Not long ago, there would have been plenty of reasons to assume the San Francisco 49ers would have been actively involved in the trade market leading up to the October 29 deadline.
Four weeks into the 2013 season, the 49ers found themselves at 2-2. The team had a slew of injuries. They had relatively little production from their wide receivers. There was also expendable depth at certain positions.
After Week 8, a lot has changed. San Francisco is getting healthier by the day. Certain players have risen to the occasion, and the team is rolling after pulling off five wins in a row.
With all that in mind, how active should the 49ers be at the trade deadline?
Now, especially considering the team is receiving reinforcements, the trade scenarios have been extensively shifted.
Let us examine some possible trades the 49ers may make. It is possible the team is active before the deadline, although it is just as easy to assume San Francisco is inactive as well.
Wide Receiver Josh Gordon
It is impossible to look at the 2013 49ers without mentioning the lack of wide receiver depth.
This is an old story that continues to resurface. San Francisco has Anquan Boldin and nobody else.
One trade scenario was proposed by Adam Schefter of ESPN who suggested that the 49ers would acquire Gordon in exchange for wideout Jon Baldwin and a second-round pick.
Does this deal make sense? Yes. Is it likely to happen? Probably not.
On the surface, Gordon would be an upgrade over any of the 49ers' receivers with the exception of Boldin and Michael Crabtree. Yet Gordon is one substance-abuse violation away from a year-long suspension. Does San Francisco want to deal with that potential issue?
Most likely not.
Per David Fucillo of Niners Nation, the 49ers are better off holding onto any potential draft pick that would be spent to bring in a commodity like Gordon. While San Francisco has more picks than likely roster spots available next year, the team could use that excess to trade up in next year's draft—much like they did with safety Eric Reid in the 2013 draft.
Another reason why the deal does not make sense is the fact that Crabtree and Mario Manningham are expected back in the lineup within the next few weeks per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. That gives the team three solid options at the position.
Their returns also force competition at the No. 4 receiver slot. In that scenario, Baldwin, Marlon Moore and Kyle Williams will be fighting to keep their jobs. Rookie Quinton Patton should also factor into the mix, although he could end the season on injured reserve, per Maiocco.
On that note, there will be a logjam at the position very shortly. Adding another receiver at the expense of a high pick is not necessary.
49ers general manager Trent Baalke noted the team was unlikely to add a receiver through a trade via Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle.
As such, do not expect the 49ers to make a move for Gordon, or any other receiver for that matter.
Running Back Anthony Dixon
Anthony Dixon is an interesting commodity for the 49ers. On one hand, it seems as if every year Dixon is on the roster bubble. Yet he always finds a way to make the team.
Dixon does not particularly excel at anything, but he is good at a number of things. He is solid at short gains, is a good blocker and can serve in various offensive formations.
He is also in the final year of a four-year, $1.91 million contract which makes him a cheap option for a team looking to add another back.
Like the wide receiver situation, San Francisco has an overstock of backs including Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James.
Moving Dixon makes plenty of sense for the 49ers in a number of ways.
First, San Francisco has to clear some roster spots for returning players like Manningham, Crabtree, linebacker Aldon Smith, cornerback Eric Wright and defensive lineman Tank Carradine. Dixon's possible departure would give them a little more flexibility to do this.
Secondly, the move would allow the 49ers to dress James, who has been inactive for the past few weeks.
Out of all the possible moves San Francisco could make, expect this one to be the most likely. The 49ers would probably not get very much in return for Dixon—probably nothing more than a seventh-round pick. But it would at least give them some wiggle room when some of their injured players begin to return.
Wide Receiver Jon Baldwin
When the 49ers traded their 2011 first-round draft choice A.J. Jenkins in exchange for Baldwin, they were hoping a change of scenery would benefit both players who had earned the "bust" moniker.
At the outset, it looked as if Baldwin would have a chance to resurrect his career in San Francisco. After eight weeks, nothing of the sort has happened.
There is still a possibility that Baldwin can emulate the success he enjoyed in college—the same success that convinced the Kansas City Chiefs to draft him with their 2011 first-round pick.
For the 49ers, trading Baldwin would mean they would finally close the door on their investment on Jenkins and their hopes on Baldwin. Baalke made a mistake on that draft pick, and the subsequent attempt to redress it did not pan out, either.
Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, San Francisco is willing to do this. Baldwin is being shopped, according to the report. There are a number of teams interested in adding another receiver, and it is possible the 49ers would get something in exchange for Baldwin's services and potential.
The only question is how much.
If San Francisco gets something, anything, for Baldwin, it would be a bonus. Drafting Jenkins has already been overly evaluated as a mistake. The Baldwin experiment did not pan out.
Moving Baldwin becomes a likely possibility. If no teams are interested, however, Baldwin could easily be shown the door.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha
Canfora also reported that the 49ers have shopped veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
Asomugha has become expendable thanks to the excellent play of fellow corner Tramaine Brock, who has taken over the No. 3 cornerback position.
The 32-year-old Asomugha has been inactive for the 49ers' last five games, and it appears as if the veteran has been deemed expendable.
When he was signed to a one-year, $1.775 million contract earlier this season, San Francisco was taking a low-risk shot on the former star-turned-bust. With Asomugha making zero in guaranteed money, the risk was inconsequential.
Then the 49ers added Eric Wright, who has been inactive for the first eight weeks. With Wright expected to return, Asomugha's fate with the team becomes even dimmer.
He will not be able to overtake Brock, barring an injury, and his position on the depth chart will be thwarted by Wright's eventual return.
Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee describes this further and indicates that San Francisco is likely to part ways with Asomugha after Week 9. He also states that the New Orleans Saints are most interested in Asomugha's services.
With that in consideration, could we see a trade between the 49ers and Saints?
That is doubtful, despite San Francisco's efforts to get something in exchange for the veteran corner.
There will likely be little interest surrounding Asomugha if he is cut. Why would New Orleans want to waste a draft pick on a player they could probably sign immediately after being waived?
In all likelihood, Asomugha gets cut before the November 4 deadline. Perhaps New Orleans picks him up.
Perhaps they do not.
With any trade deadline, there can be plenty of speculation and rumor that drives each team and its fanbase. The 2013 49ers are no different.
There have already been a flurry of rumors surrounding what San Francisco could do before the deadline. In all reality, however, the 49ers will probably be quiet.
A move or two could happen, but nothing like the blockbuster deals that some analysts have suggested. San Francisco is already one of the best teams in the league, and they are getting stronger week-by-week considering the return of injured players.
As far as what trades the team could make, the phrase "don't mess with prosperity" comes to mind.
Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.
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