New York Giants

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

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AP

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

NFL draft season prompts plenty of outlandish trade scenarios to fill airtime and word counts, many of which never come to fruition.

Dallas Morning News reporter Joseph Hoyt dug up one such scenario Thursday, and it's a (hypothetical) trade the 49ers are (hypothetically) glad they didn't (hypothetically) make.

The 49ers would've had to pay a pretty penny for then-New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the proposal put forth in a "Good Morning Football" segment nearly two years ago. Beckham was months away from signing a contract extension, so San Francisco would've traded a lot of draft capital for a star entering the final year of his contract. The picks the 49ers made in those slots formed the backbone of the 2019 NFC Champions.

Beckham's arrival would've changed things, though. The 49ers would've entered the season with arguably the best receiver in football as well as George Kittle, who'd emerge as arguably the best tight end. Kittle might not have set an NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end playing alongside Beckham, but he surely would've benefitted from the extra attention opposing defenses paid the receiver rather than him.

Do they still go 4-12 that year? The 49ers were 3-5 in games decided by six points or fewer in 2018, and Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL) missed all but one of those games. Beckham crossed the 1,000-yard threshold in just 12 games catching passes from Eli Manning in 2018, so it's -- at the very least -- conceivable he could've moved the needle in at least one of the 49ers' close losses.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should trade down from both first-round picks]

The 49ers would've picked no higher than No. 4 overall with a 5-11 record in 2018, and any additional wins would've dropped them further down the draft order. Acquiring Beckham under the parameters "Good Morning Football" put forth likely would've prevented the Niners from selecting all of Mike McGlinchey, Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel, but not all three of them would necessarily be Giants, either.

San Francisco would've been a better team in 2018, thus pushing the 49ers out of the slots they used to draft Bosa and Samuel. That's a different opportunity cost to consider than trading all of those players straight-up for one of the game's best receivers, but it's one the 49ers probably are glad they didn't have to pay.

Why Richard Sherman believes Eli Manning is no-doubt Hall of Famer

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USATSI

Why Richard Sherman believes Eli Manning is no-doubt Hall of Famer

MIAMI, Fla. -- Last Friday, Eli Manning officially retired from the NFL after a 16-year career with the New York Giants. 

Manning has been a lightning rod for debate for most of his career. The quarterback came into the league by declaring he wouldn't play for the San Diego Chargers if they drafted him No. 1 overall. He went on to win two Super Bowl titles, beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots both times. He had a number of unspectacular years, some due to the lack of talent surrounding him and others due to his penchant for turning the ball over. 

The younger brother of Peyton, Eli finished his career at an even 117-117. Once news of his retirement broke, the debate about whether or not Eli Manning will find himself enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day immediately took off. 

To the detractors, his years of mediocre play and the fact that he never was one of the elite quarterbacks in the game means he should have to sit outside and Canton and wonder about what life is like in the immortal hall. 

But to others, Richard Sherman included, Eli Manning belongs in the Hall. 

"I do think Eli is a Hall of Famer," Sherman said Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night as the 49ers prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. "I think people underestimate what it means to run through the Super Bowl as an away team. There's a reason so few low seeds have ever won a Super Bowl. And I would say his two teams he's done it with are probably 30 to 40 percent of the low seeds that have won Super Bowls. And for that alone he deserves."

"And he's played at a high level," Sherman continued. "The teams haven't always been great, he hasn't always been surrounded by talent and when he has he's played pretty well. But to run through the playoffs and beat some of the teams he beat, and then to beat the greatest quarterback of all-time twice, and two of the best teams of all-time. He beat an undefeated team who had Randy Moss on it who had just come off a record-breaking season. 

"Like, who does that? How do you do that? And so for those reasons, I believe he's a Hall of Famer. Those are Hall of Fame things. You can't not put that guy in the Hall of Fame."

Per usual, Sherman hit the nail on the head.

In the seeding era, seven teams have won the Super Bowl that were seeded fourth or lower. Manning's Giants were two of them. 

He didn't have the raw numbers of Dan Marino or the everlasting greatness of the man he beat twice on the biggest stage, Tom Brady. But Eli Manning was one of the best clutch playoff performers in recent NFL history. 

