49ers defensive line depth is prompting calls from other teams

Kevin Givens #90 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Kevin Givens #90 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

The 49ers have been receiving phone calls from other NFL squads about their defensive line player available, according to John Lynch.

The San Francisco 49ers‘ first two preseason games of 2021 have revealed a lot about where head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad is going this season.

And while the bulk of attention has focused on the quarterback competition between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, perhaps the other biggest development has been just how dominant and intimidating the Niners defensive line has been over these two games.

Particularly in Week 2 of the preseason when San Francisco’s defensive front overwhelmed the Los Angeles Chargers en route to five sacks, getting contributions from a number of players who aren’t anything close to full-time starters.

Many of those starters, including EDGEs Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, didn’t even play during the game. Nevertheless, the full depth of the 49ers’ D-line was on full display for all to see.

Including the remaining 31 teams across the league.

Other NFL teams interested in 49ers defensive line depth

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR 680’s Murph & Mac Show Friday morning to discuss a number of goings-on, and it wasn’t long before he was discussing just how formidable the 49ers D-line has looked thus far this preseason.

And one of the nuggets in his comments was how other teams have been calling about players who could potentially be made available:

"This is very reminiscent of [the 2019 D-line], to me. We’re strong at the front line, and Nick has looked great in his return. [Javon] Kinlaw came back this week in practice and has looked really good. But we’re also extremely deep at that position, and believe me, we’re taking a lot of calls because people are interested in some of our depth but we’re hanging on to it because we want to be a group — we want to be strong there."

While other teams around the league have already made some trades, such as the Las Vegas Raiders acquiring linebacker Denzel Perryman from the Carolina Panthers, Lynch and the Niners have remained quiet on that front.

Lynch said he wants to retain the D-line depth, likely a reaction to the sheer number of injuries this group suffered a season ago, including losing both Bosa and Ford for nearly the entire year.

Still, there are likely to be at least a handful of starting-caliber linemen San Francisco is forced to part ways with when final roster cuts are announced on Aug. 31.

If the 49ers can trade anyone, who would it be?

Teams typically don’t offer up NFL Draft capital, even late-round picks, for one-year rentals. Especially if those players are potentially on the fringes and could likely be had as waiver-wire adds or free agents.

Typically, teams looking to make a deal want affordable roster control beyond a season, so it makes sense why The Athletic’s Matt Barrows singled out reserve nose tackle Kevin Givens, who’ll be an exclusive-rights free agent next year, as a potential trade candidate.

ERFAs can only negotiate new deals with the team holding their rights, and those contracts are awfully cheap.

At nose tackle, Givens is one of two candidates — the other being another preseason standout, Zach Kerr — competing for primary backup duties behind the presumed starter, D.J. Jones. Teams typically don’t carry three nose tackles on a 53-man roster, so Barrows making the point about Givens, who has received rave reviews during training camp from defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, being a possible trade commodity has some merit.

Lynch won’t reveal his hand, though. And even if he’s exploring options, the thought of wanting to retain as much depth as possible is an understandable stance in the wake of what happened on the injury front a year ago.

H/t to 49ers Webzone for the find.

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