Watching the 49ers rack up 391 yards of offense in the NFL‘s Week 1, the fourth-most of any team in the league, on their way to a 30-7 win, you might not think that the team is desperate to add more skill position weapons. They’re not—but it’d still be fun to do it anyway, right?
The 49ers clearly have the Super Bowl in their sights, and with some very good defenses lurking in the NFC (in Dallas especially), piling up offensive threats makes some sense. That was the logic behind a trade floated on Bleacher Report this week, suggesting the 49ers attempt to pluck former first-round pick Marquise Brown away from Arizona, a team that is trying hard to not make it obvious that it is tanking.
Of course, the Cards would have USC quarterback Caleb Williams in their sights, as a replacement for current (injured) quarterback Kyler Murray. Already, Arizona has moved on from offensive lineman Josh Jones (to the Texans) and Isaiah Simmons (to the Giants), trading them at the end of training camp for draft picks.
The Cardinals could be motivated to move Brown, the site said: “Brown is scheduled to be a free agent in 2024, and if Arizona is looking to replace Murray, trading the 26-year-old receiver now could make a lot of sense.”
Brown Was a 2019 1st-Rounder
Brown was a first-round pick in 2019 for the Ravens, and made an immediate impact, tallying 584 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie—including 147 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut. He has not had a star-level breakout year, but he did go for 91 catches for 1,008 yards in 2021, his final year in Baltimore. He was acquired by the Cardinals with a third-round pick for Arizona’s first-rounder in 2022.
Brown is only 5-foot-9, but possesses serious sideline speed, and could be a field-stretcher to go with the 49ers many reliable pass-catchers. Coach Kyle Shanahan has proven to be a mastermind at designing and offense around the talent he has on hand, and an X-factor like Brown would only give him more tools to work with.
“The 49ers might be willing to take a flier on the speedy former first-round pick,” B/R wrote. “They have a strong receiving corps headlined by Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, but they’re also eying a Super Bowl and lead the league in cap space following (Nick) Bosa’s new deal and Arik Armstead’s restructure.”
49ers Must Be Aggressive
And the 49ers do figure to be open for business, with the most cap space on hand in the NFL and with designs on winning a Super Bowl this year. Eventually, the very expensive pieces on the San Francisco roster—headlined by Bosa’s five-year, $170 million contract—will prove to be too much for the 49ers to keep.
Additionally, the team needs to take advantage of having quarterback Brock Purdy still operating on his relatively inexpensive rookie contract ($870,000 for this season, $1 million for next and $1.1 million for 2025, according to Spotrac).
Is Brown the kind of player that 49ers want to bring in with their ample cap space? They could use help at cornerback, and it might make sense to be patient and see whether there are any injuries that crop up. But a deep threat would be welcome, and Brown would provide one.