Mohamed Sanu

NFL trade deadline: Assessing 49ers' options to acquire wide receiver

NFL trade deadline: Assessing 49ers' options to acquire wide receiver

A veteran wide receiver who has a history with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is moving to one of the NFL’s two unbeaten teams.

The New England Patriots on Tuesday acquired wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round draft pick.

Sanu, 30, is in his eighth NFL season. He has 33 receptions for 313 yards in seven games this season. His best year came last season when he caught 66 passes for 838 yards and four touchdowns with the Falcons.

With a week before the NFL’s trade deadline, Sanu was one among a handful or more wide receivers around the league that is available in a deal. Sanu is signed through next season.

Some of the other options, as talked about on The 49ers Insider Podcast, have contracts that expire at the end of this season -- so the 49ers would be getting only a half-year rental.

The 49ers do not have a second-round pick in next year’s draft. The club would not be expected to pay a big price for such players as Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders or Cincinnati’s A.J. Green because both are scheduled to be free agents at the end of the season.

Sanders, 32, has 30 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns in Rich Scangarello’s offense. Scangarello served as quarterbacks coach on Shanahan’s staff with the 49ers the past two seasons.

Green, 31, is an immensely talented player who has not suited up for a game this season due to an ankle injury. It’s not known when he will be available to play this season. He has six 1,000 yard seasons in his career.

[RELATED: Why Shanahan believes 49ers' answers at WR are on team]

Other receivers who could be available are Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, Keenan Allen of the Chargers, Chicago’s Taylor Gabriel and Miami’s DeVante Parker.

Diggs probably is the least-likely to change teams after signing a five-year, $72 million extension last year. In the past two weeks, he has 309 yards receiving a three touchdowns, and the 5-2 Vikings are in the thick of the NFC playoff picture.

Patriots acquire 49ers receiver trade target Mohamed Sanu from Falcons

Patriots acquire 49ers receiver trade target Mohamed Sanu from Falcons

So much for reuniting Mohamed Sanu with Kyle Shanahan in Santa Clara. 

The 49ers are down a possible wide receiver trade target as the Falcons reportedly sent Sanu to the Patriots Tuesday morning for a second-round draft pick. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport was first to report the news. 

Sanu made plenty of sense as a player the 49ers should try to acquire before the Oct. 29 NFL trade deadline. He played under Shanahan for two years in Atlanta when the 49ers head coach was the Falcons' offensive coordinator, and averaged nearly 700 yards receiving. The 30-year-old slot receiver would have become an instant favorite for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as an imposing 6-foot-2, 215-pound slot receiver. 

Instead, Sanu will be catching passes from Tom Brady in New England, and the two seem quite happy about the news. 

If the 49ers do indeed wish to add a receiver before the trade deadline, they have to turn their attention to different options now. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora linked San Francisco to players such as DeVante Parker, Taylor Gabriel, A.J. Green and Emmanuel Sanders -- as well as Sanu -- on Sunday in a report that the 49ers are "highly motivated" to add a wide receiver. 

While it makes plenty of sense for the undefeated 49ers to add a receiver to the mix, Shanahan made it clear Monday that he trusts his in-house options

“The guys we have I still think can continue to get better. We’re still holding out hopes, too, for Jalen and Trent Taylor that they can heal up and hopefully return later this year," Shanahan said. “We’re always looking to improve, but I do like the guys we have here.”

[RELATED: Ranking five wide receivers 49ers could acquire]

One name is off the board, with plenty of options left. In the case the 49ers stand pat, Shanahan has instilled confidence into this group.

Remember, winning cures all. 

NFL rumors: 49ers motivated to trade for wide receiver before deadline

NFL rumors: 49ers motivated to trade for wide receiver before deadline

The 49ers have gotten off to a perfect 5-0 start, but they know they have work to do, both on the field and with the roster.

As the Oct. 29 NFL trade deadline approaches, San Francisco reportedly has identified wide receiver as an area of need and aggressively is pursuing multiple options, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Sunday, citing league sources. 

The 49ers' undefeated start, which has come with impressive wins over the Browns and Rams, has been put together on the back of a vaunted defensive line and an efficient run game. But quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers' passing game will be key to a deep playoff run for the red and gold.

While tight end George Kittle still is one of the most dangerous receiving weapons in the NFL, the 49ers lack the top-end talent on the outside to take the defense's attention off Kittle. Third-round draft pick Jalen Hurd hasn't played all season because of a back injury, and second-round choice Deebo Samuel has been serviceable but will miss the Week 7 game against Washington with a groin injury.

With Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne serving as Garoppolo's top three receivers at the moment, the 49ers apparently feel the need to make a move for a big-time pass catcher. 

La Canfora reported that the 49ers are among a number of teams interested in Bengals star A.J. Green, although it's unclear if Cincinnati is interested in trading the oft-injured star. Emmanuel Sanders also is drawing interest, per La Canfora, but the 2-5 Broncos don't see themselves as out of the AFC West race at this point.

Shanahan and the 49ers could turn their eye toward Atlanta and a big receiver for the Falcons. Mohamed Sanu played under Shanahan when he was the Falcons' offensive coordinator, and league sources told La Canfora that a reunion in San Francisco is possible.

Other potential trade options for the 49ers include the Bears' Taylor Gabriel and the Dolphins' DeVante Parker, per La Canfora.

[RELATED: 49ers mailbag: How homegrown loyalty meshes with trade market?]

For now, the 49ers can get by with a dominant pass rush and stellar run game. But in order to make a run at their sixth Lombardi Trophy, the 49ers will need to get Garoppolo a weapon on the outside to help take the pressure off Kittle in the passing game.

General manager John Lynch has work to do, but if he lands a big-time receiver, the 49ers likely will become the NFC favorites.