Why 49ers won't repeat last year's trade-deadline strategy


The 49ers traded a pair of picks -- a 2020 third- and 2020 fourth-round selection -- to the Denver Broncos for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders ahead of the NFL trade deadline last year. If they get their way before the 2020 deadline on Nov. 3, don't expect a repeat from the 49ers.

Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters during his virtual press conference Monday that the front office, led by general manager John Lynch, is exploring trade possibilities, but the 49ers won't trade future draft capital to bring in players who can help this season.

"They're always having that dialogue to see where people are at, but action doesn't always happen," Shanahan said of the front office. "I know we're not in the mood to just giving up a bunch of our draft picks, either. We had to do that last year to make a number of key moves that I think helped us, but we don't want another draft to where we don't have too many picks."

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Ahead of the 2019 season, the 49ers also traded a 2020 second-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for edge rusher Dee Ford. Ford and Sanders played big roles for the 49ers last season, with the former recording 5.5 sacks and the latter caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns.

Neither has played much of a role with the 49ers in 2020, though. Ford played in Week 1 but continues to miss time with a back injury, while Sanders signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent. The 49ers gave up three picks for Ford and Sanders, leaving them with just four non-compensatory selections heading into this offseason.


Wheeling and dealing at the start of the offseason and during the draft ensured the 49ers picked five players in April, including first-rounders Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers also didn't select a single player in the second, third and fourth rounds of the draft, leaving their 2020 draft class thinner than most.

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Outside of the third-round pick they traded to the Washington Football Team to acquire left tackle Trent Williams, the 49ers still have their own non-compensatory selections in each of the other six rounds. Their injury-riddled start has driven home the importance of maintaining a stocked cupboard, and the 49ers will have an opportunity to do just that if they continue to hang on to all of their picks.

That's the plan, at least.