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Kawakami: 49ers were deciding between Bosa and Beckham

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In his latest article on the Athletic, Tim Kawakami goes into detail on that trade decision the 49ers had to make.

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There’s been a lot written about the Odell Beckham Jr. trade and more will for sure be coming through the season as long as the Browns and 49ers continue to make headline with their success. On Sunday, The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami had some more information on the trade the 49ers either passed or missed out on depending on who you ask.

Per Kawakami, it all came down to a simple trade: the Giants wanted the No. 2 pick, something the 49ers were not willing to give up. That much has been common knowledge. What hasn’t been had been the thinking process behind it.

They [the 49ers] viewed the No. 2 overall pick as a little extra valuable this year — as opposed to say, 2017, when they had the No. 2 pick and then flipped it for Chicago’s No. 3; the Bears took Mitch Trubisky, and the 49ers took Solomon Thomas. This year, as long as they stayed at No. 2 and the Cardinals drafted quarterback Kyler Murray (which is what happened), the 49ers were assured of landing a centerpiece defensive lineman.

So, with Shanahan and Lynch zeroing in on Bosa, the question really came down to this: Did the 49ers want Bosa or OBJ?

Kawakami noted that the 49ers were also interested in then-Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. That has been around the rumor mill for quite some time, so it shouldn’t be all that shocking.

The point was, the 49ers were going to get help on the defensive line. The reason Bosa was not going to be picked? Kawakami says the trade for Dee Ford had a hand, which helped the 49ers at the edge. On the same token, the Ford trade came after the Beckham trade was announced. So when these were put into handshake agreements is anyone’s guess. It wouldn’t shock me at all if the 49ers had agreed to terms with Ford before OBJ either. Just something to keep in mind.

Kawakami says that the 49ers were not at all interested in giving up the No. 2 pick by itself for OBJ. This was something I also said I wouldn’t give up when I wrote my analysis on Beckham’s price tag. My trade offer was a second, a sixth, and a swap of firsts. Since the 49ers were presumed to be making the Dee Ford trade, their second was gone. Either way, the Giants were planning on taking Daniel Jones no matter what, so there was no need to move up to get him.

So basically, the Giants wanted to get Bosa at two (or whoever they had their eyes on) along with Jones in exchange for parting with Beckham. Yeah, that’s a bit ridiculous and unfair. Kawakami makes a point that his sources said they didn’t know who the Giants wanted with the second pick, but they just wanted it along with their original first-rounder intact.

Meanwhile, with the swap, the 49ers would have taken Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, or still been able to land Williams if he fell that far (he didn’t).

Looking at Jason Hurley’s salary cap rundown from last week, I have to say the 49ers may have made the smart decision. The reason why I was so stingy on OBJ was that while the player is important, things like the contract and age also need to be factored in. It’s why I was also saying Antonio Brown wasn’t worth more than a second and why I’d only give up a third for him (coincidentally, Kawakami notes the 49ers were not interested in Brown at all). OBJ is in his prime, but that contract is (understandably) ridiculous and with the 49ers needing to pay DeForest Buckner and George Kittle (and maybe hoping for some hometown discounts to stay out of salary cap hell). If Bosa keeps playing as he does, he won’t be cheap in a few years either, but the 49ers got him for a few years on a rookie deal where they’d be paying way more to shoulder OBJ on the roster.

It came down to Bosa and OBJ. Factoring in need, player, and the money, the 49ers made the right call.