4 Broncos players 49ers should target at 2023 NFL trade deadline

Fire sales are fun. The Broncos may be having one, and the 49ers have already taken advantage once.
Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II
Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

If the Broncos wind up being wholesale sellers at the NFL trade deadline, the 49ers should shop for these key names.

Largely thanks to general manager John Lynch (and probably head coach Kyle Shanahan to a smaller extent), the San Francisco 49ers have a solid rapport with the Denver Broncos, one that has involved multiple trades in recent history since the Lynch and Shanahan duo took over the franchise in 2017.

Most recently, the Niners engineered a low-risk trade with Denver for edge Randy Gregory that essentially involved a swapping of sixth- and seventh-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, plus the Broncos absorbing the bulk of Gregory's 2023 salary.

With Denver off to an embarrassing 1-4 start, it makes pure sense why older veterans like Gregory are being moved. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, signs are pointing to the Broncos being sellers between now and the NFL trade deadline on Oct. 31.

San Francisco is projected to have 12 picks in next year's draft, including a Round 1 selection for the first time since 2021.

So, if the Broncos are moving players, Lynch and the 49ers should be calling up and asking about these four.

49ers should try plucking away one of these 4 Broncos at NFL trade deadline

The Niners don't have too many roster holes, so making trades just for the sake of doing so won't make sense unless there's a specific void that can be filled.

Denver, looking at what could be a multi-year rebuild, can be greedy with an asking price. But San Francisco can also be patient, too, given its relative lack of needs.

Cornerback Patrick Surtain II

This is a bit of a pipe dream, especially considering the Broncos would probably be better off retaining their top cornerback, Patrick Surtain II, who has two more full seasons on his rookie deal (including a fifth-year option).

Denver could command multiple first-round picks for a player of Surtain's ilk, which would be the smart move for a rebuild. Or, the Broncos could make him a centerpiece of the rebuild itself, too.

Either way, one of the few 49ers weaknesses is at cornerback where Charvarius Ward admirably occupies one spot, but the other boundary position is a bit lacking.

Surtain would make the Niners' defensive backfield truly elite and relatively cheap for the next couple of years.

Offensive tackle Garett Bolles

Yes, Garett Bolles is a left tackle, and San Francisco already has the best one in the NFL in the All-Pro, Trent Williams.

Bolles, however, recently lamented about the losing culture in Denver, and one might wonder if he'd be willing to shift to the right side of the offensive line if it meant playing for a true contender in the 49ers.

Currently, the Niners have gotten by with Colton McKivitz at right tackle, who ironically replaced now-Broncos right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

While there may be some headaches with a position switch, Bolles could entertain the notion of jumping to the other side while enjoying a massive dose of winning.

Tight end Adam Trautman

Adam Trautman certainly isn't a No. 1 tight end on an average team. But, as a solid pass-catching No. 2 option, he'd be worth a look.

The 2020 third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints who found his way to Denver last offseason via trade could be a tradable asset again, one on the cheap as he enters the final year of his four-year rookie contract.

San Francisco, which hasn't gotten much (again) at the position behind All-Pro George Kittle, could easily throw a sixth- or even a seventh-round pick to give Trautman a flier as Kittle's primary backup and insurance against injury.

Safety Justin Simmons

This one might hurt a bit, but it's also the definition of upgrading from good to better.

The 49ers already have a good-quality free safety in Tashaun Gipson, who's on the cheap and already has a long-term replacement in place with rookie Ji'Ayir Brown.

Yet Super Bowl-hopeful teams make Super Bowl-caliber moves at the deadline, and veteran safety Justin Simmons is one who'd be a difference maker on the back end of any defense, including that of the Niners.

The 29-year-old Simmons has been banged up a bit this season, yes, and he would cost a prorated amount of $14 million this year and $14.5 million next season, per Over the Cap. But the one-time Pro Bowler could, like Surtain, help make San Francisco's defensive backfield truly elite and deep.

Even if it would be expensive from the 49ers' vantage point, both in terms of draft capital and finances.

But that's what aggressive teams gunning for a Super Bowl should do.

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