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Trading for Josh Gordon would help alleviate the 49ers' need for a wide receiver in the 2014 draft.
I am going out on a limb with this one.
In fact, this suggestion could be on the very end of a thin branch. But if we are evaluating realistic trades, this one is not entirely impossible.
Here is the transaction—the 49ers ship running back LaMichael James, plus a second- and third-round pick in exchange for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.
I already noted James' rumors about being on the trading block. San Francisco has a surplus of backs and James could easily be the odd man out.
What is also well documented is San Francisco's need for a dynamic play-making receiver that can stretch the field and have a sizable impact for years to come. While the most likely scenario is for the 49ers to address this need via the draft, one can point out that rookie receivers can easily flop at the NFL level in spite of their collegiate accolades.
San Francisco does not want A.J. Jenkins version 2.0.
Here is where executing a trade for Gordon starts to make a little sense.
Gordon has already proven himself as a worthy No. 1 receiver at the NFL level. In 2013, he was named a First-Team All-Pro after hauling in 87 receptions for a league-leading 1,646 yards plus nine touchdowns.
This potential deal is not new news for the 49ers. There existed a number of rumors and speculation that Gordon could have been dealt at last season's trading deadline—described in further detail by Niners Nation writer Wes Hanson on October 26 last year.
Even James was involved in speculation at the time per James Brady of Niners Nation.
As we now know, the transaction never happened and Gordon remained in Cleveland. Yet why not make a move this offseason?
With the current state of the Browns franchise in flux, moving Gordon could be a plausible move by Cleveland's front office. The only question is what the team would be asking in return.
Gordon is in the midst of a four-year, $5.342 million deal that will expire after the 2015 season. With an average yearly salary of $1.335 million, Gordon would be a cheap commodity for the 49ers for the next couple of seasons and would help alleviate concerns regarding contract talks with current No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree.
San Francisco would likely have to give up some key picks to make the deal happen, so the question remains—what would the Browns want in exchange?
Last September, Peter Smith of Fansided.com speculated that Gordon would likely command a mid-round pick if moved, taking into consideration not only his level of production, but also his off-the-field issues.
After such a stellar season, we can expect that asking price to go up considerably.
James would help sweeten the deal given the Browns possibility of utilizing a young running back, following the production given them by veteran back Willis McGahee in 2013.
The 49ers have two picks in the second round, and another three in the third per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
This surplus gives San Francisco some flexibility in making this transaction and it would help alleviate their wide receiver needs to a large extent.
Some, like @Tre9er of Niners Nation, feel that this deal is not all that removed from possibility given the current state of the Browns franchise.
Why not try and make it happen?
It may not come to fruition, but at least it is worth evaluating. It is realistic after all.
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated. Contractual information courtesy of Spotrac.com.
Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.