With the 49ers on a bye this week, Levin Black and I speculated about the future of the team on this week’s Gold Standard podcast. With at least 30 free agents after the season, an unsettled quarterback situation, and the willingness of this regime to make bold moves, would anything surprise you at this point?
There’s no question that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are willing to both entertain and make big moves. They considered dumping Jimmy Garoppolo for Tom Brady immediately after their Super Bowl appearance in 2019.
They traded DeForest Buckner that offseason for a first-round draft pick. They have traded four draft picks to acquire a single player twice in the last two years.
They are not afraid to make sweeping changes to their roster if they think it will improve the team.
“I would say the one thing that would shock me this offseason that I think has the smallest chance of being possible is that they try to talk to Aiyuk about an extension and Aiyuk says, ‘I want top of the market and I’m not budging.’ If it becomes, they have to give him $27 or $28 million, there’s no way they can do that. They’d have to get their value for him now and trade him.
That would be the true shocker, offensively, where I would be like, ‘Oh my god, they really did this?’ I would be pissed. I would imagine Trey Lance would be mad because that’s the guy he’s closest to, but I could also see that happening. Aiyuk’s having a pretty good season. I could see them trying to sign him before he has a truly massive, huge year where he has leverage because his contract is coming to an end. Then they try and get him at like $16, $17, $18 million a year and he says, ‘No, I’m beating Deebo’s number or I’m not signing.’ Then the 49ers say, ‘Well, we can get a first round pick for you, so we’re moving on.’”
A trade of Aiyuk would be tough to stomach, but that exact scenario could very well play out after the season if Brandon took a hard enough stance regarding his contract. Additionally, given the recent influx of young wide receivers that have made an immediate impact in the league, teams can justify trying to find cheaper replacements in the draft rather than giving big second contracts to that position.
Other than a trade of Nick Bosa, which has a .1% chance of ever happening, there isn’t a single roster move the 49ers could make this offseason that would shock me at this point - and that includes a trade of Trey Lance.
For the record, I’m not saying this is going to happen at all. I’m simply saying that if it did, I wouldn’t be surprised. The second Trey Lance got injured, his entire NFL future immediately got murkier. Putting aside anything that happens this year with the team, Lance’s injury history alone dictates that the 49ers would have to have another reliable quarterback on the roster next season to insulate themselves as they did this year.
Say the 49ers go on a run in the second half of the year and win the Super Bowl. That could easily justify a new contract for Jimmy Garoppolo in the 49ers’ eyes, and Lance then becomes an attractive way to recoup some draft capital in order to replenish a very expensive roster with cheap labor.
Was that the plan all along? Absolutely not, but this regime has never been afraid to pivot according to circumstances. Kirk Cousins was the plan until Jimmy Garoppolo fell into their lap. An extension for DeForest Buckner was the plan until they could get a mid-first round pick for him. Elijah Mitchell and Jeff Wilson were the plan until Christian McCaffrey became available. Stuff happens, and this front office isn’t afraid to adapt on the fly.
What do you think? Would you be stunned by any move the 49ers made this offseason that doesn’t involve Nick Bosa? Let us know in the comments below!
Other topics in today’s show
- There are no gatekeepers to fandom in sports (2:38)
- Predicting the next 4 games for the 49ers (5:51)
- Does Kyle Shanahan own his former assistants? (10:02)
- Predicting the next 4 games: TB, SEA, WASH, LVR (14:28)
- Would you sign for being 9-7 going into the final game of the year? (20:18)
- How the 49ers are trying to defeat the injury bug with volume (21:25)
- Can anything the 49ers do shock you at this point? (29:23)
- How to sell a trade of Trey Lance to the fans if the Niners win the Super Bowl this year (33:30)
- What would you sacrifice for a Super Bowl win? (34:08)
- Will we see Arik Armstead or Javon Kinlaw again this year? (40:51)
- What would you do if you won the billion dollar jackpot? (43:57)