49ers Mailbag: Does trade for Stefon Diggs or Emmanuel Sanders make sense?

49ers Mailbag: Does trade for Stefon Diggs or Emmanuel Sanders make sense?

It’s the second Sunday in a row without football for the 49ers. After experiencing an early bye, the club continues its preparations to face the Cleveland Browns on Monday night at Levi’s Stadium.

This edition of 49ers Mailbag is here to provide you with all the infotainment you need to get you through your day. Thanks to those who provided questions via Facebook. Let’s go . . . .

Q: Do you think we need to go after Diggs or Sanders? (William Winter)
A: Do the 49ers need Stefon Diggs or Emmanuel Sanders? The answer is no. Do the acquisitions of either of those players make sense for the organization at this stage? My answer is. . . no.

Diggs is unhappy and rolling up huge fines for his unexcused absences with the Minnesota Vikings. It would seemingly take a pretty good price to acquire him. Also, he is scheduled to earn $11.5 million to $12 million from 2020 to ’23. The 49ers are in good shape with the salary cap, but would taking on that contract decrease the chances of re-signing George Kittle or DeForest Buckner?

Sanders is signed only through the end of this season. The 49ers would have to sign him to a lucrative multi-year extension in order to make any kind of trade with the Denver Broncos for him. Otherwise, the 49ers would be giving up a draft pick for a half-year rental. That makes no sense, either.

The 49ers already have Kittle, along with Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Richie James and Kendrick Bourne. Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd figure into the team’s future. I do not envision the 49ers weakening future drafts and their salary cap to add a veteran wide receiver.

Q: Are they looking for any trades at all? (Chris Lynn Overstreet)
A: The 49ers have been very consistent with their thinking. They are open to making a trade, according to coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, if it the deal helps the team in the short term and long term. In other words, if the cost prevents the team from continuing to add potentially impactful, cost-effective, players through the draft, that is a major consideration.

Q: Who do you think will be the inactives for the game? Do you think Jeff Wilson, Jordan Matthews and Dontae Johnson will be active? (Fred Reimers)
A: If Tevin Coleman is active (and I think he will be), then Jeff Wilson is not likely to be active. Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert clearly are ahead of Wilson, and Coleman was the team’s starting running back for Week 1 in Tampa Bay.

The 49ers added Matthews this week when Jalen Hurd went to IR. But Hurd was not active for either of the first three games, so Matthews would not be taking his spot in the active 46. The 49ers determined Kendrick Bourne was better than Matthews at the final cuts, so I don’t see that changing. I don’t envision Matthews being active, especially because he offers nothing on special teams. At this point, he’s an insurance policy.

Johnson, however, does serve an immediate purpose for the 49ers. The 49ers are down two cornerbacks from their Week 3 game against Pittsburgh. Ahkello Witherspoon is out a month or more with a foot sprain. Jason Verrett is on IR with a knee issue. Johnson will be in reserve on Monday night behind starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Emmanuel Moseley.

My guess for the seven inactive players: Wilson, Matthews, Witherspoon, quarterback C.J. Beathard, tackles Joe Staley and Sam Young, and defensive lineman Jullian Taylor.

Q: What is the one position battle that the Niners must win to better their chances of beating the Browns? (Christopher Mulligan)
A: This goes for both sides of the ball . . . first downs. Yes, that is a bit of an unconventional answer, but it’s going to be huge.

Cleveland's defensive ends Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon are outstanding pass-rushers. But they are known to take some plays off on those early run downs. If the 49ers are able to pound the ball at them, get them moving and force them to expend some energy in the run game, it will make Jimmy Garoppolo’s play-action passes even more effective.

Likewise, the 49ers have to focus on containing Browns running back Nick Chubb. If they can force the Browns into third-and-long situations, that will enable the team’s pass rush to get after Baker Mayfield and make him uncomfortable.

