In April, the 49ers were working their phones and trying to trade tight end Vance McDonald.
“We’re very pleased with him right now,” general manager John Lynch said Wednesday following a joint practice with the Denver Broncos.
Lynch said he and Kyle Shanahan have been especially happy with how McDonald, a second-round pick in 2013 who has been inconsistent and frequently injured in his four years in San Francisco, responded to their admission that he was being dangled as trade bait during the draft.
“I thought last week against Kansas City was a great example,” Lynch said. “Even though it didn’t show up on the stat sheet, it was as good as I’ve seen him block – and just consistently. And he competed extremely hard. We were very proud of Vance.”
McDonald began training camp as a second-string tight end. But a hamstring injury to rookie George Kittle has given him more practice repetitions with the first-string group and he started Friday’s preseason game in Kansas City.
Of course, McDonald’s effort doesn’t mean the team won’t trade him.
Lynch also acknowledged Wednesday that teams have reached that part in the season in which they’ve assessed where their own squad is weak and where others teams are loaded. He said discussions have begun among teams and that he has a good opportunity to talk trades this week with Broncos general manager John Elway.
The two already consummated one deal that landed the 49ers running back Kapri Bibbs in the draft.
Two of the 49ers’ deepest positions – or at least the ones they might be willing to deal – are tight end and defensive line.
“The greatest thing is, lots of times you’re throwing on a preseason game,” he said of looking at other teams’ talent. “We’ve got a chance for three days to look at some people we might be interested in. So you’re always doing that. And I think they’re doing that as well. And it’s another productive thing out of this week.”
Brock to Seahawks – Former 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock ended up where many ex-49ers go: Seattle.
The Seahawks signed Brock to a one-year deal Wednesday with the thought that he will compete to be the team’s No. 2 cornerback.
The 49ers cut Brock in April after he was arrested for felony domestic abuse. Charges were dropped last week after the alleged victim in the case, Brock’s 31-year-old ex girlfriend, declined to cooperate with prosecutors.
Brock had been one of the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks for the last two seasons. He still could face disciplinary action from the NFL.
Et cetera – Linebacker Reuben Foster was held out of team drills beginning midway through practice after suffering an apparent injury to his neck or shoulder. He did take part in seven-on-seven drills. Afterward he told Lynch that he was fine.
▪ Warren Sapp, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013, is working with the 49ers defensive linemen this week. Lynch and Sapp are close from their time together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
▪ The 49ers plan to place rookie linebacker Donavin Newsom on injured reserve, ending his season. Newsom is still dealing with the after effects of the concussion he suffered last week, including headaches, problems sleeping and balance issues, his agent said.