Should depleted 49ers trade for Colts running back Mack?

Marlon Mack

Seven different 49ers carried the ball Sunday in San Francisco's 30-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Only one -- Trey Sermon -- is listed as a running back. 

Kyle Shanahan lined up as a fullback, receiver and tight end in the backfield as the 49ers' roster has been depleted by injuries to their running backs. Raheem Mostert is out for the season, JaMycal Hasty is on injured reserve with an ankle injury and Elijah Mitchell was inactive for Sunday with a shoulder injury. 

Kerryon Johnson was activated ahead of the 49ers' loss but already has been placed back on the practice squad after not seeing the field at all Sunday. So, what should the 49ers do next about their running backs room? 

A solution could be available. 

NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, citing sources, that running back Marlon Mack and the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to seek a trade partner.

Could the 49ers make a call to the Colts? San Francisco finished with just 67 rushing yards on 21 attempts in Sunday's loss, which is good for 3.2 yards per carry. Sermon led the way with 31 yards on 10 carries, and he scored his first TD in the pros. 

Through the first three weeks of the season, the 49ers rank 16th in the NFL with 105 rushing yards per game. The 49ers are 25th in yards per carry at just 3.6 but are tied for second in football with five rushing touchdowns. 


Mack, 25, only has played in one game this season. He has received five carries and rushed for 16 yards. This is coming after missing all of last season after tearing his Achilles in the Colts' season-opener. But in 2019, Mack rushed for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns over 14 games, while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Over the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Mack rushed for 1,999 yards, averaged 4.5 yards per carry and scored 17 touchdowns on the ground in 26 games (22 starts).

The 49ers have taken a long look at a handful of running backs. As they rely on rookies, veterans like Johnson have signed with San Francisco or at least entered the building in Santa Clara. It's hard to deny Mack would help this group. We've seen Shanahan work wonders with worse backs than Mack before. 

At the same time, Mitchell could soon be part of this group again and Jeff Wilson Jr., who this coaching staff is high on, should return midway through the season from his knee injury. There also could be bigger areas of need for the 49ers. Cornerback remains a question mark, especially after Josh Norman sustained a lung contusion against the Packers and had to be sent to the hospital. 

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Every player has his price. If the 49ers believe Mack is well worth the Colts' asking price, they'll give Shanahan another weapon. But Shanahan has shown before that he can adapt and is one of the most innovative running coaches in the NFL. 

The 49ers would be wise to check in with the Colts, it would be wrong not to, but with every intention of keeping their more valuable draft picks for a possible bigger move at a later time.

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