Q: It looks like Dee Ford’s knee is going to have him on the injury report all season. Should we just expect him to be questionable all season but expect him to play? (Engelbert Salguero)
A: Yes, I believe that is how it will work out this season, too. I do not envision Ford practicing on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the season. Then, as long as his knee/quad condition does not worsen, he should be able to get out there and be relatively fresh for games.

Q: Now that Nick Bosa is out of the injury list are we going to see more snaps from him? How is Dee Ford looking? (Misael Guzman)
A: The roles of Bosa and Ford are flipped from Week 1. Now, Bosa is the every-down defensive end, and Ford is the pass-rush specialist. Actually, this probably gives the 49ers a better all-around defense. Bosa is very good at setting the edge in the run game. He is healthy now after the bye week, and could begin his push for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year on Monday night.

[RELATED: Why 49ers' Nick Bosa, Dee Ford are not overlooking Browns' leaky O-line]

Q: With the experience Jimmie Ward has playing nearly every position in the secondary, why isn't he getting the start over Emmanuel Moseley? (Faisal Refai)
A: Ward has been working at free safety for the entire offseason – at least while he was able to get out on the field. Moseley has been very impressive, so this is as much a reflection on how he has performed since signing with the club as an undrafted rookie in 2018.

If Moseley really struggles, perhaps, the 49ers could re-evaluate that decision, but the club believes Ward is more valuate at this point as “the eraser” in the 49ers’ defensive backfield at free safety.

Q: With Moseley expected to go up against Beckham, do you expect the 49ers to permanently have a safety provide help over the top? (Jeremy Wohlfart)
A: The 49ers do not want to become too predictable. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has more tools this season to give the opposition unexpected looks. One example of that is that Pittsburgh was clearly expecting the 49ers to play a lot of three-deep zone. But with Mason Rudolph making his first NFL start, the 49ers sprung more two-deep than they ordinarily play.

The 49ers will want to keep Mayfield guessing, for sure, but it’s safe to say that Moseley will be provided a large share of help from their deep safety.

Q: Who are the two candidates most likely to make it back this year from the IR? (Greg Threlkeld)
A: Wide receiver Trent Taylor is the most-likely 49ers player to return off injured reserve. The other candidates, as of now, are Kentavius Street, Jalen Hurd and Jason Verrett. The 49ers do not need to make that decision until they actually make that decision. There’s also the possibility another player could go on IR in the next week or two, and the 49ers would have that player in their back pocket, as well.

Street, Hurd and Verrett are nowhere close to playing in a game. It depends on their rehabs and if they are able to make it through without any setbacks. The 49ers’ decision will also be based on which player provides the most help. So the injury situations at defensive line, wide receiver and cornerback would also likely factor into the decision.

In other words, beyond Taylor, I do not know. My guess is that each of those other three players will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Q: What are the chances that Roger Craig is included in the 2020 Hall of Fame 100-year inductees? What can the fans do to help his cause? (Darren Riley)
A: As much as it pains me to write this, I think he faces an extreme uphill climb to be included in next year’s class as one of the 10 senior candidates. The reason is because Craig just entered the senior pool a couple of years ago. It is my understanding that the senior candidates will be comprised primarily of individuals who are deemed to have “fallen through the cracks.”

The NFL began in 1920. The first Pro Football Hall of Fame class was elected in 1963. That first HOF class consisted of just 11 players. So through the first 40 years of professional football, only 11 players were inducted. The Hall of Fame opened with a built-in backlog of players waiting for enshrinement. Instead of eventually catching up – which, of course, was impossible – many worthy players from the early pool of candidates were simply forgotten.

My belief is that the bulk of the seniors selected for enshrinement next year will be from the first 60 years of professional football and not from the past 40 years.

I’m not sure fans can do much to help his cause because the blue-ribbon committee will decide the fates of the senior candidates. If you wish to craft a convincing letter to the members of the committee, you may do so. Click the link to see the members of the committee entrusted with determining who will get honored.

