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NFL trade rumors: 49ers could deal back end roster players for late picks at trade deadline

The San Francisco 49ers have several key players returning from injury over the next month. Could that make them active in trying to deal some of their depth before then?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers are finishing up their bye week just in time for the 2014 NFL trade deadline. The deadline is this Tuesday, and while the NFL is usually the least active of the major sports' deadlines, we could still see some small deals. And this might be where our 49ers come in to the picture.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the 49ers are looking to move one or two defensive players on the back end of their roster for late round draft picks. The 49ers have a significant infusion of defensive talent coming back over the coming 4-6 weeks, and the team will need to find space for all these players. This group includes Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman and Glenn Dorsey.

The 49ers have one open roster spot with Chris Cook and Daniel Kilgore going on injured reserve (having also signed Bubba Ventrone). That leaves the team needing a pair of roster spots. They likely will end having to release at least one player, but maybe they can find some space through a trade.

Schefter did not list any potential trade candidates, but players that would lose playing time with the return of Smith, Bowman and Dorsey would include Demarcus Dobbs, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Michael Wilhoite, Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier. The most logical trade candidate would be Dan Skuta. If the 49ers get Aldon Smith back this week, they could afford to trade Skuta, knowing they would have Smith, Lynch and Ahmad Brooks. Dobbs and Jerod-Eddie are valuable reserves in light of the lack of use for Quinton Dial and Tank Carradine. However, if the 49ers are comfortable between now and Dorsey's return, maybe they deal one of Dobbs or TJE, roll with the other, and get Dial and/or Tank more playing time.

The team could also unload a special teams player, knowing that guys like Wilhoite and Skuta will be available for even more special teams work. However, a guy like Kassim Osgood, Bubba Ventrone, or whomever, is more likely just a basic cut candidate if space is needed.