Yesterday afternoon, reports came out that the San Francisco 49ers traded Parys Haralson to the New Orleans Saints. The 49ers have not yet confirmed the trade, but later in the evening, Matt Barrows tweeted out that the compensation was believed to be a conditional seventh round draft pick. The condition is simply that Haralson make the Saints roster, which should not be a problem, particularly given their loss of Will Smith.
As would be expected, there was a slight meltdown upon learning of this compensation. People were hoping for a higher pick, with some arguing the team should get as high as a fourth round pick for Haralson. Needless to say, a lot of people were not happy with this report.
There are a few things to keep in mind. As someone pointed out on Twitter, let's remember that the 49ers got Anquan Boldin for a sixth round pick. Every trade has different context, but let's just try and keep this in mind. The 49ers No. 1 wide receiver was gotten for relatively little. The Ravens needed to unload salary, the 49ers needed a No. 2 receiver (obviously more important now), so the deal was relatively easy.
Trent Baalke and company have done great work in amassing various draft picks, and at times they've managed to do what has seemed like serious swindling. In this case, some folks think Baalke got taken on this deal. It is certainly possible he did, but given the context, I wouldn't say this isn't quite as awful as some might make it out to be.
The 49ers had cap space, but we know they needed more in order to potentially extend some of their big name free agents. They are not clearing a ton of cap space with this deal, but every penny will count. Parys Haralson had $1.15 million in base salary, along with 150,000 in roster bonuses, per Brian McIntyre. They will be clearing that minus the salary of the player that replaces him on the 53-man roster. That person is likely a minimum salary kind of player, whether it be Cam Johnson or whomever. It's not a ton of money, but it's more money that can either be rolled over next year, or used to extend a Mike Iupati or Tarell Brown this year.
We think the 49ers were likely to keep Haralson, but maybe they were in fact prepared to release him at the end of this week. The team has to make certain financial decisions, and some are going to hurt a little bit. That being said, if the 49ers had kept Haralson, it seems likely that Corey Lemonier was going to get on the field before him anyway.
Lemonier was the guy who was going to get on the field in pass rush situations. Haralson was the guy who would occasionally spell Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks in the base defense, and he would have replaced either in the base in case of injury, but Lemonier and potentially Cam Johnson are the future.
It would have been fantastic to get more than a seventh round pick, but they didn't, so that's life. Over the course of the last two years, Baalke & Co. have swung and missed on A.J. Jenkins and potentially more of the 2012 draft and Brandon Jacobs, and they got a seventh round pick for Parys Haralson. Of that group, the first series of transactions, the first was a huge swing and miss, along with the potential for some other misses, the second was not exactly crippling, and the third remains to be seen.
Given what we've seen this team do in 2011 and 2013 in free agency and the draft (looking mostly at 2013 draft potential, obviously), and some of the potential that remains from 2012, I think it's a track record that earns them the benefit of the doubt for now. Every deal won't be a home run, every deal won't be perfect. It's OK to be disappointed in a seventh round pick, but let's remember that this involves a backup outside linebacker who was hopefully not going to see a lot of playing time with the defense this season.
- Today's links
- 49ers begin roster cuts
- 49ers vs. Vikings: Quick slants
- Who is eligible for the practice squad?
- Jim Harbaugh more or less names a backup QB