What the Emmanuel Sanders Trade Means for the 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers added another pass catching weapon to its arsenal trading for Denver Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The team announced on Tuesday they acquired the wideout and a 2020 fifth round pick from Denver in exchange for the team's third and fourth round picks in 2020, pending a passed physical.

It's apparent the 49ers are in "win now" mode following a 6-0 start to the 2019 season. Despite the flawless record, San Francisco's offense has told a contrasting story. Through six games, the 49ers rank 25th in the league in passing offense, averaging 214.5 yards per game.

Jimmy Garoppolo has struggled to find a consistent pass-catching threat as San Francisco still seeks for its true No. 1 receiver. George Kittle currently leads all 49ers pass catchers in receptions (34) and receiving yards (376) through six games. Marquise Goodwin is the closest receiver behind the tight end with 181 yards and a touchdown. Sanders, 32, has appeared in all seven games in Denver and has posted 367 yards on 30 receptions and two touchdowns for the 2-5 Broncos.

Sanders should have a relatively smooth transition to San Francisco under the leadership of Kyle Shanahan. Denver's offense is run by Rich Scangarello, the former 49ers quarterbacks coach who worked under Shanahan and joined the Broncos back in January.  

"We kind of run a similar offense," Sanders told Michael Spencer of CBS Denver on Tuesday. "Just talking to Rich and he was telling me it's the same offense. Different concepts. But I'll be able to pick it up easy. I'm waiting for (the 49ers) to call me right now to see when I'm going to get out there and get my physical and get acclimated with the system."

Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Sanders has appeared in 134 games (95 starts) and registered 565 receptions for 7,391 yards (13.1 average) and 39 touchdowns. A two-time Pro Bowler, Sanders has appeared in eight postseason contests (four starts) and was a member of the Broncos Super Bowl 50 Championship team at Levi's® Stadium.

Sanders is only signed through the 2019 season. He is expected to become a free agent in March. Meanwhile, San Francisco is still awaiting the return of wideouts Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back) who are set to return from Injured Reserve in the coming weeks.

There is no word yet if Sanders will be available during Sunday's tilt against the Carolina Panthers, but given the timing of the trade, the signs are leaning towards yes.

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