3 49ers Trade Targets After Week 2

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2021

3 49ers Trade Targets After Week 2

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Just two weeks into the season, and it's easy to see that the San Francisco 49ers are going to be locked in a battle for playoff positioning in the toughest division in the NFL

    Kyle Shanahan's team got to 2-0 on Sunday with a 17-11 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. That's the good news. The bad news is that three teams in the division also go into Week 3 with 2-0 records. 

    The division's lone loss came in overtime where the Seattle Seahawks just couldn't stop Derrick Henry from setting up a game-winning field goal. 

    So, the 49ers find themselves off to a great start, but there is an arms race brewing in which a midseason trade could make all the difference. San Francisco still has some weaknesses on the roster that could be strengthened by adding another body via trade. 

    If that's the route it chooses to go, these three names are worth making a phone call about. 

CB Greedy Williams

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    An already-thin group at cornerback was dealt a further blow in Week 1, when the oft-injured Jason Verrett added another major injury to his history with a torn ACL that will cost him the rest of the season. 

    That triggered the signing of Josh Norman, but that might not be enough to cover the loss. 

    Instead, the Niners might look to add a younger option who could develop as the season goes along while offering solid play right now. 

    Finding that kind of player is tough this time of year, but Greedy Williams could fit the bill. He was a second-round pick in 2019 and started 12 games for the Cleveland Browns in his rookie campaign, allowing a passer rating of 84.9 when targeted. 

    A shoulder injury cost him his second season, but he has a clean bill of health now and has been active for both of Cleveland's games. 

    Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, that hasn't meant he's seen the field a whole lot. He was beaten out by rookie Greg Newsome II for the starting role across from Denzel Ward.

    Williams only played eight snaps for the Browns in Week 2 and those were on special teams. Given the value of competent corners, the Browns may be willing to part with him for the right draft pick, and he could compete to start right away in San Francisco. 

CB Stephon Gilmore

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    This one is admittedly a long shot. The trade rumors have been swirling around New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore since last season, as the team still hasn't come to terms on a long-term extension. 

    That remains the case as the 31-year-old has started the season on the physically unable to perform list, guaranteeing he will be out until Week 7. 

    The primary hurdle to this deal happening is the financial side of things. Gilmore is owed $7.5 million this season and is seeking an extension that will pay him much more than that. The Niners have just $4.8 million in cap space right now and are projected to take $13.9 million into next season, per Over the Cap

    Bringing in the two-time All-Star and paying him an extension would take some serious cap gymnastics. Then there's the issue of draft compensation. The Niners already traded away two future first-round picks and a third-rounder to get Trey Lance at No. 3 in the draft. 

    However, the Niners are in win-now mode and have a serious need for the skills that Gilmore brings to the table. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and held opposing passers to a rating of 75.7 when they threw his way in 2020. 

    Having a corner like that in a division that features DeAndre Hopkins, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf might be worth the hefty price tag. 

WR James Washington

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    It's pretty clear that Kyle Shanahan has not liked what he has seen from wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, and it's left a bit of a hole as to who is the No. 2 wide receiver on this team. 

    Through two weeks, the second-year player has seen just two targets. Deebo Samuel has been the clear-cut No. 1 option with 20 targets. Trent Sherfield is No. 2 with six targets, and he has only caught three of them. 

    Going into Week 2, Shanahan said Aiyuk's diminished role was to do with his hamstring injury, but the 23-year-old was again a non-factor against the Eagles. 

    Jimmy Garoppolo has targeted George Kittle and the running backs in the absence of a true No. 2 receiver. But it might be worth bringing in some more competition to play on the outside. 

    The Steelers' James Washington would make sense as a target. He is stuck behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool in the pecking order in Pittsburgh. While the team has publicly denied it, there were reports in the preseason that Washington requested a trade. 

    The 25-year-old has proved he can produce in the NFL. He had 44 catches for 735 yards in his second season with the Steelers and an average depth of target of 15.8 yards. That would lead the Niners right now by eight yards. 

    Given his nearly non-existent role in Pittsburgh, the price on Washington has to be relatively cheap.