NFL trade deadline primer: What 49ers can and will do


The 2021 NFL trade deadline is fast approaching, with teams having until Tuesday at 1 p.m. PT to make a move that will either help their playoff push or bring them assets for a rebuild.

Fresh off a 33-22 win over the Bears in Chicago, the 3-4 49ers are firmly in the NFC playoff picture but don't expect them to do much at the trade deadline one way or another.

The 49ers only have $3.8 million in available cap space, per OverTheCap, so it's highly unlikely they would be able to make a big trade to add a difference-maker unless the other team agreed to eat a sizable chunk of the player's salary, like the Denver Broncos did Monday in a deal that sent Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams.

So, could the 49ers, in theory, swing a deal for a guy like Xavien Howard? Sure. But the 49ers have to keep an eye on the future as they look to lock up Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel to long-term contracts. San Francisco also would like to try to replenish its draft capital after sending a 2022 and 2023 first-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in order to move up and draft Trey Lance.

Now, you might wonder, could the 49ers be sellers? Once again, anything is possible, but after Sunday's win over the Bears, it's highly unlikely the 49ers choose to blow up the roster after such an important win.


Had the 49ers lost to the Bears on Sunday, they could have looked to offload some salary in order to lessen the financial burden for the future.

Of course, trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could save the 49ers $25 million in cap space but that doesn't appear to be in the cards.

Arik Armstead won't be dealt and neither will Brandon Aiyuk. Could the 49ers trade a player like Zach Kerr for a late-round draft pick? It's possible, but that's likely to be the extent of their dealings.

While the 49ers don't have a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, they do have a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-round pick. They have a pick in every round of the 2023 NFL Draft except the first, which the Dolphins own.

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The NFL trade deadline isn't like the NBA or MLB deadline.

Yes, sometimes big names like Miller get moved, but oftentimes it passes without an earth-shattering move.

The 49ers could use an extra body in the secondary or a solid No. 3 receiver, but only if it comes at little cost. The win over the Bears stabilized a sinking ship, but the 49ers still have work to do to fulfill the lofty promise they entered the season with.

Expect John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to stand pat and see where the current roster can take them.

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