The 49ers running backs have been dropping like flies this season. Jeff Wilson Jr. was hurt months before training camp even began. Raheem Mostert lasted four snaps. Elijah Mitchell got injured in less than two games. The same goes for JaMycal Hasty. Even Trey Sermon got hurt in Week 2 before coming back on Sunday.
In today’s Oh Hey There podcast, Javier Vega wondered if San Francisco needs to trade for a running back, and he has someone in mind:
I wonder: what is the price for Saquon Barkley? This is me being a Penn State homer...That is the dream, right, to have a Saquon Barkley? What is the cost to acquire him? I would love to know what that conversation is like...This is not Madden, I know that, but sometimes guys can be had for less.
Daniel Jones is probably not the guy. If you can get assets and kind of reset all this stuff, then maybe you do it, right? Dave Gettleman’s probably not here at the end of the year in New York. Maybe they ship him off. Maybe they do something like that. It’s just a thought.
Personally, I don’t think a specific idea is very realistic, but I do think the idea of trading for a running back is worth talking about. However, with cluster injuries ravaging the roster once again, is it worth giving up assets for a new ball carrier?
As a team, the 49ers are averaging 3.6 yards per carry this season, which was against the “easy” portion of the schedule. If defenses continue to play the way the Packers did on Sunday night, rushing room is going to be increasingly hard to come by. Do you think a trade could give the team a spark going forward?
Leo and Javier also discussed another potential option that wouldn’t cost the team any assets on today’s show - deploy Trey Lance. Even in limited snaps this season, we’ve seen the effect Lance has on the second level of the defense when he’s in the game. Using Lance to run more RPO-type plays (with a legitimate chance of also passing the ball) could open things up and give the entire offense some breathing room.
Whatever the team decides to do, clearly, something has to change. The offense is loaded with talented, skill players, and the play-caller is one of the brightest offensive minds in the sport. However, offensive struggles like what we’ve seen since the first half against the Lions are simply unacceptable. If this team is going to make the playoffs this year, they’ll have to execute on a much higher level in the weeks to come.
*Correction: A previous version of this post said that the Giants did not pick up Barkley’s fifth year option. That was incorrect as the option was exercised in April.