Anquan Boldin cannot do everything by himself. Kyle Williams is not a #2. Marlon Moore is in the midst of his annual regular season disappearing act. Vernon Davis is handling hamstring issues. Quinton Patton has not followed up his preseason success. Vance McDonald cannot find open space. Michael Crabtree is out until at least Week 11. Dare I continue? Or has my point been made? The 49ers need help at wide receiver, and stand to lose much more than just football games with a lack of depth at the position.
Colin Kaepernick has fought for his life the last two weeks, scrambling his way to a 1-2 record to start the NFL season. He cannot be blamed – at least to a certain extent – for his sub par play. The play calling is the main culprit, as the 49ers coaching staff should understand that this team – with its bevy of key injuries – must grind out games to win in 2013. The 49ers are relying too much on the play of Kaepernick, and if they are continue to do so, they must give him a realistic chance to win. Without further delay – The 49ers must consider trading for a wide receiver.
Who Should the 49ers Trade for?
Here is a list of five wide receivers that I believe the 49ers would target, should they decide to trade for a wide receiver (they should):
1.) Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns – The 49ers have exhibited trade rapport with the Browns in the very recent past – why not continue to use that chemistry? With the Browns unloading Trent Richardson to the Colts, it is no mystery that they are “packing it in” for the 2013 season. Gordon has real ability, hauling in 10 catches for 147 yards in yesterday’s win against Minnesota. The Browns are entertaining offers (Via ESPN) for Gordon, and the 49ers are considered a potential suitor for his services.
2.) Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants - Hakeem Nicks is in a contract year, and that alone is why I believe he is a target for the 49ers. Nicks has top-10 wide receiver talent, and is familiar with NFC competition. His injury concerns are an issue, but adding him to the wide receiver corps would instantly make the 49ers a very dangerous offense.
3.) Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons – Roddy stood up for Aldon Smith recently - maybe the 49ers can stand up for him now. White is certainly in the twilight of his career, but would go a long way in helping the 49ers to regain their mojo. White is a very intelligent wide receiver, and has seen every possible defense and offense in the NFL. He would transition seamlessly in 2013, but has little value after the 2014 season.
4.) Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys have an excellent offense (personnel-wise), and we all know that Jerry Jones would entertain a trade if it had value. Much like Nicks, there are injury concerns with Austin. Being said, he would come at a decently cheap price, and would aid the 49ers immediately. The last time Austin played in San Francisco, he had 9 receptions for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. He obviously enjoys Candlestick.
5.) Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans - While I am not a big fan of this move, it does make sense. The Titans have had their share of Kenny Britt drama, and would entertain all offers to simply rid themselves of the headaches he provides. He has shown flashes of talent in the past, but has been either injured or suspended for the majority of his career. He has good size and speed, and if he could step in and develop rapport with Kaepernick, I could see him thriving as CK7′s new best friend.
The 49ers must show urgency, and not remain complacent with improving the talent they have at the wide receiver position – it simply is not there. All of the aforementioned talents would help this 49ers team. As I stated above, the 49ers are feeding into the possibility of losing Kaepernick to an injury. He has been forced to improvise more than anticipated, and must be given a chance to improve his incredible talent.
The learning curve of Kaepernick needs to continue to trend up, and without the proper shot, the snowball effect of the NFL will occur. Should Kap continue to struggle, his confidence will drop. The 49ers have been known to boo a quarterback, even booing Steve Young as the 49ers transitioned away from Joe Montana – Kaepernick is no exception.
While I think it is unlikely the 49ers will make a trade before Thursday’s game against the Rams, I would put the likelihood of a future trade around 80%. While 1-2 is a bad start, 1-3 or 1-4 is a death sentence. Even with injuries and questionable coaching, the 49ers still have the tools to dig themselves out of this hole, and send Candlestick off into the distance with the sendoff it deserves – a sixth ring for the proud 49ers franchise.