49ers should trade for this player at 2021 deadline

Cameron Dantzler, Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Cameron Dantzler, Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

The 49ers shouldn’t be aggressive buyers at the 2021 NFL trade deadline, but this one player could be a likable target if the price is right.

If San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has a choice to be either a buyer or seller at the 2021 NFL trade deadline, he should most assuredly choose the latter.

For starters, lacking first-round NFL Draft picks in 2022 and 2023 in the wake of last spring’s trade-up to grab quarterback Trey Lance, Lynch would be best stockpiling as much draft capital as he possibly could. And with the Niners 2-4 and looking at a hard reality of a rebuild to parallel Lance’s development over the next year or two, it’s probably best to “sell high” on players who effectively don’t fit into the long-term plans.

Including the quarterback Lance will eventually replace, Jimmy Garoppolo, if anyone is willing to take on that massive contract through next season.

But that doesn’t automatically rule out Lynch from being a buyer at the deadline.

The NFL trade deadline, and the weeks leading up to it, can provide bargain-basement deals. Case in point, the Carolina Panthers picked up four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore for a sixth-round pick, although Gilmore is coming off an injury-plagued 2020 campaign and has yet to play this year.

Still, a Round 6 pick.

John Lynch, 49ers should make all efforts to trade for Vikings CB Cameron Dantzler

San Francisco needs help at cornerback. Bad. It’s being punished for neglecting the position in recent years and hinging hopes on oft-injured corner Jason Verrett staying healthy, and Verrett landed on season-ending injured reserve with a torn ACL.

The two rookies the 49ers selected, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, have scantly contributed. And only one of those two, Lenoir, has remotely shown any signs of being a long-term option.

The off-the-scrap-heap free-agent pickups, Josh Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick, aren’t solving any issues either.

If the Niners want to beef up the depth chart now while preparing this group for the future, the one trade target Lynch should have in mind is Minnesota Vikings second-year cornerback Cameron Dantzler.

Dantzler, the 2020 third-round pick out of Mississippi State who earned Pro Football Focus All-Rookie honors last season, has gone from a promising up-and-comer to quite the afterthought for Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox described the fallout:

"He missed Week 5 while on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He didn’t play in Week 1 and played only special teams snaps in Week 3. He returned for Week 6 and played just 34 percent of the defensive snaps.It’s becoming clear that the Vikings don’t value Dantzler as much as they did a year ago. However, he does have value."

Right now, Dantzler would be about as big a plug-and-play option San Francisco would have, lessening the pressure on getting results from either Lenoir or Thomas and alleviating pressure on the remaining crop of 49ers defensive backs who figure to be with the team next season.

And that’s a pretty small list.

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Plus, having just turned 23 years old and under a cheap rookie deal through 2023, the Niners would have solid financial control for the foreseeable future.

Granted, Lynch probably can’t afford a lofty bidding war. But if the Vikings are intent on getting rid of Dantzler, and it surely doesn’t seem like he’s fitting into their future plans anymore, even a mid-round pick would be worth the investment.

A proven player on a rookie contract with even more room to develop is always going to be worth more than a Round 3 or Round 4 draftee who’ll start off as a complete unknown.

That’s a deal Lynch and San Francisco’s front office should aggressively pursue even if all other signs are pointing towards being sellers.

The 2021 NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. ET.

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