Dante Pettis hasn’t quite lived up to the billing after being a second-round pick by the 49ers in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Washington product had a decent rookie season, but fell out of the rotation early last season and ended up catching only 11 passes in 2019. He even was a healthy scratch in Super Bowl LIV.
ESPN’s Field Yates believes the 49ers could make a “win-win” trade by sending Pettis to the Houston Texans for fellow 2018 draft pick Keke Coutee.
Coutee is stuck behind a solid trio of wideouts in Houston, as Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb are atop the depth chart. He was drafted in the fourth round two years ago by the Texans, and has 50 catches for 541 yards over two seasons.
Pettis was a dominant returner in college, breaking the NCAA record for punts taken back for a touchdown with nine. He hasn’t had the same impact in the NFL, as he fumbled twice and averaged just three yards per punt return in his rookie season in San Francisco. Perhaps a change of scenery and a second chance in the return game could help Pettis earn some consistent playing time.
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For the 49ers, Coutee is closer to the mold of a slot wide receiver, a position the organization has filled by committee in recent years. Kendrick Bourne got the majority of snaps at the position in 2019, but Coutee’s speed could bring a newfound dimension to coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Plus, Deebo Samuel’s injury necessitates someone to step up if the second-year wideout doesn’t return for the start of the 2020 season.
It's likely Shanahan and general manager John Lynch want to give Pettis one more year to prove he was worthy of that second-round pick, but if he's buried on the depth chart again this season, the front office could look to move Pettis sometime before the trade deadline.
As Yates noted in the piece, the trade is very unlikely, especially since player-for-player trades aren’t common in the NFL.
But without much going on in the sports world due to the coronavirus pandemic, hypothetical trades are just about all we have.