The NFL trade deadline arrives next Tuesday, and is easily the lightest of the four major North American professional sports leagues. The hard salary cap and the depth of the playbook cuts down on the number of impact trades during the season. The NFL already has a fairly limited number of offseason player-for-player trades, so mixing in the in-season issues of dealing football players, and it just rarely happens.
Of course, that won't stop people from speculating about potential trades. I've gotten numerous tweets asking if the San Francisco 49ers will make an addition at the deadline. The team has some areas of concern and a trade could potentially help improve them. And yet, I think I can safely say the 49ers are not going to make any trades between now and Tuesday.
The 49ers have needs to fill, but thankfully they will be getting multiple talent infusions over the next two months. Maybe they won't be brand new names, but I'm pretty sure 49ers fans can live with some of these names. The list of players returning over the next two months includes:
LG Mike Iupati - seems like good chance next week
ILB Patrick Willis - maybe next week
CB Chris Culliver - maybe next week
DB Jimmie Ward - maybe next week
CB Chris Cook - maybe next week
OLB Aldon Smith - Week 9, 10, or 11
ILB NaVorro Bowman - late November to mid December
DT Glenn Dorsey - late November to mid December
In addition to those returning players, CB Tramaine Brock, OT Anthony Davis and TE Vernon Davis will have extra time to shake the rust off following their returns in recent weeks. Oh, and even Marcus Lattimore could be added to the mix as depth at running back.
Yep, I think I would take those returns over the idea of trading for a player who would be entering a potentially new system, with new teammates. Sure there is a lot of talent out there, but the 49ers will be bringing back plenty of their own talent. The downside from injury returns is we don't know exactly what to expect from these players upon their return. For example, Bowman dealt with a devastating knee injury, and he might not be the old Bowman until 2015, if even then. That being said, I can live with the 49ers taking their chances that he can step back into his role. Past performance is not indicative of future returns, but I am willing to be at least a little bit optimistic that the 49ers will get some return from these returning players.