49ers' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2021 Training Camp
The San Francisco 49ers made one of the biggest moves of the 2021 NFL offseason when they traded up for the No. 3 pick in the draft. That led to the selection of Trey Lance, who instantly became San Francisco's quarterback of the future.
While Lance is the future, the 2021 regular season is on the near horizon. As the 49ers aim to get back into playoff form, another trade or two could also be coming. Filling holes and acquiring assets should always be considered, and trading away players could be part of the equation.
Last offseason, the 49ers traded star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner for a first-round selection in the 2020 draft. While the pre-draft window has passed, late-offseason trades have become common in the NFL—New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, for example, was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks in late July last year.
Here we'll examine three trade candidates the 49ers could consider moving over the next couple of months.
WR Jalen Hurd
2019 third-round pick Jalen Hurd has spent both of his pro campaigns on injured reserve. The Baylor product has loads of upside, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is eager to see what he can do.
"I'm dying to get him out there right now. I really am," Garoppolo told 95.7 The Game (h/t the team's official website). "He's such a physical freak—just the things he could do in his route running with the ball in his hand. It's very impressive."
After two years of not having Hurd, however, San Francisco may be more inclined to use the preseason to showcase him for trade purposes. Between George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Mohamed Sanu and Richie James, the 49ers already have plenty of proven pass-catching talent on the roster.
Having depth is great, but if San Francisco can get something for a player who hasn't contributed the past two seasons, it may be tempted to pull the trigger on a deal.
RB Wayne Gallman II
Free-agent addition Wayne Gallman could be a big contributor in San Francisco's backfield this season, especially with Jeff Wilson Jr. expected to miss significant time with a torn meniscus, according to NFL Media's Mike Garafolo.
However, Gallman could also be pushed out of the game plan if rookie running backs Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell develop quickly.
Sermon and Mitchell were drafted in the third and sixth rounds, respectively. With starting back Raheem Mostert set to return, the 49ers could decide that Gallman is a luxury they don't need. Should this become the case, Gallman could become a top trade target for running back-needy teams.
Gallman rushed for 1,444 yards and nine touchdowns in four seasons with the New York Giants. Last season, he averaged 4.6 yards per carry and totaled 796 scrimmage yards with six touchdowns while starting in place of the injured Saquon Barkley.
Again, a lot will hinge on the development of Sermon and Mitchell. Gallman is a fine piece of veteran insurance, but if the rookies shine during camp, Gallman may have more value to San Francisco as a trade chip.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
There's a major caveat with this choice. While Lance is the future, the 49ers are expected to stick with Garoppolo for the 2021 season. Many, including ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, believe that Garoppolo will be a quality starter too.
"I think he'll play some of his best football," Riddick said on First Take (h/t David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone).
Yet if Lance outperforms Garoppolo early in camp, the veteran quarterback could be on the move sooner rather than later. The 49ers have depth at quarterback in Josh Rosen and Nate Sudfeld. They could also save more than $23 million in cap space by moving Garoppolo, per Spotrac.
Showcasing that Garoppolo is healthy during the preseason could be enough to generate interest among quarterback-needy teams. Again, Lance would have to leave the 49ers with no doubts about his ability to start right away, but this would not be the first time we have seen a rookie outshine a serviceable veteran in camp. If that happens and Garoppolo becomes expendable, he would be the biggest trade chip on San Francisco's roster.