Ex-49er sees Jamal Adams as next Richard Sherman-type face of NFL

Ex-49er sees Jamal Adams as next Richard Sherman-type face of NFL

During his time in Seattle, Richard Sherman was very visible.

Sherman might have been the villain, but he was the face of a perennial Super Bowl contender. He was the leader of the Legion of Boom.

It's hard for a defensive player to earn the distinction of face of the team or face of the NFL. That honor is usually reserved for quarterbacks.

But is there a young defensive player currently in the NFL that could develop into the face of the NFL? Yes, according to former 49ers practice squad player and current Houston Texans defensive back Michael Thomas.

And that player just happens to be New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, who the 49ers have their eyes on.

"I think I want to see defensive players have the same marketability and opportunities as the “faces of the league” as offensive players," Thomas wrote as the guest writer for NBC Sports' Peter King's "Football Morning in America" column. "Richard Sherman is probably the closest thing we have. He built that larger-than-life persona at the height of the Legion of Boom in Seattle and that’s the sort of thing we need. The bigger a player like Richard Sherman is, the better it will be for the next generation of defensive superstars, like a Jamal Adams, so that they can continue to grow their marketability and raise their platform."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Adams is unhappy with his current contract situation in New York, and has requested a trade. The Jets still have two years of team control over Adams, so they aren't exactly inclined to trade the All-Pro.

The big difference between Sherman and Adams is that the current 49ers cornerback has a very outgoing personality. For someone who plays in The Big Apple, Adams' persona isn't exactly well known. Can he be the face of the NFL? Yes, he wants the big contract that comes with being an elite player, but does he want that title of "Face of the NFL?"

"Obviously that persona has to come with performing on the field, and that’s why I think Jamal Adams is probably the next big thing who could fill that outsized role after Richard Sherman," Thomas wrote. "His productivity on the field is there. I don’t know what exactly the hype looks like – maybe it’s commercials, like Troy Polamalu with the hair, or maybe it’s getting to the point where, like Sherm, he’s big enough to make it on the cover of Madden. Whatever it is, I just want that for our defensive players, that shine, visibility and compensation, even if it means leaning in to that role as a villain."

[RELATED: Deebo wants Adams on 49ers]

The good news for Adams is that he's still just 24 years old and is entering his fourth NFL season. He still has time to build his public persona and grow into a potential "Face of the NFL."

And if the 49ers can figure out how to fit Adams' salary onto their roster, he can do it while playing with Sherman.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Watch Joe Montana 49ers highlights from dominant 1989 NFL playoffs

Watch Joe Montana 49ers highlights from dominant 1989 NFL playoffs

Joe Montana displayed pinpoint accuracy in the 1989 NFL season, completing 70.2 percent of his passes, and he only was intercepted eight times. In the playoffs, though, the MVP was downright unstoppable. 

Over 83 pass attempts, Montana didn't throw a single interception in three playoffs games. He completed an absurd 78.3 percent of his passes, and had 800 passing yards with 11 touchdowns. Let's take a walk down memory lane, and watch all of Montana's TDs from that dominant three-game run. 

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

That's one minute of purely dominant football. The 49ers outscored their opponents by 100 points, 126-26, in just three games. They averaged over 33 points per game while only allowing under nine. 

Montana obviously was the captain that steered this scoring onslaught. He averaged 267 passing yards per game and nearly four touchdowns. In the 49ers' 55-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, Montana completed 22 of his 29 pass attempts for 297 yards and five touchdowns. 

[RELATED: This stat shows how 49ers' Aiyuk can be reliable receiver]

Oh, and Jerry Rice helped a bit as Montana's No. 1 receiver. All he did was finish with seven receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns. 

When the bright lights came on, Montana was at his best. He went a perfect 4-0 in the Super Bowl, and his run in the 1989 playoffs was nothing short of perfect football.