The 49ers’ defense has faced increased scrutiny this past week after their second consecutive loss, and with the NFL trade deadline just days away, the team reportedly is seeking help both up front and in the secondary
San Francisco is “looking to add a few pieces like edge rusher and cornerback,” The Athletic’s Diana Russini reported Saturday, citing sources. Per Russini, 49ers general manager John Lynch is “working the phones.”
That’s likely no surprise to the 49ers Faithful, who have become used to Lynch’s aggressive deadline approach over the years. Since he became the team’s GM in 2017, the 49ers have made in-season trades for Jimmy Garoppolo (2017), Emmanuel Sanders (2019), Jordan Willis (2020), Charles Omenihu (2021), Christian McCaffrey (2022) and Randy Gregory (2023).
Earlier this month, Lynch told KNBR the 49ers weren’t afraid to make a “splash” if needed at the Oct. 31 deadline. But that was after San Francisco lost its first game of the season to the Cleveland Browns — and before their alarming “Monday Night Football” loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Now, the need might be more evident.
The 49ers have fallen short of expectations along the defensive line this season so far, and a lack of depth along with the need for more pressure on opposing quarterbacks was glaring as Kirk Cousins sliced and diced his way to 378 passing yards against San Francisco.
After investing so much money up front, including a lucrative contract for offseason addition Javon Hargrave and a historic extension for Nick Bosa, ranking 21st among all NFL teams in sacks per game through seven weeks certainly isn’t what the 49ers had in mind. The 49ers would be remiss not to see if there’s an adequate edge rusher available for the right price.
In the defensive backfield, there have been enough lapses in coverage this season to have San Francisco questioning whether or not bringing in another cornerback could help it find the right personnel combination. And while defensive coordinator Steve Wilks also has faced questions this week, the 49ers have made it equivocally clear they trust him with the unit.