The San Francisco 49ers made a significant move this week, trading for Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. But as it was reported leading to the deal, Sanders wasn't the only wide receiver the 49ers were pursuing.

While it was reported that San Francisco was in on trying to acquire former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, Shanahan confirmed it this week while speaking with Charlotte-area reporters via a conference call on Wednesday. The 49ers ended up with Sanders after Sanu went to the New England Patriots.

"Yeah, we definitely looked into [Sanu]," Shanahan responded when asked if San Francisco was trying to trade for him. "I mean, I have a big history with Mohamed, just being there two years with him. So yeah, we were definitely looking into him, also. But I know the Patriots got a real good guy with him, and it was a good move for them."

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR on Friday morning and also confirmed that the 49ers were very interested in Sanu but added that the tough decision between the former Falcon and Sanders was made easier by one thing San Francisco didn't have in its possession.

"In the end, we did kind of zero in on Sanu and Emmanuel," Lynch said on the "Murph and Mac" show. "We had both of them working, talking with the Falcons, and talking with John Elway and everybody over at the Broncos, and letting them know of our interest. Like it always happens, things heat up."

The 49ers' decision-makers had Sanders and Sanu evenly ranked as far as fits in Shanahan's offense. Seven months ago, San Francisco sent a second-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for defensive end Dee Ford and improved the team's lackluster pass rush. Sanu went to the Patriots in exchange for a second-round pick.

"I would say we had [Sanu and Sanders] very evenly ranked," Lynch continued, "and so much goes into who you're going to end up with. The decision was made for itself with Sanu when the Patriots — we didn't know who the team was — someone went to a [second-round pick as compensation]. Well, we didn't have a two, so that wasn't a possibility anymore.

"But it wasn't like we were bummed out because I think Kyle 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. We had a great feeling, probably bolstered by when a guy is a little bit older coming off an injury, but we had the opportunity to go to Denver for a week earlier this year, and everybody was amazed at just how well he was coming off the Achilles injury."

Sanders suffered his Achilles injury during an early-December practice with the Broncos last year. His season ended during the week leading up to San Francisco's Week 14 matchup against Denver.

Lynch and Shanahan ended up getting a good look at Sanders during the preseason. The 49ers and Broncos held joint practices in Denver leading to their August 19 exhibition game, and while Sanders was being eased back into on-field work, his strong recovery was already evident.

"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."

Sanders showed the 49ers enough during the regular season to confirm that he had fully recovered from his injury.

Shanahan said this week: "What's been the best is being able to watch him in all his games this year and just being able to compare him to before his injury. I thought he looked healthier in these games this year than he did last year before his Achilles because I know he was playing last year real banged up before that Achilles happened. What he's done in these five or six games, really liked how he looked on tape, and that's why I was really glad we were able to get him."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.