49ers Rumors: Latest Free-Agent Buzz Surrounding Emmanuel Sanders, More

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2020

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (17) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Baltimore, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

While the San Francisco 49ers probably don't have a third dramatic move in the cards, they've been consistently involved since the NFL kicked off the 2020 league year.

John Lynch and Co. turned some heads Monday, when they agreed to an $85 million contract with Arik Armstead and traded DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick. However, the Niners have remained active in the free-agent market.

At this point, the highest-profile target is likely Emmanuel Sanders.

San Francisco traded for him during the 2019 season, shipping a third- and fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos. Sanders' contract expired after the year, though, and the Niners are deliberating how much they're willing to pay.

In the meantime, the 33-year-old can communicate with any interested team in free agency. One of note, according to NFL Network's Jane Slater, is the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas re-signed Amari Cooper to a massive deal on Tuesday, but slot receiver Randall Cobb headed to the Houston Texans. Sanderswho's from Texas and attended SMUwould be a logical replacement and is interested in the Cowboys, per Slater.

Jane Slater @SlaterNFL

The #Cowboys have expressed an interest in 2x Pro Bowler and former SMU wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders per a source informed. Sanders, last with the 49ers, trains in Dallas in the offseason and is equally interested in the #Cowboys I’m told.

Earlier in the week, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reported the 49ers are "closely monitoring" the situation and waiting to see Sanders' market develop. Absent any further updates, it's fair to suggest that remains the case.

Though he's a quality player, he isn't necessarily an absolute priority for the Niners. They could target a top-rated wideout with the Colts' pick, and a rookie would be cheaper.

Adding Indianapolis' first-round selection also means San Francisco has a path to adding draft capital. As ESPN's Adam Schefter noted, the 49ers could trade back from No. 31.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

After today’s trade for the No. 13 overall pick, the 49ers now have two first-round picks. Without second-, third-, and fourth-round picks, the 49ers are likely to shop one of their first-round picks to pick up more draft compensation.

Along with the picks shipped to Denver in the Sanders trade, they dealt a second-rounder to the Kansas City Chiefs in last year's Dee Ford acquisition.

San Francisco has stayed busy elsewhere, too.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Niners re-signed center Ben Garland and defensive end Ronald Blair to one-year deals.

Including the playoffs, Garland started the final six games of the 2019 campaign. He entered the lineup after a season-ending injury to Weston Richburg. Blair appeared in nine games, but a torn right ACL ended his fourth year in San Francisco.

The Niners also restructured the contract of running back Jerick McKinnon, per SiriusXM NFL Radio's Adam Caplan. The 27-year-old is now signed through the 2020 season instead of 2021 on a veteran's minimum per-game roster bonuses.

McKinnon last played in 2017, missing the last two years because of a torn right ACL and a setback in that recovery.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.