The 49ers personnel department will earn their paychecks this week as they scour rosters around the league to find talent to add to the current Niners squad.
We’ll keep track of any household names who are released throughout the day. But don’t rule out the 49ers using a future draft pick on a player they feel like could help out on the roster Week 1. With that in mind, let’s go through a few options — both potential cut and trade candidates — who may be available this week.
Trade - Edge rusher, Derek Barnett, Eagles
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Eagles edge rusher Derek Barnett and his agent are looking for potential trade options ahead of the regular season. Barnett’s contract voids after 2023, has a cap number of $2.29 this season.
Barnett tore his ACL in September 2022, so the price point should be minimal. The 49ers have a surplus at linebacker, which happens to be a position of need for Philadelphia. I’d attempt to make a 1-for-1 swap and include a late Day 3 pick if needed.
You’re hoping that Barnett looks more like the old him by November and December. This is a player who has had at least 32 pressures in every season save one from 2017 to 2021. You can never have enough pass rushers, and if it all works out, you can bring Barnett back next year. Or, better yet, receive a compensatory pick if he performs well and gets compensated next offseason.
Trade - Edge rusher, K’Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars
Chaisson could be a surprise cut candidate. The Jaguars declined to pick up his fifth-year option. K’Lavon is a free agent after this regular season. He didn’t play in the Jaguars’ final preseason game, but there was no injury designation.
He has been a disappointment through three years, but he’s still 24. Another player who wouldn’t cost more than a conditional Day 3 pick, thanks to having three sacks in three years. This is another trade where the 49ers could buy low and reap the benefits during the season with an uber-athletic pass rusher and potentially get their pick back next year via a comp pick in free agency.
Both of the edge options don’t come without risk, but the value is there for the 49ers to cash in.
Cut - Kicker, Will Lutz, Saints
The 49ers will have a close eye on kickers around the league over the next couple of days as they have two kickers nursing injuries. The Saints brought back Will Lutz after he agreed to take a pay cut. But undrafted rookie kicker Blake Grupe has made five of six field goal attempts during the preseason, and could make Lutz expendable.
Lutz is coming off a career worst year where he made 74 percent of his kicks, but he was above 82 percent in every year from 2016 through 2020, including hitting 82.4 percent of his kicks from 40-49 yards.
If cut, Lutz would serve as a band-aid for the 49ers while Jake Moody gets fully healthy.
Cut - Returner, Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons
The Falcons drafted a running back in the first-round and have a promising second-year back as well. Releasing Cordarrelle Patterson would save Atlanta north of $4 million in cap space.
Patterson has missed the preseason with a soft tissue injury. On August 16, Falcons coach Arthur Smith said that Patterson would miss “several weeks.” Smith provided an update Sunday saying that Cordarrelle is on track to return on schedule, but isn’t expected to return early this week.
Rolling the dice on a player returning from injury is playing with fire, but the 49ers don’t have a return man. Patterson has a strong argument for being one of the best kick returners in NFL history.
While the rules have changed, Patterson averaged 31.6 yards per return last year, including one for a touchdown. Patterson said he still intends to be aggressive as a returner earlier this month, saying he will continue to bring kicks out of the end zone.