49ers

Why Stefon Diggs trade wouldn't make sense for 49ers despite need

49ers

In 2018, Stefon Diggs signed a five-year, $72 million contract extension to stay with the Minnesota Vikings. A year later, Diggs appears to want out of the Twin Cities.

Rumors have swirled all week about Diggs wanting the Vikings to trade him, as he appears to have become a luxury Minnesota no longer can afford and no longer uses. The electric wide receiver missed practice Wednesday for non-injury-related reasons, but he returned Thursday and didn't exactly squash the whispers that he wants to don new colors.

Diggs noted he hasn't asked for a trade, but is not happy in the current offense.

A season ago, under the coordination of John DeFilippo, Minnesota utilized a pass-happy offense and Diggs thrived in that aerial attack. The Vikings have since canned DeFilippo and gone to a run-heavy attack, which has left Diggs and fellow star receiver Adam Thielen appearing frustrated about their roles in the offense. Through four weeks last season, the Vikings had dropped back to throw the ball 211 times, the most in the NFL. But this season, the Vikes only have thrown the ball 111 times, which ranks 30th out of 32 teams.

 

While the Vikings reportedly do not plan on trading Diggs, if the 25-year-old receiver is made available, there will be a number of teams hoping to swoop in and add him to their offensive attack.

Should the 49ers be one?

In a vacuum, the 49ers are in need of a No. 1 receiver who can stretch the field vertically and give quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo another go-to target outside of all-everything tight end George Kittle. San Francisco has roared out to a 3-0 start behind a tough defense and a relatively weak schedule. The 49ers will head into Week 5 in first place in the NFC West and their success even has some people and analytics programs thinking the Red and Gold could be heading to Miami in February, and not just for the J-Lo/Shakira concert. 

But if the 49ers really have dreams of playing deep into January, that receiving corps does have to improve. Rookie Deebo Samuel has shown flashes, but Dante Pettis (five receptions), Kendrick Bourne (three receptions) and Marquise Goodwin (six receptions) all are ancillary pieces at best.

Obtaining Diggs, who has notched at least 95 catches and 849 yards in each of the past three seasons, would give San Francisco a bonafide outside threat needed to test the best defenses in the NFL.

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Now back in the real world, a trade for Diggs is highly unlikely from the 49ers' perspective. 

After signing that massive extension last year, Diggs is slated to earn an average annual salary of $14.4 million. The 49ers currently have $20.2 million in cap space available, via Spotrac, but that's a number John Lynch would like to keep open knowing he will have to work out extensions for Kittle, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead soon, none of which will come cheap.

Yes, seeing Diggs catch passes from Jimmy G would be thrilling and take the 49ers from an unknown to a legit contender, but the 49ers aren't going to acquire a big-money star at the expense of keeping their current studs in the Bay for a long time.

Nor should they.