All is well with the the San Francisco 49ers after a 31-3 blowout victory over the visiting Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football.
The 49ers are off to a 4-0 start, just as we all suspected they would, right?
The 49ers gashed the Browns to the tune of 275 yards on 40 carries. That’s almost seven yards a pop. Pure domination. The run game wasn’t the only place the 49ers dominated. Defensively they gave up just 78 passing yards, and a grand total of three points.
As much as the 49ers dismantled the Browns you’d think they’d get more national love. Instead, all the talk shows spoke about was how poorly Baker Mayfield played, and not how good the 49ers looked.
What do the 49ers have to do to be recognized as a Super Bowl contender?
Furthermore, what do they have to do to be legit contenders? As well as things are going there’s still one glaring weakness: the receivers.
Obviously that doesn’t include tight end George Kittle, who leads the team with 23 receptions for 235 yards and one touchdown. We’re talking about the other guys: Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne and Richie James. Through the first four games, they have a combined 36 catches on 55 targets for 481 yards and four touchdowns.
To put that into perspective, Chargers star wideout Keenan Allen, alone, has put up similar production to the entire 49ers receiver group (38 catches on 53 targets for 471 yards and three touchdowns).
Now, that’s not to say the 49ers don’t have a potential go-to-guy on the team. Dante Pettis has been up and down since being drafted. And rookie Deebo Samuel is going through normal rookie growing pains, but has definitely flashed big time ability. Samuel’s biggest output so far was Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals where he caught five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
The 49ers haven’t had to lean on the passing game to win so far, but when that time comes in 2019, who is the guy?
The answer is, he’s not currently on the roster.
There have been talks about several guys being available via trade.
Stefon Diggs name has been in the media the past couple of weeks. He’s unhappy with his role with the Minnesota Vikings going more to a run-heavy team with the emergence of Dalvin Cook. It’s unlikely he’d be much happier in San Francisco. The last thing you want is an Odell Beckham Cleveland Browns situation where you are forcefully involving a receiver into your offense. We see how that has worked out for them. On top of Diggs wanting a bigger role, you’d have to take on his contract where his cap hit is at minimum $14 million over the next three seasons, and $12 million the fourth year.
No thank you.
There are two guys who make a ton of sense for the 49ers: Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos and AJ Green of the Cincinnati Bengals.
I really wrote all of this to say,“TRADE FOR AJ GREEN, JOHN LYNCH!” And here’s why.
It makes sense for both teams. From the Bengals’ standpoint, they are young – and if they are smart, they know they’re a rebuilding team.
The Bengals have started the season 0-5. They have a new coaching staff led by first-year head coach Zac Taylor. The Bengals aren’t in contention for anything this season and to this point haven’t played with Green, who sustained a right ankle injury the first day of training camp. Young receivers Tyler Boyd and John Ross have got off to a very impressive start. Boyd leads the team with 37 catches for 406 yards.
What’s the point of getting Green back in a pointless season?
Why not get compensation for the veteran who would likely walk in free agency?
From the 49ers' viewpoint, if healthy, Green provides them that much-needed receiver on that outside that will help them gear up for a deep postseason run. He adds size, speed, and that elite ability the 49ers just don’t have at the moment.
Developing receivers oftentimes takes a couple of years – but allowing the 49ers’ young receivers to play off of Green would help tremendously. San Francisco’s young receivers aren’t the only ones who could benefit from adding the veteran receiver; franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would have another safety blanket outside of Kittle.
With Green being in his contract year you can look at this as a one-year* (half a season) rental, similar to the Philadelphia Eagles acquiring Golden Tate at the trade deadline of the 2018 season for a third round pick. I can’t imagine Green costing too much in a trade considering his injury history and it’s also his contract season. And hey, if Green doesn’t resign with the 49ers after the season, a mid-round compensatory pick can be awarded to the 49ers.
The 49ers are in a prime position to capitalize on a great start. Outside of the receiver group, they have no weakness. Now is the time to swing for the fences with a low-risk high-reward stud on the outside.
Make the call, John Lynch.
Media courtesy Getty Images, USA Today Sports Images
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