The 49ers have been characterized as potential buyers for a receiver at the trade deadline. And, of course, to get the best possible deal(s) at the trade deadline, they have to act like they’re not potential buyers.
On Monday, coach Kyle Shanahan did his best to act like his team won’t be potential buyers when he specifically was asked by reporters about the amount of urgency to address the receiver position.
“I mean, I think less than we’ve had in the last couple of years because I do see that there are guys in our building that I do think the answers are here,” Shanahan said. “It was tough not having Deebo [Samuel] last week, [Marquise Goodwin] being a little banged up. We’ll get both of those two back. The guys we have, I still think can continue to get better. We’re still holding out hopes, too, for Jalen [Hurd] and Trent Taylor that they can heal up and hopefully return later this year. Always looking to improve, though, like you said, but I do like the guys we have here.”
Of course, it’s one thing to add a receiver and it’s another to quickly integrate that receiver into the offense. As tight end George Kittle told PFT by phone after Sunday’s 9-0 win at Washington, the offensive output has improved this year because players who have been in the system for multiple years are more comfortable with Shanahan’s “dense” playbook.
Even if the 49ers trade for someone like Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu, whom Shanahan coached in Atlanta, Sanu will have to re-learn the offense — and he’ll have to get comfortable with new teammates, new surroundings, new living arrangements, etc. It’s a lot to process on the fly, which makes it harder for a new player to make a major impact in the weeks after the trade deadline.
Still, as the 49ers try to build on their 6-0 start, they also need to think about the challenges to come in January. Even if adding someone like, say, Sanu wouldn’t pay immediate dividends, the goal would be to have an enhanced receiving corps when the postseason rolls around, because it definitely appears that the 49ers will be there.