The 49ers made multiple inquiries on some big-ticket defenders before the trade deadline, discussing Brian Burns with the Panthers and Jaylon Johnson with the Bears. Chase Young ended up being San Francisco’s addition, but the team still tried to bolster its secondary last month.
Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs became a 49ers target, according to ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan. This came at a rather interesting point on the Raiders’ timeline, as the team was hours away from firing Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler. Mark Davis made the unusual call to let the soon-to-be-fired staffers manage the trade deadline — one that included Davante Adams interest — before letting them go. Prior to the Oct. 31 deadline, however, the ex-Patriots staffers informed the 49ers they were not interested in trading Hobbs.
Playing both inside and outside during his career, Hobbs has been the closest thing the Raiders have had to an anchor at corner over the past several years. The team has not been able to settle on corners recently, cycling through veterans after cutting 2020 first-rounder Damon Arnette. Neither Rock Ya-Sin (a 2022 trade acquisition) nor Anthony Averett (free agency) were re-signed this offseason, and the team has already bailed on two of its 2023 pickups — Duke Shelley, Marcus Peters. The Raiders waived Peters on Monday, and Vic Tafur of The Athletic indicates the team nearly cut the 30-year-old defender earlier this season (subscription required). An issue with inconsistent Peters effort likely led to the decision to move on, per Tafur.
Pro Football Focus rates Hobbs as Las Vegas’ top corner, slotting the third-year cover man 36th at the position. After yielding a 120.2 passer rating as the closest defender last season, Hobbs’ 2023 number comes in at 95.2. The Raiders have Hobbs signed through 2024. Pierce has since reunited with Jack Jones, whom he coached at Arizona State; Jones’ rookie deal runs through 2025. This could be the pairing the Raiders roll with beyond this season, though the team will likely still pursue more help at the position.
At the trade deadline, the 49ers were mired in a three-game losing streak. Injuries to standout starters impacted that swoon. The team has since moved Ambry Thomas into a regular role alongside Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir. Thomas has been a full-timer for the past three games — all wins. A 2021 third-round pick, Thomas carries a 90.1 passer rating-against mark. PFF slots Thomas 11th overall
The 49ers have each of their top three corners signed beyond this season, and they are in better shape — thanks partially to the Young addition, which cost only a compensatory third-rounder — than they were heading into the deadline. The Bears opted to hold onto Johnson, though they discussed him with a few teams after an 11th-hour decision to allow the contract-year cover man to find a trade partner. After keeping him out of trades, the Raiders will be eligible to enter extension talks with Hobbs in January. With a new GM-HC combo likely coming in during the 2024 offseason, the current cogs’ futures largely remain cloudy.