These trade rumors aren’t going anywhere, and when a team is connected to several players, it’s tough to imagine the San Francisco 49ers not being involved in talks that include acquiring a wide receiver. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports—yes, I know his track record—recently reported the Niners were linked to just about every wide receiver that’s on the market. We’ve talked a bit about Emmanuel Sanders of the Broncos, and Pat will have more on that later today, but La Canfora presented some new names.
Why making a move makes sense
Consistency. That’s what’s lacking from the 49ers receiver group right now. Going back to last week’s win over the Rams, even Dante Pettis was slipping on a few routes that cost Jimmy Garoppolo to hold onto the ball. The 49ers need someone that is going to step up and get open when the offense can’t use play-action to get free. I don’t think anyone would argue that Marquise Goodwin should be the number one receiver on a playoff team in 2019. He has Shanahan’s trust, but even he is up and down. That leaves the team with promising second-round pick Deebo Samuel, who sat out Week 7, Kendrick Bourne, and Richie James. I loved what I saw from Trent Taylor in training camp, but is it fair to expect him to make a significant impact fresh off a foot injury? We still don’t know when he’ll return.
Making a move makes sense, as adding in a player won’t stunt the growth of Deebo or Dante. If anything, it’ll put them in roles that will allow them to flourish even more. Also, after six games, the offense needs a boost at receiver. There is a lot of talks saying the 49ers receiving group isn’t producing because they aren’t being used. To an extent, that’s true. This is a situation where less is more, though, specifically for Bourne and James. San Francisco doesn’t need a receiver that can give them plays here and there. That’s the majority of their receiving corps. The 49ers need a receiver that can get open when everyone knows he’s getting the ball.
There isn’t a receiver on the roster that has more than 200 yards receiving. Samuel, who missed Sunday’s game against Washington, is second on the team with 15 receptions. Nobody has scored more than one touchdown. There is a reason that the Niners are connected to so many receivers.
Here is who La Canfora listed:
- A.J. Green, W.R., Bengals
- Sanders, WR, Broncos
- Mohamed Sanu, W.R., Falcons
- Taylor Gabriel, WR, Bears
- Devante Parker, WR, Dolphins
Like most players that have played under Shanahan, Sanu’s best seasons came when Kyle was his play-caller. No, I don’t mean just looking at raw stats. Sanu has 32 receptions for 310 yards and a touchdown this season, though in a much different offense. He’s a veteran that can line up both inside and outside. Sanu also knows the offense and has Shanahan’s trust. With that said, I’m not giving up even a low pick for Sanu. If I’m John Lynch, I’m going to trade for a difference-maker. That’s not Sanu, even if you reunite him with Shanahan. Football Outsiders has Sanu ranked 47th in their DYAR stat for receivers. Sanu’s PFF grade is 63.2 on the season.
Gabriel has nine receptions for 110 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Seventy-five of those yards and each score came against Washington. To me, he’s a worse version of Deebo. Gabriel is more of a gadget player. I prefer getting James Jr. more touches as opposed to Gabriel. I understand the familiarity, but Gabriel isn’t making an impact on this roster. Not to the effect where the offense is drastically better.
Gabriel would be ranked 38th in DYAR if he were to qualify and has a PFF grade of 58.9.
Parker has been a disappointment in his career. The former first-round pick out of Louisville has all of the physical gifts, but couldn’t stay healthy with the Dolphins. On the season, he has 18 receptions for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He’s inconsistent, but he’s a big-play threat and a red-zone target that could be just what Jimmy Garoppolo needs. Parker has also scored a touchdown in each of the last three games. Parker has one more year left on his deal and has a cap number of $4.8 million in 2019.
Parker has a 60.8 PFF grade, with that being weighed down by a 36.3 run-blocking grade. He is 29th in DYAR. Drops have cost the 49ers this season. Parker has two in the past two seasons. He has gotten a lot more consistent at catching the ball. Parker would always wow with a highlight catch, but he was inconsistent. The reason I like the idea of trading for Parker, beyond his talent, is that he can probably be acquired for something as little as a fourth-round pick.
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Here are two Hail Mary’s that Lynch should ask about, though both unlikely.
The Bears are 3-3 and are on the outside looking in of the NFC playoff picture. Their offense is ugly, and Matt Nagy may feel he can get by without Robinson. That is Mitch Trubisky’s go-to target, though. Again, he’s worth a phone call. Robinson is healthy, and the plays he makes every Sunday are why he’s a No. 1 receiver. He isn’t cheap. Robinson has two seasons left on his contract, and both of them have a $15 million cap hit.
He’s worth it.
Robinson is 8th in DYAR. His PFF grade is 82.1. Robinson has 41 catches for 464 yards and three touchdowns. He’s legitimately one of the best receivers in football. With his contract up after the 2020 season, perhaps a third-round pick in 2020 and a second-round pick in 2021? I’d sniff around.
Continuing the theme where bad teams unload their good players. The Chargers are 2-5 and are in free fall. They aren’t going anywhere this season. Cal Berkley alum Keenan Allen’s contract is up after the 2020 season. His cap number for the next two seasons is $12.1 and $12.6 million. Like Robinson, steep, but when you’re talking about premier players, good luck getting them on a discount.
Robinson is a deep threat, whereas Allen will wear you out over the intermediate part of the field. If I had to, I’d give up a first-round pick for Allen, as I would Robinson, knowing that pick will more than likely be in the ’20s. The draft class is loaded with receivers, but you’re not getting someone as polished as these two that can contribute right away.
Allen has 44 catches for 564 yards and three scores in 2019. He has a PFF grade of 76.9 and is 13th in F.O.’s DYAR. Shoot your shot, John.