NFL trade rumors are heating up as the 2016 NFL Draft approaches, and the San Francisco 49ers are firmly planted in the middle of them. We've heard plenty of rumors about Colin Kaepernick, but SI's Peter King heard something different recently. In his MMQB column this week, King posted a grab-bag of rumors he has heard. One front office person (no clarification on what role) said the 49ers want to trade offensive tackle Anthony Davis and strong safety Antoine Bethea.
The Davis mention is not shocking. The 49ers one-time right tackle retired last year, and has yet to apply for reinstatement. On April 1, Davis said he would be applying for reinstatement later in the year, and dealing with Trent Baalke was giving him a headache. If he applies for reinstatement, the 49ers could elect to release him and force repayment of his remaining prorated bonus money. However, given that he is still young, they might be able to get a pick or two for him. Trenton Brown finished the season at right tackle, and if the team thinks he can be the guy there, or if they want to draft another option, it makes sense to try and get something for Davis.
Bethea missed much of last season with a torn pectoral muscle, which got rookie Jaquiski Tartt into the starting lineup. Tartt struggled at times, but it was valuable experience in an otherwise lost season. Bethea is due $4.5 million this season, with a cap hit of $6,025,000. If the 49ers trade Bethea or release him before June 1, they would save $3,525,000, while a post-June 1 cut would save them $4,775,000. Cap space is not the issue here. Bethea offers solid leadership, but if the team is prepared to move forward with Tartt as the starter, there is little reason at this point to keep Bethea. And given the re-building nature of this team, a trade would not surprise me at all.
The report also included a quote from another anonymous source saying the 49ers would not move up from No. 7 because Trent Baalke likes his picks too much and the 49ers have too many needs to give them away. In spite of the rumors of the 49ers interest in the No. 1 pick, I am highly skeptical they move up. That's just not how Trent Baalke operates.