Here are two questions I’ve heard a lot in the past week: Are the 49ers going to trade for quarterback Donovan McNabb? Are the 49ers going to trade for receiver Brandon Marshall?
The answer to one question is “absolutely no.” The answer to the other question is “probably not, but it would not completely shock me.”
The one position the 49ers will not select in the first round of the draft is a wide receiver. The 49ers selected a No. 1 receiver in the first round of last year’s draft. Michael Crabtree is not going anywhere for a while.
It does not make sense for teams to invest a lot in wide receivers (just ask former Lions GM Matt Millen). Crabtree came to the 49ers after missing all the offseason program as he rehabilitated his foot; he missed all of training camp and five regular-season games in a contract stalemate; and he still caught 48 passes as a rookie.
And with Josh Morgan, the 49ers believe they have the makings of a nice tandem. Throw in Jason Hill and Brandon Jones, and this is not a position that cries out for an upgrade. It would not surprise me if they add a receiver later in the draft – or a bargain free agent – but, generally, good franchises do not invest large sums of money or high draft picks in more than one wideout.
As for McNabb . . .
There are too many pieces to this puzzle that have to fall into place, so it’s highly unlikely that an Eagles-to-49ers trade would ever take place. Where I hedge is that it seems to me that McNabb meets the criteria of a player the 49ers have stated they might pursue in the offseason.
Remember last year? The 49ers went after Kurt Warner because they viewed it as an opportunity to acquire one of the top quarterbacks in the game – while also weakening their major competition in the NFC West.
In December, 49ers president Jed York said he expected Alex Smith to return as the starter in 2010. But, he added, if an obvious improvement became available, the 49ers would investigate.
“If there’s a Hall of Fame quarterback on the market, we’d explore that possibility,”
Maybe, maybe not.
The reason it makes some sense is that the 49ers would be getting a proven commodity with McNabb. They’d also be getting a player who could set a great example for Nate Davis for several years.
But there are too many variables that add up to making this scenario unlikely:
–Are the Eagles even interested in trading McNabb?
–If McNabb were on the trade block, would the 49ers be interested?
–If the 49ers were willing to make a deal would they offer the Eagles what it would take to complete the trade? After all, there are bound to be several teams interested, so the competition could be pricey.
–Would McNabb want to come to the 49ers? The 49ers would need McNabb’s cooperation because they would not make a trade for a player with one year remaining on his contract without first working out a contract extension. If he was on the trade block, McNabb might be more interested in joining the Arizona Cardinals – a club that’s likely to be looking for a veteran quarterback this spring. (McNabb makes his offseason home in the desert.)
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OK, I’ll go ahead an answer the follow-up. If McNabb is unavailable, what about the other Eagles quarterbacks, Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick?
First, I can’t see the Eagles parting ways with Kolb. And I can’t see the 49ers wanting either Kolb or Vick in place of Smith for 2010. In order for the 49ers to make an offseason change at quarterback, the club would have to acquire a player that coach Mike Singletary and general manager Scot McCloughan believe is clearly better than Smith.
Kolb is not a proven commodity, and Vick’s best passing season – in 2002 — was only marginally better than what Smith did last season.
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