Wednesday afternoon, Matt Barrows reported that the San Francisco 49ers were shopping Michael Wilhoite for a sixth or seventh round draft pick. This news is not shocking in light of the 49ers depth, but it also might tell us something about the health of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
The 49ers went into last season with Wilhoite starting place of Bowman. The team drafted Chris Borland, and it seemed like he would settle in as a reserve option who focused on special teams as a rookie. Once Willis aggravated his toe injury, Borland emerged as a star on the defensive side of the ball. He got hurt himself, but otherwise paired up quite nicely with Michael Wilhoite, emerging as the better of the two.
If the report is true, and the 49ers are trying to trade Michael Wilhoite, this would seem to indicate Willis and Bowman are making progress in their respective rehabilitations. Back at the Combine, general manager Trent Baalke said both players were making great progress in their rehabilitation. It is expected that both will be available for some portion of the offseason workout program, and will be ready for the opening of training camp.
At the time, it was easy to say we could just take that with a grain of salt. I don't think we were going to hear him say they had setbacks or other issues had arisen. However, in light of the Wilhoite report, maybe Baalke was not BS'ing us. The team has Nick Moody and Shayne Skov as additional reserves, but if either Willis or Bowman was slow in recovery, would the 49ers really look into dealing Wilhoite? It is possible they really like Moody and/or Skov if necessary, but my guess is this says more about Willis and Bowman's health.