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With the 49ers season all but over after five weeks and the trade deadline quickly approaching, many fans have been calling for a house cleaning to create more cap space and generate more draft picks for 2019. This article will explore some players who could be on the trade block. For the readers’ benefit, this writer refuses to believe Joe Staley or Richard Sherman will be traded, as the holes they leave on the roster are not able to be filled. Both the offensive line and defensive backfield are too thin with those two players on the roster; trading any of them would create gaps so big opposing teams could drive Mack trucks through them.
Here are four trade candidates:
Pierre Garcon, WR
Although signed to be the 49ers’ primary wide receiver, which he has proven to be for only eight games last season, in which he totaled 40 catches and 500 yards before suffering a neck injury against the Philadelphia Eagles. He has proven that when he has a solid starting quarterback and some talent around him he can catch a ball (sideline toe taps anyone?). He has all but disappeared this year (16 receptions from 188 yards and zero touchdowns – on 33 targets). His biggest highlight so far was blocking a cornerback for 40 yards on a Matt Breida’s long TD run against the Lions. He has three years left on his contract after this season and is owed $6 million, $8.9 million, and $9.6 million for those three years respectively. a n When he signed the contract, everyone knew it was really a two-year deal with an out for the 49ers after this season with minimal dead cap space ($7.2 million). With all of the young talent behind him, there is not much reason for Kyle Shanahan to keep him on this roster at this point in the season. He could really help a team in need for a very solid possession receiver. If it wasn’t for the Josh Gordon trade, the Patriots could be a target. Garcon probably isn’t on the roster come next season regardless, so the 49ers might as well see if they can get a late-round conditional pick for him.
Jimmie Ward, DB
The 49ers’ high priced Swiss Army knife who can’t seem to stay on the field, Ward would be an excellent player to trade if John Lynch could find anyone interested in him. That could prove to be difficult considering his lack of performance on the field, and his lack of being able to stay healthy. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, so it could be better to wait and see what he would bring in the compensation-pick formula. He doesn’t even have a PBU at this point in the season. Another reason for his possible trade is the fact that Shanahan has two capable rookies in the wings, Tarvarius Moore and D.J. Reed. This isn’t an individual that the 49ers will probably find a trade partner for, but one could only hope for some type of return from the first round draft pick.
Solomon Thomas DL
When bringing up Thomas, many people say to pump the brakes as it’s too early to know if he’s a bust or not, but that is the exact reason he could be traded. Shanahan and Robert Saleh obviously see Arik Armstead above Thomas when you look at snap counts and usage. Lynch already picked up Armstead’s fifth-year option, which means fans should expect more of the same for next year. Thomas hasn’t proven that he has enough ability to be effective from the edge, and he sure can’t cover in the zone blitzing scheme. It’s better to cut ties and try to get a third- or fourth-rounder in return for him. With the Joe Williams cut, fans have already been shown that Shanahan and Lynch are willing to admit mistakes made, and Thomas at number three overall appears to be a mistake made. His contract is incredibly tradable, with only $3 million and $4.3 million owed for the next two years. The dream trade would be for Dante Fowler Jr, with some type of pick(s) exchanged as well.
Earl Mitchell, NT
Another defensive lineman with two years left on his contract, Mitchell is the only players on this list who is performing on the field. His addition is just simply that there are young guys behind him, most notably D.J. Jones. Mitchell is in his second year with the 49ers with $3.7 million owed over each of the last two years of his contract. Though not an All-Pro, Mitchell does a great job taking up space in the run defense. He has a lot of talent and tread left on his tires and could bring back a mid-round draft pick from the right team.
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