The 49ers got their man. Well, one of them at least.
A few days after executing a trade to acquire Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, 49ers general manager John Lynch told KNBR that the team was simultaneously pursuing both Sanders and Mohamed Sanu, the latter of which was ultimately acquired from the Falcons by the Patriots.
“I would say we had [Sanu and Sanders] very evenly ranked, and so much goes into who you’re going to end up with,” Lynch said told Murph and Mac. “The decision was made for itself when the Patriots offered a [second-round pick] for Sanu…but it wasn’t like we were bummed out because I think [49ers coach Kyle Shanahan] has spoken many times about what a fan of Emmanuel he’s been. I’ve been the same way for a long time, and that was kind of unanimous throughout our building.”
The 49ers didn’t have a second-round pick to offer, as they already gave it away in the Dee Ford trade during the offseason. At 30 years old, Sanu is two years younger than Sanders, but hasn’t had as productive a career. Sanu has never eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season while playing second fiddle to A.J. Green and Julio Jones. Sanu played under Shanahan in 2016 during his time as the team’s offensive coordinator.
The primary concern with Sanders, a two-time Pro Bowler, is his health following an Achilles tear late last season. Lynch said watching Sanders first-hand during their joint practices in the preseason helped quell those fears
“We had a chance to talk to him at those practices and talk about his recovery, and how well he felt,” Lynch said. “He was kind of surprised himself. We just really feel it was an opportunity to improve our team and improve that position group. I think it will make everybody else at that position even better.”