49ers general manager John Lynch held a brief conference call shortly after the team traded running back Jeff Wilson Jr. Tuesday afternoon to discuss the process of how the trade came to fruition.
Lynch said the Miami Dolphins reached out for the first time about a week ago. And while Wilson didn’t formally request a trade, he saw the writing on the wall after the team traded for Christian McCaffrey. Then, once you factor in Elijah Mitchell’s potential return, there simply weren’t enough touches to go around for Wilson.
Wilson will be missed off the field as much, if not more, as he will be on the field. Sunday, McCaffrey spoke out again about how much Wilson had helped him in the nine days since he was acquired. CMC could lean on knowledge from Wilson in a way he couldn’t from the other first and second-year backs on the roster.
Trading Wilson helps pave the way for the ‘other’ running backs the team has invested in besides McCaffrey. Here’s Lynch on the topic:
“Ultimately, we’re going to be about winning, but I think winning long-term, you have to play your young guys. I will tell you, [RB] Jordan Mason was outstanding on special teams the other day. He really played in every, you look for those four core guys that are playing all the units, Jordan did a tremendous job really becoming a valuable piece there. [RB] Ty [Davis-Price] is a guy we’re extremely high on. I do think there’s a learning curve in this offense to play, but we think highly of both those young men, we felt like, I’m not going to put a timetable on Elijah, but that he’s close to returning. And we all know what Elijah has meant to this team.”
Lynch said Mitchell is staying around the team facilities during the bye week to rehab and has been tracking really well, so much so that the team will see where Mitchell is at on Monday. He wouldn’t confirm Mitchell would play but said, “it’s certainly a possibility.”
Mitchell’s injury history is alarming. McCaffrey’s is noteworthy, leaving Mason and TDP, who has also missed time this season. Wilson is no stranger to injuries himself, which might make this question a moot point, but is trading him for a fifth-round pick worth it in the short term?
Remember, when the 49ers didn’t have an answer at running back last year, they turned to Deebo Samuel. That’s a luxury that still exists this year that nobody seems to be mentioning. There may not be a need for Wilson since there’s a logjam at the position, but he’s been Mr. Reliable.
Fans have gone back and forth on the topic. How do you feel?
Was trading Jeff Wilson worth it in the short term?
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