It’s been exactly a month now since the 49ers failed to punch the ball in from 7 yards out, a touchdown that might have given them their 6th Super Bowl championship. But instead the Baltimore Ravens emerged victorious and the 49ers were left to figure out what went wrong, and more importantly figure out how to fix it.
It’s been assumed by just about anyone with an opinion on the matter that the 49ers would cut ties with QB Alex Smith one way or another. It seemed unlikely that they would just release him though, considering the value he would seem to have on the trade market. The likely scenario would be to take advantage of the weak QB draft class, and strike a deal with a team in need. This week it appeared they did just that.
According to multiple reports, the 49ers have a deal in place to send Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2013 2nd round pick (34 overall), and a conditional pick in 2014. This is where things get interesting. The 49ers have found themselves in a very enviable position in a draft that appears low on top talent, but seems very deep in “good” players. This means those teams who are at the top of the draft aren’t really more likely to acquire a franchise altering player than a team near the end of the 1st round, like the 49ers. They are likely to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 picks in the draft after compensation picks are settled. There is no chance that 15 rookies will be drafted by the 49ers, and even less chance 15 rookies will be on the 49ers roster next season. So the conditions are ripe for a trade.
Much of the discussion this week about what the team should do with their surplus of picks has surrounded around two players. The first being cornerback Darelle Revis of the New York Jets, and to a lesser extent Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings. Both of them would serve a very valuable purpose on the team, but each come with their own flaws.
Revis is coming off a torn ACL last season, and has been a headache recently in New York because he wants to get paid…. and paid handsomely. So much so that he wants to be the highest paid defensive player the NFL has ever seen. It seems unlikely that the Jets will oblige him, so chances are he’ll be moved. It’s not known how the ACL surgery will affect Revis on the field, oftentimes players are never the same after blowing out a knee, but as Adrian Peterson demonstrated with his MVP season, you can never count someone out especially with the extra financial motivation.
The price tag for Revis may be extremely high as well, would the 49ers be willing to give up a 1st round pick for the cornerback? The weak point of their stout defense seemed to be the cornerback position, and imagine how much better things would look with Darrelle Revis opposite Tarrell Brown instead of Chris Culliver occupying that spot. For Revis, it just might be worthwhile to pay the price to pry him away from the Jets.
As for Harvin, there has not been much in the way of concrete talks between the teams. Harvin though would serve a dual purpose for the 49ers as a big time play maker from the receiver position, and as a return man on punts and kickoffs. Harvin wants a long term contract though, and doesn’t exactly have the most spotless health history. If Harvin continues to be a malcontent in Minnesota though, he’ll be sure to have a new home when the 2013 season rolls around. He’d certainly look good in red and gold.
It’s also possible the team looks to package their picks to move up in the draft to address some issues in the secondary as well. This draft is believed to be very strong at the safety position, and if the team lets safety Dashon Goldson walk, they’ll need to find a replacement either through the draft or by adding a veteran at the position. Names like Charles Woodson come to mind as a possible solution, and Super Bowl rival Ed Reed could be another if the Ravens don’t retain his services. Perhaps adding one of them and drafting a young safety to be tutored by them could address needs in the short and long term future.