Moving on to the NFC West division, some of the deepest rosters in the NFL could also offer a ton of intrigue once the trade deadline roles around. At the top of the heap are the San Francisco 49ers, who already kicked off the off-season when they traded for Anquan Boldin from Baltimore. Can fans expect more moves on the horizon?
A lot of factors go into what the future holds for Mario Manningham. First and foremost is health. He still hasn’t returned from a knee injury he suffered late last season and is not tradeable until that time. Once that happens it will come down to a numbers game, and perhaps not the ones Manningham can control. At present the San Francisco 49ers have a crowded receiving group. Despite the loss of Michael Crabtree to an Achilles injury they still have Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, 2012 first round pick A.J. Jenkins, and late round steal Quinton Patton. Never mind they also added tight end Vance McDonald too. Put simply there may not be enough balls to go around once Manningham returns. If Jenkins and Patton step up in his absence, the 49ers could feel obligated to trade him before his contract expires next March.
Another offensive area that is loaded. San Francisco already has Frank Gore but behind him is a massive horse race between a bevy of talented running backs for the backup spot. At first Kendall Hunter was the clear choice, averaging 5.2 yards per carry but an injury knocked him out for the rest of the season after 11 games. In his stead rookie LaMichael James stepped up and displayed plenty of potential, especially in the playoffs. If that weren’t enough the 49ers added even more intrigue to the position when they drafted fan favorite Marcus Lattimore out of South Carolina. Like Hunter he is dealing with an injury but scouts love his upside if he returns to full strength. Such a thing would put Hunter in an awkward spot being the oldest of the reserves at just the age of 24. That is why a trade may sit in the future for him at some point.
The enigmatic corner hasn’t done himself many favors since becoming a starter at nickelback last season. Despite flashing potential he was beaten an awful lot, most notably in the Super Bowl. On top of that he did the team a disservice when he spoke out openly against having gay players in the locker room. San Francisco is hopeful he can move past all that. Otherwise they may have to cut or deal him for either a late round choice or another player. One might say he has until late October to prove it, otherwise the 49ers will find somebody else.