During the run to his first Super Bowl title in the 2007 playoffs, Manning knocked off Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round before beating Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in a frigid NFC Championship Game. 

Then, in the 2011 playoffs, he beat Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in the wild-card round before again knocking off Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Field and then beating the 49ers in the NFC title game at Candlestick Park. 

Both times, Brady and the Patriots were waiting for him. Both times, Manning snatched the Lombardi Trophy away from Bill Belichick and the NFL's evil empire. 

[RELATED: Chiefs' Clark eyes 'holding trophy;' not Kittle matchup]

Manning's escape act and subsequent prayer to David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII was a "where were you" moment in sports history. His throw to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI was one of best throws in Super Bowl history (no, that isn't hyperbole).

Eli Manning's Hall of Fame case was made long ago. All that's left, is to make the bust. 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.

How Nick Bosa deterred 49ers' potential trade for Odell Beckham Jr.

How Nick Bosa deterred 49ers' potential trade for Odell Beckham Jr.

Every time there are reports of a disgruntled wide receiver or a big-name wideout on the trade block, the 49ers are widely mentioned as a possible destination.

Rarely, it seems, is there any truth to the speculation.

The 49ers had zero interest in Antonio Brown at the outset of the offseason, for reasons that became obvious to the rest of the world months later. The 49ers crossed him off their list due to concerns about his reliability, character and how he would fit into what the organization was trying to build.

That was certainly not the case with Odell Beckham. The 49ers had genuine interest in working out a deal with the New York Giants for Beckham at the beginning of the new league year.

How close did it get?

“Not close enough,” 49ers CEO Jed York answered two weeks after the trade that sent Beckham to the Cleveland Browns.

There was some degree of irritation within San Francisco's organization when the Giants made the deal with the Browns in March without giving the 49ers an opportunity to increase their initial offer.

The 49ers were not willing to part ways with DeForest Buckner, NBC Sports' Peter King reported. San Francisco balked at that proposal. Then, the Giants apparently wanted two first-round draft picks, including the 49ers’ No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Again, the 49ers said no.

The Browns acquired Beckham when they sent safety Jabrill Peppers, the No. 17 overall pick and a third-round pick (No. 95 overall) to the Giants. (The Giants considered Peppers a player of first-round value.) All indications are the 49ers were prepared to get creative to increase the value of the compensation they would send to New York. They never got that chance.

The 49ers will face Beckham on Monday when the clubs meet at Levi’s Stadium. Shanahan’s admiration of Beckham’s skills and style remains obvious.

“Odell’s a freak in the way he can move and his hands and people do not get how tough and good of a football player Odell is, also,” Shanahan said this week. “He’s physical and competes his tail off in the run game and the pass game.”

In four games with Baker Mayfield as his quarterback, Beckham leads the Browns with 21 receptions for 308 yards and one touchdown.

The 49ers' receiving corps consists of rookie Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Richie James and Kendrick Bourne. San Francisco also added Jordan Matthews to its 53-man roster this week. Trent Taylor and rookie Jalen Hurd, a third-round draft pick, are stashed on injured reserve.

The trade that sent Beckham to the Browns -- not the 49ers -- has shaped the rosters of both teams.

If the 49ers had parted ways with the No. 2 overall pick for Beckham, defensive end Nick Bosa would likely be on the New York Giants. And the 49ers’ might not have taken Samuel with their second-round draft pick.

[RELATED: 49ers mailbag: Does Diggs or Sanders trade make sense?]

The 49ers would have still had an urgent need at edge rusher -- even after adding Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round draft pick in 2020.

The 49ers could have focused on adding a pass rusher with their second-round pick. After the first round, the next pass rusher to be chosen was Zach Allen of Boston College, whom the Arizona Cardinals selected at No. 65 overall. Allen did not make much of an impact in the first four games of the season, and he sat out Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.

Lynch, speaking after the fact on KNBR, said the 49ers determined that giving up the opportunity to select Bosa was too steep of a price to pull off the trade to acquire Beckham.

“I think, ironically, the fact that we had the No. 2 pick made it more difficult because they wanted that badly,” Lynch said. “They wanted two No. 1s and we weren’t willing to part with that. That’s too valuable of a pick, even for a player of his magnitude.”