Bleacher Report suggests a 49ers trade but not the one you think

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

It’s the offseason, which means there’ll be no shortage of 49ers chatter involving speculative trades and ideas. But this one from Bleacher Report has merits.

By now, you’re probably getting sick of all the San Francisco 49ers talk about whether or not they’ll trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason.

For the longest time, it appeared that was destined to happen. Even Jimmy G made it apparently inevitable during his end-of-year press conference. Except for NFL insiders like ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested a would-be Garoppolo trade wasn’t a certainty.

Well, we’re not talking about that trade here.

No, in fact the folks over at Bleacher Report broke down another trade that would impact the Niners this offseason. They run these kinds of articles every offseason, this one in particular pointing out the trade each team should make entering 2022.

OK, full disclosure, their proposed trade for San Francisco was moving Garoppolo after all.

But that’s not the trade we’re talking about. No, it’s a trade involving another 49ers player.

Bleacher Report suggests NY Jets trade for 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw

Forget about Garoppolo for a moment. Let’s focus on fourth-year linebacker Dre Greenlaw.

The Niners had Greenlaw for only three regular-season games, him sidelined for much of the year with a groin injury suffered way back in Week 1, then subsequent aggravations that hindered his return until late in the year and into the playoffs.

This opened up the door for depth linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair to assume a prominent role in Greenlaw’s absence, and Al-Shaair ended up finishing second on San Francisco’s defense with 102 tackles, nine of which were for a loss, to go along with two sacks over 13 regular-season games played.

Not bad.

The New York Jets, meanwhile, need all the defensive help they can get after finishing 2021 with the league’s worst ranked defense, both in terms of scoring and yards allowed. With former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh tasked with turning that side of the ball around this offseason, why not lure in one of his former players?

It’s what B/R suggested Gang Green should do:

"Dre Greenlaw played his first two years in the league with the 49ers when Saleh was the defensive coordinator. During that time, he started 22 games and showed promise as an athletic linebacker who could contribute in coverage. He only allowed a passer rating of 83.0 when targeted his rookie year.Most importantly, he proved to be a sure tackler. Greenlaw had 92 and 86 total tackles in his first two seasons and missed just 2.1 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.As he heads into the final season of his rookie contract, Greenlaw’s future with the Niners could be shaky. They just gave Fred Warner a massive extension and Azeez Al-Shaair proved he could be a replacement for Greenlaw."

Why 49ers would entertain trading Dre Greenlaw to NY Jets

The Niners experienced a similar situation two seasons ago when they had an abundance of starting-caliber linebackers: Greenlaw, Warner and Kwon Alexander. Retaining all three wasn’t going to be sustainable, particularly after Warner’s massive contract extension, so Alexander was shipped off to the New Orleans Saints before the 2020 NFL trade deadline.

Greenlaw enters the final year of his rookie contract in 2022 and will cost San Francisco $2.62 million, according to Over the Cap, which is cheap money for a starting linebacker.

Read More: Azeez Al-Shaair was 49ers’ best unsung hero in 2021

Al-Shaair, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent this offseason. Should the 49ers apply a second-round RFA tender on him, it would cost them $3.986 million, per OTC, which would be slightly more but made easier if Greenlaw is traded with assets coming back in return.

And the Niners truly only need two starting-caliber linebackers with modest depth options to guard against injury.

From New York’s vantage point, it’d get slightly better at the second level of the defense, perhaps helping Saleh buy a little more time revamping a putrid defense from a season ago.

A Greenlaw trade might not be anywhere close to the blockbuster-kind of move Garoppolo would be.

But it might be just as likely to happen.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best trades in franchise history. dark