Richard Sherman

In Jalen Ramsey trade, 49ers should be willing to do whatever it takes

In Jalen Ramsey trade, 49ers should be willing to do whatever it takes

The 49ers had an offensive breakthrough in Week 2. Now, an opportunity for a defensive one has presented itself.

While San Francisco was laying waste to the Bengals, the Jaguars were getting frustrated in a close divisional loss to the Texans. That frustration boiled over in a sideline exchange between Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone and Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, in which both men had to be separated. The emotions haven't died down in the aftermath, apparently, as Ramsey reportedly requested a trade Monday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen were the first to report the trade demand, citing Ramsey's agent, David Mulugheta. According to Schefter, the Jaguars are already looking into trading their talented defensive back, and are seeking significant draft compensation in return.

Now, 49ers. Now is the time to act.

Just like Minkah Fitzpatrick, who similarly recently requested a trade from the dumpster fire that is the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco should be willing to do whatever it takes to put Ramsey in a 49ers uniform.

For starters, Ramsey is arguably the best cornerback in all of football. If he isn't the best, he's near the top of the list. In his three-plus seasons in the NFL, he's started all 50 games, made two Pro Bowls and has been named a First-Team All-Pro. He'll turn 25 years old in October, and at 6-1, 208 lbs with a 4.41 40-yard dash and 41.5-inch vertical, he's a perfect fit for San Francisco's defensive system. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the second-best cornerback in the NFL entering the current season.

A first-round draft pick (and additional filler) is well worth it to acquire a player of Ramsey's ilk, particularly given San Francisco's current trajectory. At 2-0 with a beat-up Steelers team coming into town, the 49ers look as if they'll be in playoff contention this season. Whether or not they end their playoff drought, you can expect their own 2020 first-round draft pick to fall in the late teens at best, if not the 20s. As such, Ramsey -- and Fitzpatrick, for that matter -- are far superior talents to whichever prospect would be available to San Francisco at that selection. Both Ramsey (24) and Fitzpatrick (22) are proven commodities, and just a couple years older -- at most -- than whoever they would pick in the first round next April.

And yes, the 49ers already are without their 2020 second-round draft pick, given away in the trade to acquire Dee Ford. But, again, odds are that Ramsey will have a significantly better career than anyone they'll find on the first two days of the draft. San Francisco doesn't want its draft cupboards to be bare, but there are ways to add additional picks in the later rounds. Not to mention, it's not as if the 49ers have been crushing it with their recent first-round draft selections.

Now, you may be saying that while Ramsey is worth a first-round draft pick, the 49ers simply don't need him, given they have Richard Sherman locking down one side, and Ahkello Witherspoon looking strong through the first two games of the season. Need I remind you, however, that Witherspoon looked extremely shaky last season, even being benched at times, and while he has looked improved, his best highlight is an interception returned for a touchdown that was thrown directly to him.

Simply put, the 49ers can't be sure that Witherspoon will come anywhere close to Ramsey's level. They brought in Jason Verrett to compete with Witherspoon in training camp, and while the third-year cornerback won that battle, Verrett was inactive against the Bengals, so maybe that competition wasn't as heated as initially expected. And, even if Witherspoon did bloom into a lockdown cornerback a la Ramsey, San Francisco would soon have to pay him a boatload once his rookie contract concludes at the end of next season. Meanwhile, Sherman will turn 32 in March, and is less than two years removed from a torn Achilles.

[RELATED: Should 49ers trade for Williams after Staley's injury?]

Now, 49ers. Now is the time to act.

49ers vs. Bengals live stream: How to watch NFL Week 2 game online

49ers vs. Bengals live stream: How to watch NFL Week 2 game online

Only one NFL team had multiple interceptions returned for touchdowns in Week 1. That team was the San Francisco 49ers.

Both Richard Sherman and Akhello Witherspoon got pick-sixes as San Francisco downed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-17 on the road.

Week 2 provides another game for the 49ers away from the friendly confines of Levi’s Stadium, as the team is in Cincinnati to take on the Bengals.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch vs. Bengals]

The Bengals are coming off a tight one-point loss in Seattle last week, and will be seeking revenge against another NFC West foe.

Here’s how you can watch 49ers-Bengals:  

Start time: Sunday, Sept. 15, at 10:00 a.m. PT
TV channel: FOX (KTVU) 
49ers live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial

Why 49ers' Richard Sherman continues to play with chip on his shoulder

Why 49ers' Richard Sherman continues to play with chip on his shoulder

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Nine seasons after being drafted in the fifth round, that chip on that landed squarely on Richard Sherman’s shoulder has yet to move. 

The 49ers veteran cornerback may have changed team colors and employers but the motivation remains the same. It almost seems that Sherman enjoys the fact that his demise has been greatly exaggerated. 

“When you get picked in the fifth round it’s the ultimate lack of respect,” Sherman said. “I don’t think you ever lose that no matter how much success you have, no matter how many accolades.” 

It’s been five years since the Sherman has received All-Pro honors and three since he has attended a Pro Bowl. Those goals are not only in his sights, but they are also incentives in his contract. 

Sunday’s pick-six in Tampa was a just a step on Sherman’s path back from the Achilles injury that cut short his final season with the Seahawks. It was his first interception as a member of the 49ers after tallying 32 over his seven seasons in Seattle.

Week 1 was also a step in regaining the respect that Sherman feels has waned since he was a member of the "Legion of Boom." He recognizes the shortened attention span of the NFL audience but that doesn’t mean he agrees with it. 

“They way people judge corners is so hot and cold,” Sherman said. “They are always looking for a new person to crown. I don’t think we have enough people respecting the guys who have done it for eight, nine, ten years. 

“I’ve seen every one-hit wonder, I’ve seen every flash in the pan. And then next year the guy is non-existent, and you just play through all that.” 

Opposing quarterbacks, however, clearly still respect Sherman as he was rarely tested on the field in 2018. Sherman’s value as a mentor and on-field coach to the young secondary -- Ahkello Witherspoon in particular -- might be his most important contribution. 

Sherman, however, doesn’t want his leadership qualities to be what he is most recognized for. Sunday was his first interception returned for a touchdown since 2013 and it inspired him to quote his favorite artist, Drake, on social media. 

Sherman has spoken about feeling much improved after the staples were removed from his ankle in February. Sunday’s performance allowed him to announce his return publicly. It proved to himself and fans alike that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

[RELATED: Nick Bosa misses practice again, could still play vs. Bengals]

“I needed to put it on tape and make an impact on the game and be able to change the game in a way that I’m used to doing.” 

Hopefully for 49ers fans, Week 1 was only the beginning.