NFL trade deadline: 49ers feel good about roster despite no more deals

NFL trade deadline: 49ers feel good about roster despite no more deals

The 49ers needed immediate help, so they did not wait until the trade deadline to make a deal to strengthen their roster at a position of need.

The 49ers focused on adding one of two wide receivers – either, they determined, would provide an upgrade over the players assembled on the team’s roster.

They ended up with veteran Emmanuel Sanders, who could end up being just a half-season rental. But the 49ers are in a position to win now. And Sanders gives them a better chance.

After all, Dante Pettis’ production in the passing game has come to a halt. Deebo Samuel has some flashes, but he is not a player at this point for whom defenses must account. Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne and Richie James are fine in spot duty.

The 49ers made one move seven days before the trade deadline, and it was designed to pay immediate dividends.

“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,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said at the time the deal was made.

“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.”

The 49ers received Sanders and a fifth-round pick from the Denver Broncos. They sent third- and fourth-round picks to Denver. The club hopes the two draft selections going to Denver will be late in those rounds. Currently, Denver is one of the worst teams in the league, so the fifth-round selection coming back to Santa Clara is likely to be early in that round.

Therefore, the 49ers might only lose 10 to 15 spots in the draft with the exchange of their fourth-rounder for Denver’s fifth. The third-round selection could be offset a year down the road with a compensatory pick if Sanders signs a nice contract with another team in the offseason and the 49ers have more free agency losses than gains.

Because the 49ers needed help now, they did not have any time to wait around for a player. That is why they focused on Sanders and Mohamed Sanu. Those players are healthy and had a knowledge of the system. Sanders played this season under Denver offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who served as the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach the previous two seasons. Sanu played in Shanahan’s system in 2015 and ’16 with the Atlanta Falcons.

The 49ers did not pursue Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green, who still has not played this season due to an ankle injury. The Bengals did not appear eager to trade Green. Also, the 49ers were not sure what kind of player they would be getting due to his injury situation.

The 49ers entered training camp feeling good about their wide receivers. But the club absorbed a couple of big hits when their best pass-catcher throughout the offseason and the first two weeks of camp, Trent Taylor, sustained a fractured foot. The 49ers hope he can be available later in the season.

Also, promising rookie Jalen Hurd has missed all but the first preseason game with a stress reaction in his back.

The 49ers now have reason to like their roster after adding a wide receiver. They could have tried to replenish their 2020 draft after trading their second-round pick for Dee Ford and the other selections for Sanders.

[RELATED: Cardinals coach Kingsbury impressed by 49ers' swagger on defense]

But they also did not want to give away anyone else on their 53-man roster without getting a decent price in return.

“The trade deadline is always here at this time,” Shanahan said on Tuesday. “There’s always a lot of talk. . . It’s hard to do things in the league without taking huge risks on it for not as much reward. That’s usually why there's a lot more talk than action.

“But I was very excited with what we got done last week. I would’ve been excited if we did anything today because if we did it would’ve been good for our team.”

How 49ers can add more picks in 2020 NFL Draft, according to Peter King

How 49ers can add more picks in 2020 NFL Draft, according to Peter King

The 49ers own the No. 31 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but after that, they are extremely shorthanded on selections this year. 

San Francisco has just one pick in the top 150. After the first round, the 49ers won't be on the clock again until the fifth round. They own two fifth-round picks, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. 

Between the second and fifth round, it's completely barren for general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. But NBC Sports' Peter King looked at how San Francisco could accrue more selections this April. 

Here's what King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column. 

To project the Niners’ path, I looked north for a clue. The arch-rival Seahawks, with ever-restless GM John Schneider, provided an excellent example in 2019 of how to turn one first-round pick into a bevy of picks, replenishing what would have been a thin crop.

