49ers' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2022 Training Camp
The San Francisco 49ers have been the most talked about NFL franchise on the trade market all offseason.
With two months left before the start of the regular season, Jimmy Garoppolo and Deebo Samuel are still on the 49ers roster.
Garoppolo's exit seems more likely than one for Samuel because he is projected to be a backup heading into the new campaign.
The 49ers were right to commit to Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, as their starting quarterback moving forward, but they have not traded away his predecessor yet and could create a distraction heading into training camp.
The Samuel situation appears to be more unpredictable than Garoppolo's because he could easily come back to the 49ers and replicate his breakout 2021 campaign.
San Francisco should expect decent hauls in return for both players, and that may be the reason for the hold up. Teams may not be willing to meet the current asking price, but that could change as the season gets closer and the 49ers need to make final decisions about their roster.
So what exactly will the 49ers do about Jimmy Garoppolo?
That may be the biggest question in the NFL as the league gets closer to the opening of training camps.
The 49ers missed a chance to make a trade during the offseason quarterback carousel partly because of Garoppolo's shoulder surgery.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler outlined the steps ahead for Garoppolo and his healing shoulder.
"The expectation has been Garoppolo, who had the procedure on his right shoulder in March, will throw over the next few weeks after he's been cleared, and that plan remains in place.
"Once this happens and Garoppolo can pass a physical, the trade market for him could heat up," Fowler reported.
There is always a need for quarterbacks across the league, but the list of potential trade partners in July and August is smaller than it was in March.
Seattle has a gigantic question mark at the position with Russell Wilson gone and Drew Lock on the depth chart, but the 49ers may not be willing to trade within the NFC West.
The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers both drafted quarterbacks they may be willing to run with instead of committing to Garoppolo's salary.
The Cleveland Browns could always be floated into the mix as well if Deshaun Watson is suspended for a large stretch of the season under the league's personal conduct policy. Twenty-four women filed civil lawsuits against Watson accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct, with 20 of those cases now settled. Watson has denied all the allegations against him, but he attended a league hearing last week and could find out what punishment he will face soon.
Even if Cleveland were interested in Garoppolo, however, their cap situation could be difficult to navigate with Baker Mayfield still on the roster.
There is no clear-cut trade favorite for Garoppolo, but if he proves that his shoulder is 100 percent, more potential partners could emerge as the season gets closer and teams figure out what they really have under center.
The Deebo Samuel situation presents a fascinating conundrum for the 49ers.
They could give Samuel a massive contract to keep him in the Bay Area for years to come, and he would be Trey Lance's No. 1 target for quite some time. But they could also trade the star wide receiver for a massive haul of picks and potentially players.
That would leave a large hole in the team's wide receiver depth chart with limited time to fill it before the season begins, though. At this point, the 49ers would be wise to keep Samuel to help Lance's development in his first year as a starter.
Samuel may be unhappy with his contract status or his usage, but the 49ers need to do what is best for the franchise's well being. A wide receiver room with Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings can help Lance progress in his first starting season.
It would make more sense for the 49ers to keep Samuel and trade Garoppolo, but the trade market could always escalate during training camp.
Samuel will be one of the most watched players in training camp because of his situation. If the 49ers make a trade, it has to be the right package to make sure the franchise is in good shape going into the 2022 season and beyond.
San Francisco needs to maintain a large stable of running backs to suit its offensive style.
Trey Sermon was supposed to add depth to the position in 2021, but he played in just nine games and managed 167 yards in the time he got on the field.
It may seem too early for the 49ers to give up on Sermon, but there may not be a spot for him on the gameday roster with the abundance of running backs on the depth chart.
Elijah Mitchell enters training camp as the No. 1 running back. Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty are holdovers from last season, and the 49ers drafted Tyrion Davis-Price.
Those four running backs could give the 49ers a good stable of players to use as Lance works his way into more comfortability in the pocket.
If Sermon enters the regular season as the No. 3 or No. 4 running back, it may be worth trying to grab a draft pick in return for him so he can find playing time elsewhere.
Of course, a player's situation can change with one injury to someone else at his position, but right now Sermon could be hard-pressed to find snaps in his sophomore season.