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49ers Show What Packers Might Have Gained by Adding Receiver

The San Francisco 49ers spent third- and fourth-round pick to rent Emmanuel Sanders last year.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – At last year’s NFL trade deadline, the San Francisco 49ers acquired receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

It was a bold move. The 49ers sent third- and fourth-round picks to Denver in exchange for Sanders and a fifth-round pick. That’s two quality draft picks for a half-year rental of a receiver on an expiring contract.

Sanders, who had 1,000-yard seasons with Denver in 2014, 2015 and 2016, did his part. In 10 games with the 49ers, he caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns. The 49ers got to the Super Bowl due in part to the trade.

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The Packers did not make a bold move at Tuesday’s trade deadline. In fact, they did not make any moves at all. General manager Brian Gutekunst had been in communication with the Houston Texans regarding Will Fuller for several days but could not pull the trigger on a deal.

As is the case with the 49ers and Sanders last year, this might have been a one-year rental as Fuller plays under his fifth-year rookie option.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Texans wanted a second-round pick. Moreover, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the salary-cap-strapped Packers wanted the Texans to eat some of Fuller’s remaining salary.

Fuller’s cap charge for this season is $10.16 million. With nine weeks remaining in the season, the Packers would have been on the hook for $5.38 million of that. According to the latest from the NFLPA, the Packers have about $6.83 million of cap space. So, a deal could have been done but the Packers would have been incredibly tight against the cap. Teams need space to make in-season moves, such as the Packers having to elevate running back Dexter Williams to the gameday roster for Thursday’s game against the 49ers. 

With left tackle David Bakhtiari, running back Aaron Jones and center Corey Linsley among the upcoming free agents, Gutekunst apparently deemed that too costly. So, the Packers stood pat rather than make the bold move that might be necessary to make a push in the NFC.