The San Francisco 49ers have reached their bye week. They sit at 1-6, so naturally the talk surrounding the team is looking ahead to the future — as in, the offseason and beyond.
Rumors are swirling about what the Niners will do to retool from this lost season.
First, it was tackle Joe Staley who was reportedly being shopped for a first-round pick, according to Pro Football Talk.
Chip Kelly put an apparent stop to that by telling reporters, “We need Joe here,” and, “that’s never come up. And I understand how it comes up because we’re 1-6 and Joe is a veteran player. … It’s kind of the nature of the sport we play.”
Then, it was wide receiver Torrey Smith who was supposedly on the move, most likely to the Philadelphia Eagles.
But Kelly’s replacement in Philly, Doug Pederson, said on Wednesday, “There’s no legitimacy” to reports suggesting the Eagles wanted Smith. The first-year coach reinforced that notion by saying, “I’m thrilled with the guys we have.”
NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo contended on Wednesday the 49ers aren’t holding a “fire sale.”
My only question is, why not?
There isn’t much to build on with this team, and while it’s unlikely (read: not happening) that Staley would net a first-round pick, he’d certainly get them something in return. And at 32 years old with a long-term deal that carries a significant amount of dead money if he was cut in the next two years, they might as well get as much as they can now.
Even if it’s just for Staley’s sake.
One of the few holdovers from the Jim Harbaugh-led glory days, Staley has maintained a positive attitude despite every reason to abandon it. But this league moves quickly and each day you spend with a team that doesn’t have a chance represents that a tragic waste of time.
Meanwhile, Smith has watched as Blaine Gabbert skips balls at his ankles and Colin Kaepernick soars it over his head all season.
My point is this: If there’s a market for these guys, now would be a good time to act, because even though there are nine games remaining on the schedule, the 49ers are really only competing with the Cleveland Browns for the No. 1 overall pick.
Midseason trades are extremely rare in the NFL, but they aren’t unheard of, and they can have value.
With less than a week remaining before the Nov. 1 deadline, the time to act is now.