The 49ers Have Plenty of Options to Land a Game-Changing Receiver After Trade With Colts

Liam McKeone
Jimmy G and Kyle Shanahan
Jimmy G and Kyle Shanahan / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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The San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts gave us the second blockbuster trade of the day when the news broke that the Niners would send All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Indy for the 13th pick in April's draft. San Francisco clearly made a choice after signing Arik Armstead to an extension earlier in the day, and the Colts felt Buckner's production and potential were high enough to not only give up a first-rounder, but also sign him to a massive extension. The Niners, who were a quarter away from winning the Super Bowl only one (very long) month ago, now have a pair of first-round picks to fix their biggest issue -- a lack of star power at wide receiver.

San Francisco got very little out of its wide receiver group last year. Obviously having a player like George Kittle offsets that significantly, but Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders were the only two wideouts who gave the Niners any level of production. Samuel racked up slightly more than 800 yards and three touchdowns through the air in 15 games, while Sanders put up 502 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. After that, the leader in the clubhouse was Kendrick Bourne, checking in with a whopping 358 receiving yards. Sanders is a free agent, and Samuel is a talented player but not a take-over-the-game level of wideout. The 49ers need an upgrade, and the Colts just gave them the means to do so.

San Francisco doesn't have a pick in the second, third, or fourth rounds of this year's draft, so they could wind up trading down with one of their picks. But there are a few game-changers who could be available at that 13th spot. Jerry Jeudy has been sliding in recent mock drafts, and Henry Ruggs III is projected to go somewhere in that range. If John Lynch were feeling particularly spicy, he could package the two firsts he has to move up to inside the top 10 and ensure he can land CeeDee Lamb, who would be incredible in Kyle Shanahan's offense.

Using that capital to trade within the draft isn't his only option, either. Not signing Buckner gives the Niners some cap room that most assumed would be used up in an inevitable extension. Stefon Diggs has been tweeting all day about how things are changing, and Odell Beckham Jr. is an ever-present name in hypothetical trade discussions. Considering DeAndre Hopkins just got traded for a bag of chips and a second-round pick, San Francisco might not even need to use one of their new first-rounders to land a disgruntled game-changer.

The Niners are already set up to compete for the foreseeable future with a good quarterback under contract and an elite defensive line that will remain that way even in Buckner's absence. Receiver is really the only weakness in their roster-- and they've set themselves up perfectly to cover up that weakness sometime in the next few months.

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