The NFL trade deadline is a little under a month away, and if it is anything like last year, things might get interesting. In 2017, in the days leading up to the deadline, most notably we saw the San Francisco 49ers acquired Jimmy Garoppolo. However, we also saw trades involving running back Jay Ajayi, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, offensive tackle Duane Brown, and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. It was a busy October!
There are not many trade rumors floating around right now, particularly with Le’Veon Bell reportedly re-joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in the coming weeks. However, there is always room for posing trade hypotheticals. Which brings us to Pro Football Focus.
They put together a look at one trade for each team they would like to see at this point in the season. Every team gets at least one mention, and plenty get a second or third based on the deals getting done.
The 49ers showed up twice in this thought exercise. The first was a reasonable one. PFF suggested a deal sending wide receiver Pierre Garçon to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fourth round pick. I’d be surprised if the 49ers could get that much for Garçon, but it makes sense for the Cowboys to try and pursue some receiver help.
The second deal was a little less ... something.
Player acquired: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Compensation: Conditional 6th round pick
The 49ers can’t afford to spend big on a one-year rental under center, but trotting out second-year quarterback C.J. Beathard for the next 12 weeks may keep the seats from filling up at Levi Stadium. Starting Beathard to see a handful of respectable losses isn’t as exciting as watching Robert Griffin III try to revitalize his career. Griffin can still add value, as he recorded the highest passer rating under pressure (149.5) among qualifying signal-callers in the preseason. Plus, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan coached Griffin as the Washington offensive coordinator in his first two years in the league.
I realize there are 49ers fans that would like to see the team acquire RG3. He does have history with Kyle Shanahan. Things ended poorly for all parties involved, but Shanahan has been complimentary this year when asked about RG3.
That being said, I don’t see RG3 as much in the way of an upgrade. There is the potential that he once had, which still entices fans. But with the 49ers making it clear they will remain patient in this rebuilding process, I’d much rather they just see what Beathard can do the remaining 12 weeks of the season. He showed some signs against the Chargers, and now gets a step-up in competition against a better Cardinals defense.
And even if the 49ers decide they want to consider a QB upgrade over Beathard, they have some time over the next month to see their current QB face some unique defensive challenges. I’m comfortable seeing where Beathard can go with that.