49ers trade possibility No. 3: Linebacker Dre Greenlaw
The Niners’ actions in the 2022 draft certainly suggested they weren’t interested in trading fourth-year linebacker Dre Greenlaw despite his nearly year-long absence from last season because of a groin injury suffered in Week 1 and the emergence of fellow linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair in his wake.
San Francisco didn’t draft any linebackers, and the only other move of note was to ink former Green Bay Packers special teams ace Oren Burks to bolster the depth chart here.
Theoretically, the 49ers can easily deploy a trio of Al-Shaair, Greenlaw and All-Pro Fred Warner in a starting base-down threesome, but the majority of defenses are in two-linebacker formations these days anyway, meaning one of those three will see significantly less field time than the other, assuming injuries don’t play a major role again.
As such, there’s a bit of an excess.
Greenlaw might carry more of the pedigree than Al-Shaair and will have more trade value, and moving him would free up more than $2.5 million in cap space against negligible dead money.
With both Greenlaw and Al-Shaair scheduled to hit free agency in 2023, it’s possible the Niners look to get something from at least one of those two players’ potential departures sooner than later.