NFL trade deadline: Position-by-position look at 49ers' plan of attack

NFL trade deadline: Position-by-position look at 49ers' plan of attack

The NFL trade deadline is set for Tuesday, Oct. 29. But some teams, such as the Los Angeles Rams, did not wait until the last minute. There were a flurry of trades Tuesday – a full two weeks before the deadline.

Meanwhile, the 49ers have not made a trade since a couple of deals on the third day of the NFL draft in late-April.

Still, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan are looking forward to adding multiple starting players to their lineup in the coming weeks.

No, the 49ers are not expecting to acquire a player or two from outside the organization at any cost. Instead, they expect to shore up some areas of their team with the return of key players from injuries.

The 49ers expect to fortify their lineup with the returns of offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and slot receiver Trent Taylor.

Lynch and Shanahan said the club is always looking to improve, but they always will weigh the short-term benefit and the long-term advantage of any trade.

Here's a position-by-position look at the 49ers’ prospects for making a trade

49ers' Mike McGlinchey hopes NFL players hold themselves accountable

49ers' Mike McGlinchey hopes NFL players hold themselves accountable

The 49ers are scheduled to open the 2020 NFL season on Sept. 13 against the Arizona Cardinals.

They will compete head-to-head against the teams on their 16-game regular-season schedule, but 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey also is mindful that all players – even those on different teams – are on the same side in trying to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Typically, almost anything goes in the midst of a pileup at the line of scrimmage, where the same defensive linemen and offensive linemen might be waging one-on-one battles in close quarters for more than 60 snaps a game.

This season, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more might be at stake on game days than just the outcome of a football game.

“You really hope guys are really pros about everything that’s going on this season because it’s not just your teammates and your teammates’ families,” McGlinchey said Monday in a video call with Bay Area reporters. “Once you start playing games, you’re affecting the entire league at that point.

“Hopefully, everybody can have the discipline and control and the accountability to one another that we can make this thing move as smoothly as possible, especially in the trenches when we are up close and personal.”

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The hopes of the NFL being able to carry out an entire season will be contingent on teams reducing the spread of the virus. Oakley has developed a clear plastic face shield designed to block the direct path of droplets while allowing for airflow and soundwaves for communication.

McGlinchey said he will try it out at some point in training camp once helmets are allowed during practices, but he will not switch to the new protective device if he believes it hinders his ability to breathe.

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

George Kittle's agent says 'minimal' progress in 49ers contract talks

George Kittle's agent says 'minimal' progress in 49ers contract talks

George Kittle is participating in training camp, but the elephant in the room doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

The 49ers tight end is entering the last year of his rookie contract, and thus is eligible to sign a massive contract extension. Jack Bechta, Kittle's agent, told NFL Media's Mike Silver on Sunday that the sides haven't made much headway.

"[Bechta] said progress has been minimal, and later reinforced that by texting me an inchworm emoji to underscore that fact," Silver recalled Monday on NFL Network. "It's not just money -- there is structure, and how much money a player like George Kittle could get upfront (and) how much would actually be guaranteed.

"And at the heart of all this has been somewhat of a philosophical divide between the 49ers, who say, 'Listen, we want to pay you more than any tight end ever because you're the greatest tight end,' and Kittle's camp which saying, 'Don't view me as a tight end. I was just voted the seventh-best player in football at any position.' "

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

Kittle arguably has been the best tight end in the NFL over the last two seasons, setting the position's single-season record for receiving yards (1,377) in 2018 and making the All-Pro First Team last season. No other 49ers tight end has ever had 1,000-plus receiving yards in a season, and Kittle has done it twice. The 26-year-old also is a key blocker in San Francisco's running game, which accrued more yards on the ground (2,305) last season than all but one other team.

He's incredibly valuable to the 49ers, and Kittle's banking on that value translating into a precedent-smashing contract that will pay him more like a wide receiver than a top tight tend. The 49ers, at least so far, don't seem willing to go there just yet.

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Can Kittle and the 49ers bridge the divide before the start of the season on Sept. 13? Silver said this is a "big week" for the negotiations because it's the last before Kittle "puts himself in a more perilous position, potentially, when real practices start."

If this week is going to mark any kind of progress, the inchworm is going to need to evolve rather quickly.