The San Francisco 49ers saw their 2018 season crumple into a heap when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a torn ACL early in the year. After trading for Garoppolo the previous season, the Niners did not have a back-up plan and struggled to a 4-12 finish. They ended up with the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL draft, so they have several options available to retool their roster. They considered trading for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but they couldn’t seal the deal.
Beckham Jr. is one of the top receivers in the NFL when healthy, but the Giants moved him out of the conference in trade with the Cleveland Browns. Why couldn’t the 49ers grab Beckham? We will look at what they had in place and why it didn’t work.
Too high of an asking price?
In their trade with the Browns, the Giants received first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft, along with former first-round pick Jabrill Peppers. Although Peppers is a good defensive back, the Giants lost the trade on paper as Beckham Jr. is a young and dynamic playmaker at a premier position. The picks will be middle of the round and likely won’t provide the same value as Beckham.
Is Odell Beckham worth the No. 2 pick? That would be too high of an asking price from the Giants, but a second rounder in this year’s draft and future first rounder could have been enough to sway the Giants.
Other offseason moves
The 49ers bolstered their defense this offseason, snagging Dee Ford from the Chiefs on a four-year deal, and signing Pro-Bowler Kwon Alexander away from the Buccaneers. Alexander will replace linebacker Reuben Foster, and at age 24, he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. He has been a beacon of health and should bring stability to a position that needs it.
Ford should provide excellent play alongside Solomon Thomas, who hasn’t lived up to expectations since entering the league. In Ford, the 49ers might have the best defensive player in the NFC West not named Aaron Donald. Ford was amazing last season with 13 sacks, and he tied for the lead with seven forced fumbles.
While the defense looks solid, adding Beckham would have been a game-changer for the 49ers.
Where will the 49ers draft a wide receiver?
As we mentioned, the 49ers have the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft, and although this is a deep wide receiver draft class, no one warrants being the second overall pick. The draft is a crapshoot, so chances are none of them will turn out to be as good as Odell Beckham.
There are reports that the Cardinals will select quarterback Kyler Murray No. 1, and if the 49ers pass on Nick Bosa, the stud edge rusher from Ohio State, at No. 2, they will likely regret it.
Murray is a dynamic quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy last season at Oklahoma. Bosa looks to be a complete player on the defensive line.
Should the Cardinals select Bosa, it would give the 49ers a lot of good options. Murray and Dwayne Haskins are the consensus top quarterbacks, and with the Giants and Broncos both in need of a quarterback of the future, the 49ers are prime trading partners.
If the Niners traded down within the top-10, then a wide receiver would be an excellent pickup in this range. D.K. Metcalf looks to be the hot commodity after showing running back speed at the NFL combine.
Expect the Niners to draft a receiver with one of their early picks, as the front office needs to give Garoppolo weapons on the outside a la Odell Beckham.
Why didn’t the Giants ship Beckham to San Francisco?
The 49ers were angling for Odell Beckham as soon as word spread the Giants made him available. The Browns joined in the trade talks later in the process, but New York seemed determined to send Beckham to Cleveland. Why didn’t San Francisco get him? Because the Giants cut off contact. According to CBS Sports, the Giants never called back to give the 49ers a chance to improve their offer after hearing what the Browns were giving.