The San Francisco 49ers roster is far from perfect and there are still numerous question marks. The most notable are it’s lack of a quality edge-rusher or just pass rush in general. The team released Elvis Dumervil, and signed Cassius Marsh to an extension and that was the extent of it.
The Ringer’s Danny Kelly put together an article on nine hypothetical trades that should happen and the 49ers came up twice. First, he suggested the 49ers give up a second round pick (and possibly more) for Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham:
San Francisco’s got plenty of interior pass-rush talent, but they don’t have a proven elite edge rusher like Graham. If they threw a 2019 second-rounder and more Philly’s way, Howie Roseman may have to consider it.
I don’t know if ‘plenty’ is the best word to use for the inside pass rush, but Graham would definitely have a spot on the 49ers defense. Giving a second up for him wouldn’t be so bad, but I wouldn’t package anything else with it. It’s either a second or a third plus change. Graham is 30 years old this season and if the 49ers were to do a trade for him, they could probably lock him up for a couple years without breaking the bank. He won’t be cheap (his last contract with the Eagles gave him $14 million guaranteed), but he definitely is affordable, especially considering how the 49ers have handled their salary cap. On the field he would be the edge rusher the team desperately needed and they can then focus on drafting a dedicated defensive end to take over when the contract was up.
On the other end, he suggested the Cleveland Browns make a trade for 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead:
The Browns, another cap- and draft capital-rich squad, could make for an interesting trade partner. While building out depth and talent at the edge rusher, linebacker, and cornerback spots during the past couple of years, they’re still light on interior pass rushers. Put Armstead on a line with Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Larry Ogunjobi, and Cleveland’s defense could really make a jump.
This is another trade that seems smart for both parties. The 49ers defensive line is stacked with depth right now—whether it can rush the passer is about to be determined when the 49ers go up against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1. They have so many pieces that they’ve had Arik Armstead moving all over the place, currently playing “big end.” Armstead seems better in the interior, but the 49ers have Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, and Earl Mitchell. While they picked up Armstead’s fifth-year option, it feels like it might be a longshot that he sticks around past 2019. He’s only managed to make it through a full NFL season once, his rookie season, which is also something to consider. I think if the price is right it’d be a good deal for the Browns.
These are all complete hypotheticals. Would you do either of these deals?