5 trades John Lynch, 49ers should pursue at 2021 trade deadline

General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
General Manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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John Lynch, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

With the 2021 NFL trade deadline fast approaching, Niner Noise explores five trades the 49ers would be wise to explore making happen.

The San Francisco 49ers need to start thinking smartly about their long-term future.

At 2-4 and looking at the hard reality of missing out on the playoffs this season, general manager John Lynch should probably see things in the best interest of 2022 and beyond. Not 2021, a year that’s turning into a frustratingly lost season despite previous hopes of being a legitimate playoff threat.

Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have never shied away from making trade moves, highlighted recently by the Niners’ aggressive trade-up last spring to acquire rookie quarterback Trey Lance.

And while Lance’s journey from a raw prospect to an eventual franchise centerpiece has dominated San Francisco’s conversation this year, there are still plenty of other developments that need to take place.

Lynch and the 49ers should strongly lean towards being sellers at the 2021 NFL trade deadline, which is just around the corner. Sure, blockbuster-type deals at the deadline are rarities in the NFL and not like other sports where half-year “rentals” are common.

But that doesn’t mean Lynch should avoid making some serious calls, especially if he can pull off one or more of these five pre-deadline deals.

No. 5: 49ers trade EDGE Samson Ebukam to Bills

The Buffalo Bills are emerging as one of the preeminent teams within the AFC. With the Kansas City Chiefs floundering, the path is clear for head coach Sean McDermott’s squad to fully take command of the conference en route to a Super Bowl.

If there’s one key area lacking, though, it’s in the pass-rush department. Sure, rookie EDGE Gregory Rousseau has been a nice story, leading the Bills with three sacks this season. In all, however, Buffalo is still very much in the middle of the pack in the sack department with 14, and no other edge defender has more than one sack entering Week 8.

Meanwhile, the Niners have received next to nothing from one of their high-profile free-agent pickups this offseason, EDGE Samson Ebukam, who has yet to record his first sack in San Francisco and has just one quarterback hit after inking a two-year, $12 million deal during the offseason.

The return of fellow EDGE Jordan Willis of the reserve/suspended list makes Ebukam a lot more expendable, and even though the 49ers would have to eat $1.75 million in dead money next year, they’d save $6.5 million in 2022, per Over the Cap, plus whatever prorated amount from Ebukam’s current hit.

Despite the lack of production this year, Ebukam is still just a year removed from back-to-back 4.5-sack campaigns with the Los Angeles Rams, suggesting the fifth-year pro is still adequate enough to be a supplementary pass-rusher.

One who could help bolster a Super Bowl contender’s defense.