49ers-Broncos joint practices were an opportunity to scout for potential trades

Aug 18, 2019 at 10:30 AM--

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch was asked on Saturday if any Denver Broncos stood out to him during the two teams' joint practices.

"That 58 was alright," Lynch said with a smile. "He's quite a player. They've got a nice roster, so I think there's reason to be excited."

No. 58, by the way, is seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller. Yeah, he is quite a player. Odds are he won't be available via a trade. Other players might be, though, on both squads. The 49ers know that. The Broncos know that. There is no doubt that some conversations might have already taken place.

Usually, those types of talks involve one general manager asking another where he feels his team is pretty deep — maybe too deep — and then presenting the same kind of information about your squad. Maybe, just maybe, the two general managers can help each other out.

It's easier when your two teams play in different conferences. There is less of a chance of a trade impacting any head-to-head matchups.

The 49ers and Broncos have traded twice in the past two years. San Francisco sent a fourth-round pick to Denver in return for running back Kapri Bibbs and a fifth-round selection in 2017. That fifth-rounder, by the way, ended up being used to acquire wide receiver Trent Taylor.

The 49ers sent linebacker Dekoda Watson to the Broncos this year in exchange for a fifth-round selection. That pick ended up being linebacker Dre Greenlaw.

Could another trade be on the horizon? Broncos general manager John Elway was asked on Saturday how much he was scouting the 49ers roster during the joint practices.

"A lot. We look at a lot," Elway responded. "That's one of the advantages also of having a team in here, is looking at their guys and maybe their bubble guys, and guys maybe that they have that may not make their team that could help us. To see them up close and personal like this is a big help."

Lynch and Elway enjoy a great friendship and mutually respect one another. The latter can be said about 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Broncos coach Vic Fangio. Shanahan indicated that the two might have already had some discussions regarding their rosters as it relates to potentially helping one another out.

"Yeah, you always do that with people that you're close to and that you trust and respect," Shanahan told reporters on Saturday. "Vic is as high in that in any category as any guy in this league. We talk a lot, but you've also got to be careful. He's also very smart.

"We want to help each other out, but you also always want to win, too. You've got to think of your team first, but anytime you have someone that you can be close to like that and is in a different conference, it does give you an advantage to communicate a little bit more."

And maybe scouting each other's rosters won't result in a trade. As Elway mentioned, that doesn't mean former 49ers or former Broncos can't land on the other team anyway. Maybe you noticed someone who might be able to help your squad but just couldn't make the final cut on the other roster because that position is so deep.

The 49ers have already acknowledged that some tough decisions are coming regarding the wide receivers on the roster. There will be some good wideouts who don't make the 53-man roster. The Broncos are still trying to settle on a punt returner, and several 49ers receivers have experience there.

One position that probably won't be part of trade conversations between the 49ers and Broncos is quarterback. Lynch said on Saturday that San Francisco has not had any talks regarding potential trades for Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard.

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