49ers roster: 4 easy trades John Lynch can make before 2021 deadline

Pittsburgh Steelers, James Washington. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers, James Washington. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Marcell Harris, San Francisco 49ers
Marcell Harris, San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

With the 2021 NFL trade deadline quickly approaching, the San Francisco 49ers need to make moves, and they can start with a few easy ones.

Things needs to change for the San Francisco 49ers. A 2-3 record after five games means something isn’t working. In the Niners’ case, there are a number of issues contributing to their slow start that need some rejuvenation.

The solution to a host of San Francisco struggles isn’t to fire Kyle Shanahan or make dramatic snap count changes. It’s a lot more simple than that.

General manager John Lynch needs to capitalize on some easy trades before the NFL trade deadline.

Injuries have affected almost every position for the 49ers, but they have immediate needs at cornerback and pressing problems running back and wide receiver. None of these deficiencies have to be solved with big-name deals. There are plenty of affordable, easy options to trade for in the coming weeks that can aid the team’s post-bye turnaround.

4 easy trades for 49ers ahead of 2021 NFL trade deadline

4. Send LB Marcell Harris to Denver

Marcell Harris is in the last year of his four-year, $2,626,300 rookie contract. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 class as a safety but has since been converted to linebacker due to his superior run-defense skills along with questionable pass-coverage abilities. He fractured his thumb in Week 5, but should be ready to go in Week 7 following the bye.

Just in time to up his value against the Indianapolis Colts so he can be included in a deal to the Denver Broncos.

Harris just hasn’t reached his true potential in Shanahan and DeMeco Ryan’s defensive scheme. He’s started only six of his last 21 games and played less than 30 percent of the defensive snaps through five weeks. The former has also missed an unfortunate number of easy tackles and looked out of sorts on the field this season. It’s time for him to get a fresh start.

Denver is the perfect landing place for Harris. They lost starting linebacker Alexander Johnson to a season-ending pectoral tear in Week 6 against the Las Vegas Raiders, and he’s the third linebacker placed on IR for the Broncos this season. That depleted depth at the LB slot in the perfect place to plug in Harris. Despite being riddled with defensive injuries, the Broncos still have the fourth best run defense in the league.

With 122 career tackles and four years of experience, Harris is better than anyone Denver would elevate off its practice squad.

Lynch also has a great relationship with the Broncos to leverage the trade for a higher pick. He was a two-year defensive captain for Denver in 2006 and 2007 and played the last game of his career with the organization. Handing them a solid linebacker when they’re so desperate at the position has to be an easy choice for the Niners.