Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



The San Francisco 49ers are going through a major roster overhaul this offseason, which opens up the door for trade possibilities before the start of the 2017 season. Here are three players the Niners should consider moving before Week 1.


San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has already turned over 50 percent of the roster from last February -- a testament to the first-year executive's efforts to change a 2-14 team back into a playoff contender.

It's going to take time, of course, but there are still some more moves that could be made this offseason.

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The 49ers' overhaul puts them in a unique position. A number of holdovers from the previous regime may not be quite seen as fit last under Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, prompting the possibility San Francisco might try to get something for incumbent players and load up on talent and draft picks in following seasons.

And it isn't as if the 49ers don't need the draft capital.

Part of this process would involve trades this offseason leading up to Week 1. It's important to note that trades are rare in the NFL. Teams covet draft picks, even late ones, and moving players this way almost always has to benefit each team.

Yet there are some players who Lynch should try moving during training camp and the preseason. He already tried trading tight end Vance McDonald prior to the 2017 NFL Draft. No deal happened, of course, but it reinforces the notion that an excess commodity could be on the move before the regular season.

Including McDonald, here are three players who the 49ers should explore trading.

Vance McDonald


McDonald has been known for two things since being drafted by San Francisco back in 2013: injuries and poor hands.

These traits have certainly hurt any trade value and were probably a part of the discussions preventing any pre-draft trade from taking place. Just consider this from Pro Football Focus' David Neumann:


That's bad. And tack on former general manager Trent Baalke's head-scratching extension, keeping McDonald under contract through 2021, and one could see why moving McDonald might be difficult.

But there's this to consider too, from PFF's Jeff Deeney:


So, maybe, McDonald is finally starting to trend in the right direction. And with the Baltimore Ravens losing tight end Dennis Pitta to a season-ending hip injury earlier this season, as well as having backup TE Darren Waller suspended for the entire year, Lynch could find a trade partner in Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome.

The Ravens would have to figure out how to make such a deal work financially but they do have enough cap space. And it wouldn't take much in terms of a late-round draft pick.

For San Francisco, such a move would ensure a talented-yet-raw tight end, like rookie undrafted free-agent Cole Hikutini, makes the 53-man roster this season.

Quinton Dial


The 49ers have spent a lot of effort reinforcing their defensive line over the past few seasons, and this year's NFL Draft haul included former Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas at No. 3 overall.

Thomas joins a crop including fellow first rounders Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, along with free-agent nose tackle pickup Earl Mitchell. Tack on depth D-line players like Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, Chris Jones and more, and it's easy to see how this group has become a bit crowded.

Defensive tackle Quinton Dial has been one of San Francisco's unsung heroes since being drafted in Round 5 back in 2013. His efforts resulted in a three-year extension back in 2016, which certainly didn't project both the front-office and personnel changes the team would go through when Lynch and Co. took over. And, as 49ers Webzone's Al Sacco pointed out, Dial is going to be making a lot of money to play as a backup:


Granted, the Niners aren't overly worried about cap savings right now. But this would free up a roster spot for a younger player fitting what defensive coordinator Robert Saleh wants to do. And it also might give Dial the chance to have a bigger role elsewhere.

One potential suitor could be the Denver Broncos -- a team FanSided's Brad Weiss suggested should be in the market for Dial's services.

Lynch's ties with Denver are already well known. It wouldn't be a tough move to make.

Carlos Hyde


You'll either completely agree or disagree with this proposal, and that's fine.

There seem to be two camps with regard to running back Carlos Hyde -- those who feel he won't be a fit in Shanahan's outside-zone offense and those who think Hyde will be.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Grant Cohn is among the doubters, and he wrote:

Hyde averaged only 2.5 yards per carry on runs designed to go outside the tackles in 2016. Sometimes, he ran those plays perfectly. But when he didn't find a hole, he hesitated in the backfield and got tackled behind the line of scrimmage instead of cutting upfield and powering forward to gain two or three yards. He lost yards 29 percent of the time and gained less than two yards 53 percent of the time on these outside runs.

Shanahan's offense typically calls for more outside runs, which plays into his blocking scheme. Yet there are those -- like Dylan DeSimone, formerly of CSN Authentic and Bleacher Report -- who disagree.

DeSimone argued Hyde's lack of production (he has yet to crest 1,000 yards on the ground) has had more to do with San Francisco's problematic offensive line, one which ranked dead last a year ago in run support, per Football Outsiders:

The 49ers' back is actually doing much, much more than meets the eye. Once he's handed the ball, he first has to spin, juke or break out of a tackle behind the line of scrimmage before making his read and charging up field. For his entire pro career to date, he's had to work around the offensive line, rather than jive with it.

The only positive is that it's resulted in him building a callous and reputation as a tough tackle.

Both arguments accomplish one thing, though: they increase Hyde's value on the open market.

Even Cohn acknowledges Hyde -- a free agent-to-be -- would be a much sought-after commodity by most NFL teams that run inside zones and power schemes. And with the understanding Hyde has been one of the toughest players to take down, the attention he receives in free agency next year should be very high.

Hyde will turn 27 years old this September. While the league's parity is something to consider, we should probably assume the 49ers won't be a playoff contender for another season or two at the soonest. That means Hyde will likely be 29 years old by that time, assuming the Niners re-sign or extend him, and will likely be watching his NFL career start to wind down.

In the draft, the Niners also added former Utah tailback Joe Williams, who has the luxury of being a hand-picked selection by Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner.

Both he and UDFA Matt Breida could be the guys to watch for San Francisco in coming years.

All of this prompts the question -- should the 49ers try to trade off Hyde now and get something of value in return, or is it in the team's best interest to see if he can finally lived up to the hype that made him a star at Ohio State?

Going with the former would be a surefire indication Lynch and Shanahan are trying to turn the page on what San Francisco did in previous seasons. And with the Niners not going anywhere deep into the playoffs this season, it's a move worth seriously considering.

Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise and 49ers Webzone and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @PeterPanacy on Twitter.