The 49ers were in the mix for Julio Jones, which would have reunited the All-Pro wide receiver with his former offensive coordinator. But Kyle Shanahan‘s team is not believed to have made a firm offer for the 10-year veteran, whom the Titans ended up acquiring. All four NFC West teams discussed Jones with the Falcons, and Shanahan — after losing out on Matthew Stafford when the Rams landed him — said he would have been more willing to part with higher-end assets if he believed the Rams were a true threat to land him.
“That’s actually the most frustrating thing for me,” Shanahan said during his appearance on The Ringer’s Flying Coach podcast with Sean McVay and Peter Schrager (via RamsWire). “I always say, ‘Let’s do it the right way,’ which, there’s no right way or wrong way, but you don’t want to have to risk your future to compete in one year. And that’s the hardest thing about being in our division because I know how Sean rolls. That’s very similar to me. Julio would have helped everybody, but you know what it’s doing to your organization for that year and the years to come.
“That’s a really risky thing, but man, if Sean’s getting him, I’m going to risk that. I know that’s how he thinks, that’s how we all think. You’ve got to compete with your division first.”
The Rams are frequently linked to big trades, having made a few since relocating, but the team’s Robert Woods–Cooper Kupp–DeSean Jackson–Tutu Atwell wideout depth chart would have made Jones quite the expensive luxury. Here is more out of San Francisco:
- Another for the “what if?” file: the 49ers did some thorough investigating on Mac Jones. Linked to the Alabama prospect up until draft day, the 49ers reached out to Jones’ high school quarterbacks coach — Kevin Fagan (not the ex-49ers D-lineman) — according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required). Jones and Lance became San Francisco’s final two candidates for their No. 3 overall pick, after the team traded two future first-round picks for the purposes of landing a QB at 3, but the team opted to go with the North Dakota State product.
- The 49ers are eyeing a slot role for Jalen Hurd, if the former third-round pick can make it to the regular season — something the 2019 draftee has yet to do. As a bigger slot cog, at 230 pounds, Hurd sharing some tight end responsibilities in Shanahan’s scheme may well be on tap, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows and David Lombardi. Hurd and former seventh-round pick Jauan Jennings are candidates for this hybrid position. This would be a way for the 49ers not to carry four true tight ends. A former running back at Tennessee who later transferred to Baylor and played wide receiver, Hurd missed his entire rookie season with a back injury and suffered an ACL tear last summer. Jennings, a Hurd teammate at Tennessee before the latter’s transfer, also has yet to play an NFL snap.
- Although Daniel Brunskill started all 16 games at right guard last season, second-round pick Aaron Banks is expected to take over as the Niners’ first-stringer there this season.