The San Francisco 49ers have a busy, and unique, few days ahead.
Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have to plan for the future regarding a few notable veterans while balancing injuries during a short week before the next game.
San Francisco (1-7) is home Thursday to play the Oakland Raiders (1-6) after losing a road game to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The 49ers play their Bay Area rivals two days after the NFL trade deadline Tuesday at 1 p.m.
“(We) would love to be totally locked into this trade deadline, which we will be, but also got to find out who’s possible of playing here in a few days,” Shanahan said in a conference call Monday. “That’s why there’s a lot going on, and all these decisions play off of each other. So, just trying to buy some time with it as much as we can.”
Shanahan confirmed following Sunday’s loss the 49ers were discussing trade scenarios for receiver Pierre Garçon, 32. However, he missed the game because of knee and shoulder injuries and is uncertain this week, which would factor into trade discussions.
Additionally, MMQB reported San Francisco has entertained offers for defensive back Jimmie Ward, who made his first start of the season at free safety. Complicating Ward’s status could be injuries to other safeties.
The 49ers lost their top two strong safeties, Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) and Antone Exum Jr. (concussion) on Sunday, and both were listed on Monday’s injury report. Ward is the new starting free safety because Adrian Colbert went on injured reserve last week after suffering a right high ankle sprain against the Los Angeles Rams.
But Shanahan has maintained the 49ers could make a trade or two while they’re mired in their second straight lost season.
“There’s motivation to improve our team whatever way possible,” Shanahan said. “So, whether that’s getting extra draft picks or whether that’s adding someone who we think can help us, either way. You can do it both avenues. But you’ve got to have suitors and there’s got to be options. We’re looking into all of those, and hopefully, some good ones will come up that we think can help us.”
The 49ers are tied with the New York Giants for the NFL’s worst record and appear focused on adding future assets in the NFL draft rather than bringing in veterans for short-term help. That’s why moving Garçon to a contender needing another weapon makes sense.
Ward has proven to be talented, but his value lies in his durability, and he’s missed 24 games over his five seasons due to injuries, from fractured bones to muscle strains.
Trading Ward would likely force rookie fifth-round pick D.J. Reed Jr. to start the remainder of the season. Moving on from any veteran strains the club’s depth, which has been a weakness over two years since Shanahan and Lynch took control and began reconstructing the roster.
The 49ers didn’t expect to be in this position, even after losing franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and prized running back Jerick McKinnon for the season with knee injuries.
Shanahan has been proud of his team’s effort, but the lack of execution, particularly late in winnable games, has been frustrating.
“I definitely think we should be better than 1-7,” he said. “Regardless of injuries, regardless of what has happened, there’s a number of games in there that we could have won. When that happens, you need to win some of those and we’ve come up short.”
Shanahan mentioned the losses to the Chargers, Packers and Cardinals in particular. All were one-score defeats in which the 49ers had a chance to win late.
“We make a few different plays, and I’m talking one to three plays, still wouldn’t feel great about our record but I’d feel better than I do now. So, there’s a very fine line between those things, and the bottom line is when you don’t do that and you don’t get it done, our record is what it is and I can’t sit here and be positive about that,” Shanahan said.
Simulated injury report - The 49ers didn’t practice Monday, but players came in for treatment leading to a team-issued injury report. The following players would have been withheld from practice:
QB C.J. Beathard (right wrist), S Antone Exum (concussion), LB Reuben Foster (hamstring), WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee), RB Raheem Mostert (ankle), G Mike Person (ankle), C Weston Richburg (knee), CB Richard Sherman (calf, heel), T Joe Staley (ankle) and S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder).
Running back Matt Breida (ankle) would have been a limited participant.
Shanahan gave the team Monday off because of the short week. The 49ers will practice late Tuesday afternoon to give players more time to sleep in Tuesday.
“The players have got to come in here for treatment, but my experience with these games that come so fast and guys don’t have the time to recover, the best thing for recovery is sleep,” Shanahan said.