San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed after Sunday’s 18-15 loss to the Arizona Cardinals there’s a possibility receiver Pierre Garçon is traded before the deadline Tuesday.
“We’d love Pierre back,” Shanahan said. “... We’ve looked into everything, so teams have talked about him, and it is a possibility, but nothing for sure right now.”
Garçon, 32, missed Sunday’s contest because of a knee injury and has also dealt with shoulder issues. He’s a sensible trade candidate that could allow San Francisco (1-7) to recoup capital for the NFL draft as it continues to build for the future during a second straight lost season.
ESPN reported Sunday morning the 49ers were contemplating offers regarding Garçon, who is second on the team with 21 receptions.
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The veteran could be a valuable addition to a contender needing another weapon in the passing game. And it could allow San Francisco to further develop wideouts like rookie Dante Pettis and second-year pro Kendrick Bourne, who led the club with seven catches for 71 yards in Garçon’s stead Sunday.
Shanahan said Garçon has been kept in the loop on trade talks and is expected to be healthy enough to play Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders should the 49ers keep him. Shanahan also noted Garçon isn’t the only player being bandied about.
“Teams call about a lot of people,” Shanahan said. “I know there’s a report on Pierre, so that’s true. He’s one of the guys that people have asked about and we have talked about, but nothing is going down right now. We’ll see how these next two days play out with Pierre and a lot of people.”
MMQB also reported Sunday the 49ers were garnering interest in defensive back Jimmie Ward, who made his 2018 debut at safety after playing cornerback.
Ward, a 2014 first-round draft pick, began his career primarily as a slot cornerback. He moved outside to cornerback full time in 2016. Shanahan’s staff asked him to return to safety, his college position, in 2017 before getting stuck back at corner during the recent offseason as an insurance policy to Richard Sherman, who was coming back from an Achilles’ tear.
Ward didn’t know his name had been mentioned in trade talks until he was notified by reporters following Sunday’s loss - or that the team didn’t notify him of any discussions.
He played well at safety Sunday on the heels of the 49ers losing starter Adrian Colbert to injured reserve last week with a high ankle sprain. Ward made three tackles while the defense kept the Cardinals in check until they started picking on third-string strong safety Tyvis Powell in the fourth quarter.
Ward was asked if he feels he has a chance to solidify himself at his natural position over the second half of the season.
“Yeah, if I don’t get traded by Tuesday,” he quipped.
Ward has dealt with a slew of injuries throughout his career, including multiple fractures in his foot, a fractured forearm last season, ankle issues over the summer, and hamstring and quadriceps injuries this season.
But the 49ers made it clear they value Ward’s production. They picked up his fifth-year option in May, paying him some $8.5 million this season, making him one of the defense’s most expensive players. It was because of his versatility as a backup who can play all over.
“From what I saw, he played well,” Shanahan said. “What went into that decision (to start him at safety over rookie D.J. Reed) was he’s one of our best 11 players out there. ... Jimmie started last year at safety with us and played at a very high level when he was healthy.”
Ward was asked if he’s frustrated after constantly being moved around.
“Practice (at one position) makes better, but I really don’t have a choice,” he said. “I’ve been banged up in my career. That’s their choice upstairs. Four new head coaches, two new GMs, that’s what happens. I just thank God I still got a job on the same team for five years. Normally, they clean house. Me and a few more guys are the only guys that are still on the team.”
Other possible trade candidates are defensive lineman Arik Armstead and guard Joshua Garnett, who was made active Sunday for the first time since Week 1 due to the injury to center Weston Richburg.