I made this comment last night in the thread about replacements for Bruce Miller in the short-term. I made the comment because it got me thinking about the long-term:
With the Raiders in full rebuild mode at this point, I wonder if they’d be willing to trade Marcel Reece in the off-season for a reasonable price. Miller is a very good FB, but Reece would give the team what they’ve been missing from Delanie Walker, as there really isn’t a more versatile offensive player in the league than Reece. He makes a lot more than Miller (over $3M cap hit) but would fill several roles and only take up one roster spot. He’d serve as the starting fullback, the 2nd TE on 2 TE/1 RB formations, a backup RB, a special teams player, and any other way the 49ers can think to use him. Miller is a free agent after next year, and based on what other fullbacks are paid, I’d guess he would be in line to make about $1.5M per year (cap hit).
Just an idea. Hypothetically, Reece would make 2x as much as Miller and cost a draft pick to get, but despite how good Miller is, Reece would bring so much more to this offense. Being the Raiders signed him to an extension in September, I don’t know how willing they’d be to trade him, but as they’re in full-on rebuild mode, a 3rd or 4th round pick would be very hard to turn down for a complementary player. The diamond formation (3-back pistol set) with Reece/Gore/James would be scary.
I'm making this fanpost because coincidentally, PFF put up an analysis piece this morning on Reece's versatility and how he's underrated. It's worth the read, but if you're one of those TLDR type of people, I'd refer to his summary:
His ability to line up in multiple spots also gives the Raiders a huge realm of untapped creativity in terms of favorable matchups. The Patriots teams of recent seasons were so difficult to defend because they forced you to make a decision before the snap how you were going to defend certain personnel, and then used that against you. With Marcel Reece in the huddle teams could be facing a running back, lead blocker, or even wide receiver, but at the moment the Raiders aren’t doing nearly enough with Reece to make that question an issue.
Marcel Reece is one of the league’s most versatile Weapom-X type players, but you could be forgiven for missing it, because apparently his coaches have up until now as well.
Obviously, it's hard to imagine the 49ers ever getting Reece, but the idea makes sense if they weren't having to give up a ton of compensation. He's signed through 2016 with less than a $4M cap hit each year. PFF compares him to Sproles, Graham, Hernandez, and Vereen, who all do/will/did make more than that amount.
While it's not going to happen, I'd like to hear others' takes on adding Reece, or a player like him. Obviously they couldn't pay Walker what he wanted, but finding another guy who brought what he did to this offense would be awesome. I peg Reece as that guy, but it's just not going to happen.