SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers’ offensive coaching staff was busy Tuesday piecing together the team’s game plan to face the Carolina Panthers when coach Kyle Shanahan began applying the pressure to general manager John Lynch.
“We knew John was in discussions trying to get a receiver,” Shanahan said on 49ers Game Plan, which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area.
“I messed with John early in the morning on Tuesday, saying, ‘All the coaches are studying this game plan and assuming that we have him, so it’s going to mess everything up if it doesn’t work.’ We tried to put a little bit of pressure on him, so, fortunately, it came through.”
The 49ers acquired Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos this week to bring an immediate upgrade to a receiving corps that includes Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne and Richie James.
Lynch pursued trades for Mohamed Sanu of Atlanta and Sanders. Sanu might have been preferable because he is signed through the 2020 season. But Sanu went to the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick. The 49ers do not have a second-round pick in 2020.
The 49ers acquired Sanders and a fifth-round pick in exchange for third, and fourth-round selections in the 2020 draft. Sanders, 32, is expected to see significant playing time on Sunday when the 49ers (6-0) play host to the Carolina (4-2) at Levi’s Stadium.
Sanders is signed through the conclusion of the season, so it’s possible the 49ers acquired a half-season rental for a player who steps in immediately as the team’s best wide receiver. The 49ers were aggressive one week before the NFL trade deadline to add a veteran, short-term option at a position of need. That would appear to suggest the 49ers -- leaders in the NFC West by two games over Seattle -- are in win-now mode.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a signal that you’re all-in,” Shanahan said. “I like to say that we’re all in every year. But we know that there is life after this year, so you don’t want to jeopardize a ton of stuff, but yeah, you’re always giving up a little for the future when we give up a third-round pick like we did.
“To say we’re all-in -- I wouldn’t word it that way -- but when you’re 6-0, that’s a little different than where we’ve been a week before the trade deadline these last two years. When you do have a chance like we do with our record, if we felt we could add to our team and not truly jeopardize it (the future), that’s something we were looking to do.”
Sanders spent the offseason, training camp and the first seven weeks of the regular season in a similar offense under Denver coordinator Rich Scangarello, who served as 49ers quarterbacks coach the past two seasons. Shanahan said Sanders stepped in with an immediate understanding of the team’s formations and concepts.
“By the time the first walk-through was over on Wednesday, you could tell he understood the offense and we’d be able to move him around,” Shanahan said. “It’s been as good as it could be for the first week.”