49ers

Will 49ers trade Dante Pettis after picking Brandon Aiyuk in NFL draft?

Will 49ers trade Dante Pettis after picking Brandon Aiyuk in NFL draft?

The 49ers' phone lines were busy during the 2020 NFL Draft. Their Trent Williams trade took center stage, but general manager also traded receiver Marquise Goodwin to the Philadelphia Eagles and running back Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins. 

After moving two offensive players who were key contributors in recent seasons, another could be packing his bags this offseason. The 49ers added two more receivers in the draft -- Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings -- making the jam-packed with too many players compared to roster spots.

Aiyuk is guaranteed to make the roster, along with Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne and a healthy Jalen Hurd. The 49ers also still are high on slot receiver Trent Taylor, who missed all of last season to injury. Dante Pettis, Richie James and Travis Benjamin round out the group. 

Could one of those receivers be on the move? ESPN's Bill Barnwell names Pettis as the 49ers player most likely to be traded or cut in the coming months. The former second-round pick certainly would have the most trade value. 

The 49ers traded up in the 2018 draft to select Pettis at No. 44 overall. He finished his rookie campaign strong and totaled 467 receiving yards and five touchdowns while averaging 17.9 yards per catch. Pettis looked like a strong candidate to be the 49ers' top receiver going into last season. 

And then, he virtually disappeared in 2019. 

Pettis got off to a slow start in training camp last season and was continuously challenged by coach Kyle Shanahan. The man calling the shots quickly ran out of patience. Pettis played in 11 games last season and totaled only 11 receptions. 

There's no denying Pettis has the talent to succeed in Shanahan's system. That's what makes the coach so frustrated. Pettis should be one of Garoppolo's favorite targets, and even a game-changer at times. 

If Pettis puts it all together, he could have a huge bounce-back season. He also might bring a solid return in a trade if he's having a strong training camp and preseason. 

[RELATED: How 49ers' depth chart looks after NFL draft, free agency]

The 49ers lost their third-round pick next year in the Williams trade, and Pettis is the only one of the bunch on the bubble who could bring back a mid-round pick. In a scenario where the rest of the group is proving themselves and teams are willing to send San Francisco a solid draft pick for Pettis, Lynch should listen to the highest bidder. 

Don't toss Pettis to the side and give up on him quite yet, though. He has too much talent to do so. If the trade return is worth it, make a move. Just don't get desperate.

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Joe Staley shows off impressive weight loss since 49ers retirement

Joe Staley shows off impressive weight loss since 49ers retirement

Joe Staley's work ethic never was in question during his decade-plus career as the 49ers' starting left tackle, and it appears that determination has continued into retirement.

Staley told ESPN's Emily Caplan in early July that he already has lost 50 pounds since retiring from the NFL in April, and a picture shared on Twitter by Sports Illustrated's Grant Cohn definitely shows the former offensive lineman's body transformation.

[RELATED: 49ers' Bosa 'not going to blame ref' for Super Bowl no-call]

"As an offensive lineman, you're always known as this big, humongous, unathletic blob," Staley said to ESPN. "Offensive linemen get casted in a movie, and they're always 500 pounds. Then you get the opportunity to be healthy again, and all of the effort you used to put into football, you put into that. It gives you a focus once you retire. It's a little bit vain, but I'm starting to see abs that I've always wanted. And it's kind of exciting."

Offensive lineman often must eat an incredible amount of food to maintain the 300-pound frames typically seen across NFL rosters.

Staley seems to be enjoying his retirement.

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

49ers' Trent Williams expects Jerick McKinnon 'breakout' 2020 season

49ers' Trent Williams expects Jerick McKinnon 'breakout' 2020 season

Trent Willams has seen more of what Jerick McKinnon can do on the football field than just about anyone over the last two years.

And when the 49ers’ new left tackle was asked which teammate he was most eager to watch on the field, McKinnon was at the top of the list.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Jet,” Williams told the Bay Area media on a video call. “After two years, the way he’s looked in the offseason, I just can’t fathom him not being a breakout player.”

The 49ers were expecting so much from McKinnon after they signed him on the first day of free agency in 2018, coach Kyle Shanahan had planned to unveil an offense in the regular season that would focus heavily on the running back’s ability as a route-runner and pass-catcher.

But McKinnon sustained a torn ACL one week before the regular-season opener. When the graft from that surgery did not fill in properly, McKinnon lost a second consecutive season. McKinnon accepted a greatly reduced salary this year to remain with the 49ers.

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

Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowl player, saw plenty of McKinnon’s skills during the offseason as he, McKinnon and Deebo Samuel were among those who worked out with star running back Adrian Peterson.

Samuel described those training sessions as the “one of the hardest workouts I’ve been doing since I’ve been playing football.”

McKinnon has been cleared to take part in 49ers practices, which begin Aug. 15. The 49ers’ first padded practice is scheduled for Aug. 17.

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Thrived through the worst of it

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McKinnon figures to be a big part of the 49ers’ offense as a third-down back. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recently said he is looking forward to seeing McKinnon take what he’s showing in workouts onto the field during the regular season.

“Even just throwing routes on air this offseason, he runs them differently than most running backs and he has a feel that's like a receiver, but he feels space like a quarterback,” Garoppolo said. “It's very unique and I'm excited to get him back, man. It's been a while.”

[RELATEDBosa says benefits of healthy offseason will show on field]

Williams ticked off other areas of the 49ers that have him excited, too. He spoke about tight end George Kittle and every level of the defense, including the “freakish” defensive line.

“I just want to get this team to a game,” said Williams, whom the 49ers acquired in an April trade with Washington. “It feels like college again, when we had three of the top four picks in the draft. I haven’t had this feeling since then.”

In 2013, Williams was one of three Oklahoma players to be chosen in the top four of the NFL draft. He went No. 4 to Washington, following quarterback Sam Bradford (No. 1 to the St. Louis Rams) and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (No. 3 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).