With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, NFL talkshow host and occasional newsbreaker Benjamin Allbright reported that the 49ers were one of a handful of team’s to inquire about Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason. The 49ers, and everybody else, were reportedly rebuffed.
Still, the 49ers are light at the receiver position. They are expecting the returns of Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd soon, but production from those two is far from guaranteed. At 5-0, the team is in win-now mode for the first time in a while. Is it time to make a splash?
Longtime 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco broke down the possibility of the 49ers trading for the veteran receiver when he joined KNBR Friday.
“I know his yards per catch isn’t very high — and he’s what 32 years old — so he’s getting up there as far as the age goes,” Maiocco said. “What they just have to determine is can they get more? Would they really be helping themselves if they went out and got him, when you have Trent Taylor coming back, when you have, conceivably, Jalen Hurd?”
Sanders is a two-time Pro Bowler, but hasn’t had a 1,000 yard receiving season since 2016. He’s caught 30 passes for 367 yards (12.2 per) so far this season.
“The thing that would keep the door open for that is he has been with (former 49ers quarterback coach) Rich Scangarello, so it wouldn’t be like he’d be entering a completely new system, and they’d be starting from scratch. If that were the case I’d say there’s no way they’d do something like that, because it is a pretty complex system for wide receivers to try to step in and start from scratch. So I think he’d have a pretty good understanding of what the 49ers want to do offensivly.
“I just don’t know at this point if they feel he’s going to bring so much more, be such an upgrade over Deebo Samuel, a guy who they feel is going to get better and better and better, and a guy like Dante Pettis, who is showing stuff on the practice field, and is blocking better than he has.”
For the right price, however, Maiocco isn’t ruling it out.
“I’m sure they’ve done the homework. I’m sure they know what the cost would be. For a half-year rental they’re not going to be giving up much. It would have to be one of those things where they would swap picks in the fourth round or fifth round and that might do it for the Broncos to re-do some of their costs. I think he’s making $13 million, so the 49ers’ cost for that would be $7 million basically over the final part of the season.
“They’re very cognizant of spending money now that can be used later, for guys like (DeForest) Buckner and (George) Kittle. So that’d be $7 million that would not roll over to next year, that they wouldn’t have for cap purposes to sign those guys for long-term extensions.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Maiocco on Sanders, start from 4:00.