Why the 49ers Should Have Accepted Trade Offers for Nick Mullens
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Keeping as much of the roster intact was a top priority for the San Francisco 49ers this offseason. It only makes sense since they were far and beyond better than the vast majority of teams in the league.
There really wasn't a need to do make any major changes. It is a goal that they achieved thoroughly as free agency has come and gone. However, that goal apparently applies to backup quarterbacks as well.
Michael Lombardi of The Athletic revealed on his show, The GM Shuffle podcast, that the 49ers have turned down multiple trade offers for Nick Mullens.
"There was about three teams trying to trade for Kyle Allen. You know what's interesting about the Kyle Allen trade? This is really interesting. The 49ers got a bunch of phone calls — when I say a bunch, a couple of teams — on Nick Mullens, the backup quarterback in San Francisco. Nick Mullens. They were asking about him, and they turned down every trade offer for Nick Mullens. They wouldn't trade him.
"Think about that. Think about that. Nick Mullens was like — Cam Newton had no value, [and] Nick Mullens [is] untradeable. Just put that in perspective for a while. Digest that."
If what Lombardi claims is true, then the 49ers are absolutely nuts for not accepting an offer. Of course, details of the trade offers are not concrete, it is safe to say Mullens would garner a mid-round pick. I would say as high as fourth-round pick, maybe even a third for some quarterback desperate teams.
For a team that is lacking in draft capital like the 49ers are, it is quite unnerving that they wouldn't trade Mullens away, especially if teams are approaching them and not the other way around. If teams are tapping the 49ers' shoulder to inquire about Mullens, then that instantly gives the 49ers leverage.
It's why teams who place their own players on the trade block hardly come away with the value they want. Because they are basically telling other teams "Hey! Come take this guy off my hands", which is a huge red flag.
The 49ers retention of Mullens is not shocking. Head coach Kyle Shanahan loves the guy and sees untapped potential. When I call the Niners nuts for not trading Mullens, I am not slighting Shanahan. I am sure Mullens is capable to an extent, but the way the 49ers are setup for the draft isn't ideal. Sure, they acquire the Indianapolis Colts' 13th overall pick, but that doesn't help them on day two.
Trading Mullens likely could have aided in that area by packing a bundle of picks in a trade to get back into the second- or third-rounds. Having two first-round picks does not cut it. However, I do believe that the Niners will trade down from No. 31 to accumulate more draft capital. That is likely another reason why they kept Mullens because it would seem like an overkill of draft capital.
I will say this, the 49ers denying trade offers for Mullens is not absolute. When the draft rolls around, these talks could pick up again. At that time, the 49ers could strong arm teams into better draft capital for Mullens. This just adds another option to the long list of things the 49ers can do regarding the draft.