The San Francisco 49ers are 3-2 on the season after they thrashed the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, giving them two wins in a row. The team’s offense is being afforded a real chance to jell and develop as the 49ers have arguably the best defense in the NFL. Could a trade with the Cleveland Browns be on the horizon to improve the offense?
San Francisco is one of two teams, the Dallas Cowboys being the other, who have not yet surrendered 20 points in a game this season. They are the No. 1 ranked defense when it comes to points and yardage allowed as they have given up only five touchdowns all season.
Having an elite defense is certainly a major part of the formula for a contending team, but they certainly do need to figure things out offensively. Adjusting to Jimmy Garoppolo as the starter again after Trey Lance took all the first-time reps this offseason will take some time. They are making strides, but there is work remaining to do.
San Francisco should be on the lookout for some upgrades ahead of the NFL Trade Deadline, which is set for November 1st. One position they could look to add to is running back.
The team lost starter Elijah Mitchell in the first game of the season, which forced Jeff Wilson Jr. into the starting lineup. Wilson has had some injury problems during his career, so finding some reinforcements would make sense, especially with Deebo Samuel essentially being their backup running back currently.
Rookie Tyrion Davis-Price is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and could be sidelined for a few more weeks. Veteran Tevin Coleman and fullback Kyle Juszczyk have filled in sporadically behind him, but running back depth is certainly a question mark with the current injuries.
The first call that the 49ers should make is to the Cleveland Browns. With Nick Chubb in the midst of an incredible season, the Browns could be open to moving Kareem Hunt in the right deal.
Hunt was a player that the Browns have said they will not trade during the offseason, but things could change now that the regular season is underway. With Hunt heading toward free agency and the team’s finances wrapped up elsewhere, flipping Hunt for draft capital could be a good idea.
There is a very slim chance that Hunt would re-sign with the Browns as they aren’t in a position to compensate him in the way that he is seeking. Instead of waiting to see how the compensatory pick formula plays out, the Browns could trade Hunt for a draft pick in 2023.
Offering a fourth-round pick for Hunt should be enough to get the conversation going. Cleveland surrendered a ton of draft capital to acquire Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, so restocking the cupboards would be a good idea.
For San Francisco, it provides them some more insurance in case Davis-Price or Mitchell cannot return and make an impact. With both of them sidelined, there is very little reliable depth behind Wilson currently. An injury to him would be catastrophic to the running game and something they should be looking to avoid at all costs.
With Super Bowl aspirations, there should be no hesitation in trading a fourth, or third-round pick at the most, to the Browns in exchange for Hunt.