NFL trade deadline: 4 trades 49ers wish they had made

San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers General Manager John Lynch (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images) /

The 49ers executed two trades in advance of the 2022 NFL trade deadline, but they probably wish they were able to make these four more.

The San Francisco 49ers engineered one of the few blockbuster deals that took place in advance of the 2022 NFL trade deadline, the “all in” move for former Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey.

And, at least based on what McCaffrey did in his Week 8 performance against the Los Angeles Rams, it was worth it from the perspective of Niners general manager John Lynch.

However, with McCaffrey in tow and fellow running back Elijah Mitchell poised to return from an MCL sprain, depth rusher Jeff Wilson Jr. became something of an expendable piece, and his trade to the Miami Dolphins rounded out San Francisco’s trade-deadline actions before the clock struck 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

It’s unknown whether or not the 49ers were seriously in on any other trade deals, and it’s possible Lynch and Co. were perfectly happy with these two moves.

However, it’s hard to suggest they wouldn’t have at least entertained one of these four trades at the 2022 NFL trade deadline.

NFL trade deadline: 49ers would have loved Commanders DT Daron Payne

It’s rare for teams to trade for interior defensive linemen, although the Las Vegas Raiders moved defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to the Dallas Cowboys for a day-three NFL Draft pick swap.

However, given the Niners are missing two of their starting D-linemen because of injuries, Arik Armstead (foot) and Javon Kinlaw (knee), adding another at the deadline would have been smart.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, it might have been close:

Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne would have been the ideal choice. Not just a run-stopper, Payne is seeking out a new contract but it’s likely to get it with Washington.

Perhaps only the Commanders’ recent surge convinced their top brass to retain Payne instead of dealing him at the deadline, although San Francisco would have loved to get its hands on him to shore up the interior of the D-line.

NFL trade deadline: 49ers would have loved Commanders CB William Jackson III

Not the first time being suggested, the 49ers should have looked at making another deal with Washington if Payne wasn’t going to be available.

Only this one was for Commanders’ disgruntled cornerback William Jackson III, who torpedoed his trade value by his literal war with the front office amid a contract year and in light of Washington benching him.

Even Pro Football Focus thought the Niners could lure Jackson away from the Commanders for a mere two seventh-round NFL Draft picks. Washington would be getting something, while San Francisco would get a starting-caliber corner to help replace the loss of Emmanuel Moseley to a season-ending ACL tear.

Instead, the 49ers are hoping veteran cornerback Jason Verrett, coming off his own ACL tear suffered in 2021, can shore up the gap and stay healthy.

NFL trade deadline: 49ers could have traded TE Ross Dwelley to Buccaneers

The Niners didn’t have to solely be in on acquiring players at the NFL trade deadline. As was the case with Wilson, they could have been equal part sellers, too, looking to move players who weren’t exactly key cogs on the depth chart.

That would include tight end Ross Dwelley, who used to be a quality No. 2 option to the All-Pro, George Kittle, except for the fact that Dwelley has now fallen drastically behind in the snap-count battle to fellow tight end Charlie Woerner over the last year-plus.

And with veteran tight end Tyler Kroft working his way into the mix after spending most of the first half of the year injured, Dwelley is a bit of an excess commodity himself.

As Bleacher Report pointed out just before the deadline, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in trouble at the position, particularly with Cameron Brate banged up and Cade Otten providing negligible impact, adding someone like Dwelley on the cheap would have been helpful.

The Bucs would get another offensive contributor, while San Francisco could recoup some draft capital in the wake of the McCaffrey deal.

NFL trade deadline: 49ers would have loved to pry EDGE Brian Burns away from Panthers

The 49ers managed to wrestle away the Panthers’ biggest high-profile player before the trade deadline, McCaffrey, but it sure would have been something if the Niners managed to somehow grab another of the same caliber.

Albeit on the other side of the ball.

As was the case with McCaffrey, the Rams were reportedly in on Panthers EDGE Brian Burns, willing to part ways with two first-round draft picks in order to get him, as first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer (h/t Pro Football Focus):

Two things. First, where does Los Angeles keep all these first-round picks it trades away constantly? Second, why didn’t Carolina take that deal? Burns is a great pass-rusher, but those two Round 1 selections could have been used as much-needed building blocks.

At any rate, the Niners wouldn’t have been able to afford that kind of deal without dipping into their 2024 stockpile of picks, and they already traded away two first-round selections to grab quarterback Trey Lance a little over a year ago.

But, wow, pairing Burns with Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa would have been something else, and it’s a dream scenario San Francisco would still love to think about.

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