The trades:

Seattle traded its first-round pick, 21st overall, to Green Bay for the 30th, 114th and 118th picks.
Seattle traded the 30th pick to the Giants for the 37th, 132nd and 142nd picks.
Seattle traded the 37th pick to Carolina for the 47th and 77th picks. At 47, Seattle picked S Marquise Blair.
Seattle traded the 77th and 118th picks to New England for the 64th pick. At 64, Seattle selected WR DK Metcalf.
Seattle traded the 114th pick to Minnesota for the 120th and 204th picks.
Seattle picked WR Gary Jennings Jr. at 120, S Ugo Amadi at 132, LB Ben Burr-Kiven at 142, and RB Travis Homer at 204.

So Seattle turned pick 21 into picks 47, 64, 120, 132, 142 and 204 ... two second-round picks, two fourth-round picks, one fifth-round pick and one sixth-round pick.

The 49ers lost their second-round pick when they acquired defensive end Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs last offseason. They then lost their third- and fourth-round picks when they acquired wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in a midseason trade with the Denver Broncos.

But they added a fifth-round pick in the Sanders trade and a seventh-round pick from the Detroit Lions in a 2018 trade where they shipped away linebacker Eli Harold.

[RELATED: 49ers in good shape at QB entering the 2020 offseason]

The 49ers don't have too many holes on their roster after losing to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, however, depth is always a must as they learned this season. With Jimmie Ward being an unrestricted free agent, the 49ers could target a safety early in the draft. They also likely will have their eyes on a loaded receiver class and depth on the interior offensive line. 

To add picks, though, they might have to take a lesson from their biggest rivals.

49ers roster analysis: Quarterbacks in good shape entering 2020 season

49ers roster analysis: Quarterbacks in good shape entering 2020 season

This is the first installment of a 10-part series that examines the 49ers’ roster coming out of the 2019 season, looks ahead to 2020, and outlines the offseason challenges facing general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan on a position-by-position basis.

Monday, a look at the 49ers’ quarterback position.

Under contract (signed through)

-Jimmy Garoppolo (2022)
-C.J. Beathard (2020)

Expiring contract

-Nick Mullens

As an exclusive-rights free agent, Mullens has no outside negotiating power. The 49ers retain his rights with a qualifying offer, but they could also look to sign him this offseason to a multi-year contract.

What needs to happen

The 49ers kept three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster last season because they believed the third quarterback held more value than a backup player at another position. That strategy did not cost the 49ers.

Despite keeping an extra quarterback, the 49ers were still able to bring back the top players they cut at the end of training camp when they needed them. Those players included running back Jeff Wilson, safety Marcell Harris, linebacker Elijah Lee and defensive lineman Damontre Moore.

This offseason, the 49ers will again be open-minded about the possibility of trading a quarterback. Beathard is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after this season, so it is unlikely the 49ers will be able to keep all three quarterbacks beyond this year.

The 49ers can also be expected to sign a fourth quarterback for the offseason program and training camp. They are likely to pick up an undrafted rookie who could have a shot at the practice squad if the 49ers deal away one of their QBs.


Garoppolo threw for the fourth-most yards in franchise history in 2019. He was particularly impressive over the final 10 games of the regular season, when he achieved passer ratings of 110-or-better seven times.

Garoppolo started 19 games, including the postseason. In the Super Bowl, he completed 18 of his first 21 pass attempts. But in the final 10 minutes, he went 2 of 10 for 24 yards with an interception and a sack. The 49ers let a 10-point fourth-quarter lead get away in a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. Afterward, Shanahan backed Garoppolo.

Garoppolo had never before started more than five games in a season before 2019. He should be even better in 2020 with a great knowledge of coach Kyle Shanahan’s system and the valuable experience he gained.

Overall, Garoppolo threw 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. A reasonable expectation is that he cuts his interception total in half for the 2020 season.

[RELATED: Juice sick of Jimmy G, Shanahan criticism after Super Bowl]

Mullens won the backup job last year over Beathard. Despite not attempting a pass, Mullens believes he made improvements behind the scenes that will be apparent the next time he gets a chance.

The 49ers should feel good about their quarterback situation entering the season, and there is no reason for the 49ers to make any significant move at this position.