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Jerome Miron/Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


Would the 49ers trade for Trent Williams or Jalen Ramsey? Don’t get your hopes up

Sep 17, 2019 at 4:28 PM0


San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked on Monday about the team's philosophy on improving the roster. The question was specific to the left tackle position and dealing with the loss of veteran Joe Staley (leg) for six to eight weeks and if the team would be aggressive in pursuing a temporary replacement.

Here is how Shanahan responded:

"Yeah, always. We would love to if there were options. You look at anything that's possible. I don't think there's a ton of great options out there that are possible."

While some took this to mean that the 49ers might aggressively pursue a replacement starting left tackle and ensure that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo stays upright and injury-free, I interpreted it differently. I saw it as the 49ers being open to pursuing options, assuming the cost isn't too high and the move made long-term sense.

The key to Shanahan's statement sits in the last sentence. There aren't options that make sense for the 49ers. Hoping that the San Francisco brain trust pursues someone like Trent Williams from the Washington Redskins is probably wishful and misguided thinking.

Giving up valuable draft capital for Williams might make sense if the 49ers thought Staley was done for the year, especially given the team's 2-0 start to the season. This year's squad, after all, might be capable of making a playoff push. Why not solidify the position before then.

The 49ers' situation is different, though. Staley is expected back and mortgaging the future for a temporary replacement doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially since money — and possibly other factors — are involved in the stare-down between Williams and Washington.

Things might have been different had Staley still been on the final year of his contract. He isn't after signing an extension in June that keeps the tackle under contract through the 2021 season.

Of course, if the asking price isn't a first-round pick, you never know. Then again, what happens when Staley returns?

Shanahan sounded confident moving forward with rookie tackle Justin Skule as Staley's replacement during his extended absence. The coach noted that the team's decision-makers are always evaluating the roster and Skule, a sixth-round pick, made the cut because he was good enough to do so.

"When you go to your final roster of 53, at every single position, whoever's on it, you're looking at all options out there to see (if there is anyone better)," Shanahan said on Monday. "[…] We kept Skule because we thought he was the best available. That doesn't change now. I think Skule's going to get a lot better throughout his career, but we kept him on this team because he can help us win now."

The 49ers are more likely to make a move like re-signing Sam Young, who initially joined the team after Shon Coleman's season-ending injury. Young visited Santa Clara today.

If Shanahan feels that way about the all-important left tackle position, an anchor along the offensive line, he likely feels the same way about cornerback. All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey requested a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars this week following an in-game argument with coach Doug Marrone and, like clockwork, fans started tweeting at 49ers general manager John Lynch to make a move.

Two teams have reportedly offered the Jaguars a first-round pick for Ramsey with one of the teams, an NFC squad, offering a 2020 first-rounder and a fifth-rounder in 2021. It's difficult to fathom the 49ers being that team. That would be a lot to give up when your roster already includes Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. There is no doubt that Ramsey would upgrade the position, and maybe if the cost were lower, San Francisco might be willing to give it more consideration.

Witherspoon has rebounded well from his up and down 2018 campaign and been impressive during the 49ers' first two victories. Sherman is healthier than he has been in years, and that has been reflected on the field.

Again, do you mortgage the future when it seems like you are seemingly set, at least for now, at the position? My answer might have been different a few weeks ago, before Witherspoon's resurgence.

This year's trade deadline is October 29, so a lot could happen before then. For now, it sounds like the 49ers are comfortable moving forward with what they have and aren't willing to make an impulsive move that could cost the team down the road. After all, if San Francisco's success continues, Shanahan and Lynch will have proven that their patient and methodical approach to this roster rebuild was correct.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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