John Lynch says 49ers 'evenly' pursued Mohamed Sanu, Emmanuel Sanders trades

John Lynch says 49ers 'evenly' pursued Mohamed Sanu, Emmanuel Sanders trades

To hear 49ers general manager John Lynch tell it, their trade for a wide receiver was mostly out of their hands.

Lynch told KNBR's "Murph and Mac" on Friday that San Francisco simultaneously pursued Mohammed Sanu and Emmanuel Sanders, talking to the Atlanta Falcons about Sanu and the Denver Broncos about Sanders around the same time. When the New England Patriots traded for Sanu with a second-round pick that the 49ers did not have, the "decision was made for itself," according to Lynch. 

"I would say we had [Sanu and Sanders] very evenly ranked, and so much goes into who you're going to end up with," Lynch said Friday (H/T 49ers Webzone). "... "But it wasn't like we were bummed out because I think [49ers coach Kyle Shanahan] has spoken many times about what a fan of Emmanuel he's been. I've been the same way for a long time, and that was kind of unanimous throughout our building."

The 49ers traded 2020 third- and fourth-round picks to acquire Sanders, who could heavily feature in his team debut Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Levi's Stadium. Sanders tore his Achilles in December, but his game has not dropped off this season. In seven games with Denver, Sanders caught 30 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. The 32-year-old is averaging 12.2 yards per reception this season, the same as an injury-shortened 2018. 

In some ways, Lynch, Shanahan and the 49ers could've seen this coming. They got a firsthand look at Sanders' recovery in August when they practiced with the Broncos ahead of their Week 2 preseason game, 

"We had a chance to talk to him at those practices and talk about his recovery, and how well he felt," Lynch said. "He was kind of surprised himself. We just really feel it was an opportunity to improve our team and improve that position group. I think it will make everybody else at that position even better."

[RELATED: Pettis reportedly could be trade chip for 49ers before deadline]

Sanders hasn't had 1,000-yard season since 2016, but the 49ers haven't had a receiver with his pedigree in three seasons under Shanahan and Lynch.

The 49ers hope Sanders' experience can boost the rest of their offense, and they'll need him to contribute as their schedule gets much harder down the stretch. The same would've been true of Sanu, of course, but the choice wasn't necessarily San Francisco's to make. 

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

President Donald Trump reportedly told sports commissioners and top executives Saturday that he believes the NFL should start on time with fans returning to stadiums by August despite the coronavirus outbreak.

California Governor Gavin Newsom doesn't share the same thoughts.

The governor was asked about Trump's reported prediction and said he doesn't envision California having made enough progress against the virus for it to be business as usual for the NFL in California come fall.

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia where they opening up certain businesses and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise. It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.'"

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For Newsom, he is making sure to prioritize safety and caution above all else before letting sports return.

“Our decision on that basis here in the State of California will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our ability to meet this moment and bend the curve and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether that's appropriate. Right now I’m just focusing on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”

[RELATED: 49ers reportedly eye WR/CB at No. 13, plan to trade No. 31]

The truth of the matter is that no one knows how long this will last or when sports will be able to return to packed stadiums. The NFL is planning on starting the schedule on time with fans in the stadium, but that might not be the case in California. With many epidemiologists expecting the virus to surge again the fall, the fate of the NFL's season is very much up in the air.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, told Warriors star Steph Curry that sports can only safely return once the country as a whole has turned the corner from the outbreak and the medical system no longer is under strain.

As of Saturday, there were more than 270,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and NBC News reporting.

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

While the NFL offseason programs are postponed, many players are still working out to be ready for the time when the teams are able to get back to work in an organized setting.

In Miami, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Clelin Ferrell are working out with private defensive line coach Mark Hall.

Hall, who recently was a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, sent a video to NBC Sports Bay Area of the three players working out.

[RELATED49ers mailbag: Could Gore or Walker return in free agency?]

The 49ers recently traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and re-signed Armstead to a four-year, $84 million contract. Ferrell will enter his second season with the Las Vegas Raiders after being the club’s first-round selection at No. 4 overall in the 2019 draft.