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As Patrick Surtain II’s father sounds off, could the 49ers capitalize on Broncos’ mess?

The 49ers have the draft picks to make a splash on the trade market, what about the Broncos' top corner?

Patrick Surtain II Denver Broncos v New York Giants Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos were embarrassed this weekend in a 70-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins. As the Broncos were taking a literal and figurative beating on Sunday, Patrick Surtain Sr., the father of Broncos star cornerback Patrick Surtain II, voiced his frustration on Twitter.

It’s worth wondering whether his father’s public displeasure is a sign that his son will soon attempt to force his way out of Denver. If he does, the San Francisco 49ers have every reason to try and make the acquisition.

As the Broncos look up at a deep and talented AFC, it’s easy to wonder if they are going to consider selling at the trade deadline to try and gear up for a rebuild. Surtain II is easily one of their most talented players and will also be eligible for a massive contract extension on his rookie-scale contract following this season.

With Surtain II potentially unsatisfied and the Broncos multiple seasons away from contending, it’s not out of the question that the same team that traded Bradley Chubb for a first-round pick last season would do the same thing again this year.

The 49ers have more than $40 million in salary cap space, allowing them the flexibility to make some significant additions during the season. They also could easily roll over that savings to next season, which would allow them to ink Surtain II to a long-term extension as well.

The Niners also have six picks in the first four rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, including their own first and second-round picks. That’s before incorporating compensatory picks from last year’s free-agent class. Over the Cap projects the 49ers to receive an additional third, fifth, and three sixth-round picks from the teams’ departures.

The Niners have consistently been willing to make blockbuster trades under head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The team has most notably acquired former wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and running back Christian McCaffrey in noteworthy mid-season trades prior to the trade deadline.

It’s easy to imagine why the 49ers would covet adding a player with Surtain’s skillset. The closest thing to a weakness on the 49ers' dominant defense is in their cornerback depth behind Mooney Ward. Adding Surtain would both give defensive coordinator Steve Wilks a pair of elite corners but would also allow Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas to move down the depth chart or compete for playing time at nickel with Isaiah Oliver.

However, the 49ers will not be the only team attempting to add Surtain II if the Broncos listen to offers. Several other contenders have far weaker defenses and secondaries than San Francisco. Moreover, the Niners have established themselves as one of the clear NFC favorites.

The Broncos would likely prefer to acquire a first-round pick from a team that has a chance to end up with a more middling record. The 49ers could try to jump the market, possibly by adding their second-round pick or some other significant draft capital, but that could prove too rich for their blood.

Nevertheless, the 49ers have the most cap space in the NFL and all of their picks. As sellers contemplate trading proven pieces in the lead up to the trade deadline, San Francisco is in a position to make a run at nearly any player they want. With Patrick Surtain II’s father calling for a change, the Broncos' cornerback could fit the bill.