49ers

How Emmanuel Sanders trade helps 49ers' badly battered receiving corps

How Emmanuel Sanders trade helps 49ers' badly battered receiving corps

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch long have maintained their belief in the 49ers' wide receivers, but that group's lack of production might have forced their hand.

Two days after 49ers receivers had four total catches during a 9-0 win at Washington and one day after Shanahan said "I do think the answers are here," the team went outside to acquire two-time Pro Bowl wideout Emmanuel Sanders in a trade with the Broncos.

Tight end George Kittle leads the 49ers in receptions (34) and receiving yards (376) through six games this season, and no other player has reached 200 receiving yards. Marquise Goodwin is the closest at 181, but now the 49ers will have Sanders, who has caught 30 of his 44 targets for 367 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Sanders had been vocal about that relative lack of production in Denver, as he has broken the 1,000-yard mark three times as a Bronco. The 49ers, meanwhile, would love to have that production.

Kittle likely will be the immediate beneficiary of Sanders' arrival, as opposing defenses will have to focus on another explosive target and might lighten pressure on the tight end. Sanders also should be an immediate weapon for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, having worked in Rich Scangarello's Broncos offense, which is very similar conceptually to Shanahan's 49ers scheme. Scangarello previously was the 49ers' quarterbacks coach.

The 49ers had hoped for more production from second-year pro Dante Pettis, who has struggled with a pectoral muscle injury since training camp and caught just nine of his 17 targets for 83 yards and one TD. The injury bug has further thinned the 49ers' receiving ranks, as Trent Taylor, who stood out in training camp, was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 20 after a setback with his foot, and third-round draft pick Jalen Hurd landed on the list on Oct. 3 with a back injury. Second-round pick Deebo Samuel missed Sunday's win with a groin injury.

[RELATED: Staley could return to 49ers practice this week]

Shanahan has stayed consistent with his praise of the receivers, but he also has said the team would watch for potential help. The trade for Sanders appears to be an attempt to do just that.

"We're always looking to improve, but I do like the guys we have here," the coach said Monday.

One day later, Lynch and the 49ers' braintrust made their move.

NFL offensive coach still not sold on 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo long term

NFL offensive coach still not sold on 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo long term

Jimmy Garoppolo balled out in the 49ers' thrilling 48-46 win over the Saints last Sunday.

For the third time this season, Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes in a game.

In guiding the 49ers to an NFC-best 11-2 record, Garoppolo has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 3,245 yards. He's thrown 25 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions this season.

While Garoppolo's not in the MVP conversation, he's putting up solid numbers as the 49ers continue to rack up wins. But there is one anonymous NFC offensive coach that still hasn't quite bought into Garoppolo.

"I don’t think he can do it consistently, but he did it today," the coach told The Athletic's Mike Sando after the 49ers beat the Saints. "[Drew] Brees moved down the field and scored. That is what you expect. I didn’t know that Garoppolo would be able to do it, but he did it."

Sando noted that in his annual Quarterback Tiers survey, the coach in question had Garoppolo on the second tier in 2017. Last season, after Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL in Week 3, the coach moved Garoppolo down to the third tier of NFL quarterbacks.

Whether or not Garoppolo is an elite quarterback is up for debate. NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms feels the 49ers quarterback is "really good," but doesn't consider him elite. But what is for certain is that Garoppolo is not a "third tier" quarterback. He doesn't have the gaudy numbers like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson or Lamar Jackson, but Garoppolo has a 19-4 career record as a starter in the NFL. That can't be ignored.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch vs. Falcons]

Garoppolo will have another chance to impress the offensive coach Sunday when the 49ers host the Falcons at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

NFL rumors: Terrell Suggs, waived by Cardinals, wants to rejoin Ravens

NFL rumors: Terrell Suggs, waived by Cardinals, wants to rejoin Ravens

When the Arizona Cardinals waived veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs on Friday, 49ers fans instantly wondered if the top team in the NFC would try to claim T-Sizzle.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco believes Suggs would be a fit for the 49ers due to injuries to Ronald Blair, Damontre Moore and Dee Ford.

But you can lower your expectations, 49ers fans.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday, citing league sources, that Suggs would "strongly consider not reporting if a team other than the Baltimore Ravens claims him."

Suggs spent the first 16 years of his NFL career in Baltimore, so it's understandable that the Ravens are the only team he wants to play for.

While it appears Suggs won't be donning a 49ers' uniform, it would still make sense for the 49ers to put in a waiver claim on the 37-year-old.

Why?

Assuming Suggs gets through the 30 teams ahead of the 49ers in the waiver order, the 49ers would be wise to try to block the linebacker from going to the Ravens.

After all, the 49ers and Ravens could meet up in Super Bowl LIV, and the last thing San Francisco wants to see is T-Sizzle coming after Jimmy Garoppolo.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch vs. Falcons]

And you never know. Maybe coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch can convince Suggs to play for the 49ers.

Suggs' fate will be decided Monday when teams can put in a waiver claim on him. No matter what happens, the 49ers absolutely should claim him.