The San Francisco 49ers were among the favorites to land superstar wide receiver Julio Jones earlier this offseason. But now that the former Falcons wideout has landed in Nashville, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan can speak candidly about what dissuaded the franchise from making a deal.
While Shanahan would’ve loved a reunion with Jones (OC in Atlanta 2015-16), he explained that the team just didn’t have the draft capital to put together a sweet enough deal.
Trading next year’s first and third-round selections to the Miami Dolphins in order to draft Trey Lance at No. 3, the 49ers would’ve had to dig pretty deep in their bag to throw together a fair trade for a “special” player like Jones.
“Everyone knows we don’t have a first-round pick,” Shanahan said, per 49ersWebzone.com. “But what happens when you don’t have a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick, and you lose a number of guys in free agency, which you never can for sure count on? Then you end up going into a draft, and you’ve got to get six new spots, but all you have is a third- and a fifth-round pick. It’s kind of tough to build your team that way and to consistently do it. But he’s a hell of a player. He’s going to definitely help Tennessee. And everyone knows how special he is, but you’ve got to think about the short-term and the long-term, and that’s why those things are so risky for everybody.”
The Titans landed the two-time All-Pro receiver and a 2023 sixth-round pick in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2023.
The Niners’ current starting wide receiver unit consists of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Richie James.
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