By the time you read this article, the 49ers may have made a move at the 2023 NFL trade deadline. Or maybe they haven't.
A little over a year ago, the San Francisco 49ers pulled off the unfairest of unfair moves (at least according to the rest of the NFL) by grabbing All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers.
Just before the 2023 NFL trade deadline, the Niners' moves haven't been quite as blockbuster, and the only one of note is the acquisition of defensive end Randy Gregory from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a day-three draft-pick swap next year.
With the clock ticking on the countdown, general manager John Lynch and Co. are likely working the phones to see if another deal could get done.
Considering San Francisco has lost three games in a row and now stands at 5-3 after an undefeated start, perhaps some reinforcements and upgrades would be welcomed.
Niner Noise tracks the latest rumors and reports leading up to the trade deadline on Oct. 31.
Note: Refresh periodically for further news and updates.
How many draft picks do 49ers have to spend for a trade?
As Kyle Madson of Niners Wire broke down, the 49ers are expected to have 12 picks in next year's draft, including picks in every round. Five of the 12 are anticipated to be compensatory, but the Niners won't know officially until early spring of 2024.
That said, Lynch won't be facing a shortage of picks to make a deal happen.
How much cap space do 49ers have to absorb a traded contract?
According to Over the Cap, San Francisco has $39.89 million available in cap space, the most in the NFL right now and more than enough to absorb a prorated contract coming over via trade.
Lynch has said the 49ers plan on rolling that cap space over for next year. But, as is the case with draft picks, cap space shouldn't get in the way of anything but the most lucrative and expensive contracts out there.
ESPN first suggested 49ers wouldn't be done with just Randy Gregory at trade deadline
Not long after the Gregory trade was made official, ESPN's Dan Graziano reported that the Niners would continue exploring the trade market:
"Don't rule out the possibility of the 49ers, as tremendous as they already look, adding a player if they think it can make a difference. The Niners have the biggest of goals for this season, and they were aggressive last year when running back Christian McCaffrey became available."
Despite the talent at San Francisco's disposal, this report indicated the team wouldn't simply stand pat leading up to the deadline.
Other reports have since corroborated the activity.
49ers were in on 1, perhaps 2 trades as of Sunday, per report
Not long before the 49ers hosted (and lost to) the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, The Athletic's Tim Kawakami shared some "buzz" he heard about the Niners looking at the possibility of making one, perhaps two trades ahead of the deadline.
Deals going down were contingent upon wins and losses, likely from whether or not those teams would wind up being sellers or buyers at the deadline:
Kawakami didn't name the team(s) involved, and a number of previously "bad" teams ended up winning Week 8 matchups anyway.
That said, it's also possible those sellers are weighing their options and seeing what they can get in return right up until the final minute.
49ers keep getting linked to Bears CB Jaylon Johnson
It's not hard to find suggestions about San Francisco trading with the Chicago Bears for cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who would be an excellent upgrade to a secondary that's had some weaknesses over the last few weeks.
One such suggestion came from the San Francisco Chronicle's Mike Silver, who touted the idea in the wake of nickel cornerback Isaiah Oliver's struggles versus Cincy:
"If the 49ers can get a top-shelf cover corner like the Bears’ Jaylon Johnson, it would allow them to move Lenoir to the slot and upgrade the secondary. The current nickel corner, free-agent signee Isaiah Oliver, made some plays Sunday but also struggled from the jump, trailing badly on Burrow’s first-quarter touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd after dropping a potential interception earlier in the drive."
Johnson requested a trade, too.
Perhaps that'd be the home run deal that Lynch and Co. wind up snagging before the deadline.
49ers land Chase Young for a mid-round draft pick
If the secondary wasn't a concern already, the pass rush also needed help. Especially with the 49ers struggling to get help for All-Pro edge Nick Bosa.
The Washington Commanders, undergoing a bit of a fire sale, already moved edge Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears, and now Washington is trading fellow edge Chase Young to the Niners for a mid-round pick, according to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
Young, who attended Ohio State with Bosa, is a prolific pass-rusher but has dealt with plenty of injuries in recent years, which prompted the Commanders not to pick up his fifth-year option.
And to trade him, too, prior to the NFL trade deadline.
Speaking of that deadline, it hits on Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. ET.