and San Francisco need a fresh start away from each other. And the sooner, the better. Particularly with the SF 49ers getting contributions from their top two wide receivers now, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

There’s another receiver who isn’t particularly thrilled with his own situation, Cincinnati Bengals wideout John Ross III.

Ross, Cincy’s first-round pick from the 2017 NFL Draft, has also seen his stock value drop considerably as of late. Despite a career-best 506-yard, three-touchdown season in 2019, the speedy wideout now finds himself buried on the depth chart behind Bengals wide receivers A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins.

To date, Ross has just two catches for 17 yards over three games played.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Ross requested a trade, looking for that “fresh start” Pettis would also probably like to get:

You can see the wheels starting to turn here, right?


Why a John Ross, Dante Pettis trade makes sense for SF 49ers and Bengals

From a financial standpoint, according to Over the Cap, the Niners would have to absorb roughly $2.8 million of Ross’ 2020 salary, yet jettisoning Pettis’ contract would save $1.35 million against the acquisition.

Those figures are negligible, as far as the grand cap scheme goes, and Pettis’ services might be a bit more attractive to a rebuilding Bengals squad, as he’s still under contract through 2021 and won’t be a proverbial “half-year rental” player.

In the case with Ross and Pettis and their respective teams, neither is being used. Why not get something, anything while the window is still open?

For San Francisco, whose wide receiving corps has already dealt with a slew of injuries and still lacks the downfield speed threat despite the presence of Samuel and Aiyuk, Ross would have to resurrect his career as one of Shanahan’s “gadget weapons.”

Remember, Ross broke the NFL Scouting Combine record for the fastest 40-yard dash time with 4.22 seconds:

Shanahan loves speed, something SF 49ers fans know all too well. And he already has an example helping resurrect speedy wideouts whose careers flamed out elsewhere.

Case in point, Shanahan helped now-Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin bounce back with a near 1,000-yard campaign in 2017, his first year with the Niners after failing to make a huge dent with the Buffalo Bills, previously.

Perhaps the same opportunity could be afforded to Ross in a player-for-player swap between the two teams.

The 2020 NFL trade deadline is Thursday, Oct. 29.