Bleacher Report suggests provocative 49ers trade (not the Jimmy Garoppolo one)

Jonnu Smith #81 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Jonnu Smith #81 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Yeah, the 49ers should trade Jimmy Garoppolo. But what if they engineered another interesting trade before Week 1 as Bleacher Report suggests?

Bleacher Report is suggesting the San Francisco 49ers trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the Carolina Panthers as part of a series breaking down the one trade each team should make ahead of training camp.

But that’s not why we’re here.

Talking about Jimmy G to the Panthers is old news now, and for Carolina, it’s likely one of three options, the other two being a trade with the Cleveland Browns for quarterback Baker Mayfield or rolling through 2022 with an ineffective tandem of signal-callers Sam Darnold and Matt Corral.

Oh, and B/R’s suggestion of a Garoppolo trade was for the Panthers. Not the Niners.

In fact, you might raise your eyebrows when looking at who they’d said would be an excellent trade pickup for San Francisco.

Bleacher Report hypes a 49ers trade for TE Jonnu Smith

If this is your first season being a fan of the 49ers, you might not know head coach Kyle Shanahan has long sought two tight ends who can both contribute at high levels.

The Niners have one, All-Pro George Kittle, but Shanahan’s prospects for landing a secondary option have come up short in recent years (unless you’re overly enthusiastic about third-rate tight ends like Ross Dwelley or Tyler Kroft making an impact).

This is where B/R comes into play and suggests San Francisco trades a Round 3 pick to the New England Patriots for tight end Jonnu Smith.

Smith, turning 27 years old and coming off a one-year stint with New England in which he recorded only 28 catches for 294 yards and a touchdown, doesn’t exactly have much of a future with the Pats after they invested heavily in fellow tight end Hunter Henry, something B/R pointed out.

As such, Smith didn’t have a chance to replicate the relatively solid back-to-back years he enjoyed with the Tennessee Titans the two years prior.

From B/R:

"The 49ers could use insurance in case George Kittle misses time with an injury, especially since Kittle has missed 11 games over the past two years.Pairing Smith with the two-time Pro Bowler would work smoothly in Kyle Shanahan’s excellent, deception-based scheme. Smith is a great athlete who excels when he’s in space, and there’s not a better coach in the league at creating an open field for his receivers."

Indeed, Kittle’s injury history is a bit of a concern. And while San Francisco received relatively modest production from Dwelley in 2020 when Kittle missed roughly half the year with injuries, there’s little doubting a player like Smith would be an upgrade over anyone the 49ers have on their offseason roster right now.

Additionally, Shanahan finally getting the ability to deploy two pass-catching threats at the position at once would be yet another element aimed at making his offense that much more potent.

Probably a necessity with second-year quarterback Trey Lance looking to get as much help as he possibly can during his first season as a starter.

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