With the NFL Draft approaching, the 49ers have been sniffing around NY Giants former first-round pick, tight end Evan Engram, for a potential trade.
Forbes‘ Vincent Frank first tweeted the news that Engram might be dealt away from the NY Giants.
NBCSports.com also reported on the potential trade, although it’s worth noting they used Frank as their source, it affords him some credibility. Now, it’s obviously worth noting that the terms ‘sniffed around’ and ‘shown interest’ don’t exactly exude that a deal has a great chance of happening, but it is meaningful. No disrespet to Vincent Frank, but this also isn’t exactly Adam Schefter we’re talking about here, either.
It also doesn’t mean the NY Giants are interested in shopping him.
The rumors arose due to the San Francisco 49ers’ lack of a solid number two tight end to complement star George Kittle. Kittle has amassed over 2,400 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns the past two seasons.
Current 49ers backup tight end Ross Dwelley has been ineffective the past two seasons with only 105 yards receiving. Lining Engram up with Kittle gives 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan the flexibility to move Kittle around at will or use Engram as a swiss-army knife.
Engram has never seemed to quite find a fit in any of the NY Giants’ offenses as he never quite turned the corner as the Pro Bowl athletic freak that he had the potential to be. Nevertheless, Engram has managed to catch over 150 passes for 1,766 yards and 12 touchdowns in three years, so he would be useful to the 49ers.
Injuries have been the main reason for that, however, and the 49ers may believe those are a fluke. On the surface, parting with valuable draft capital when you already have Kittle might seem crazy, but Shannahan runs what probably is the most creative offense in all of the NFL. He would make it work, and it would probably work wonderfully.
The major potential hurdle in this deal would be the compensation, as usual. The 49ers do own two first-round draft picks, but they don’t select again all the way until the end of the fifth round. That really complicates things, as most probably don’t think Engram is worth a #1 three-years into his career, although his talent is tantalizing and it would be at the end of the round.
If the NY Giants do decide to trade Engram, they will likely aim for one of the 49ers two first-round picks, namely the 31st overall. They likely will be able to swing a deal for the 31st pick only if the add some mid-round compensation of their own, as the 49ers could jump at the chance to add some draft depth to go along with a potential star like Engram.
Here’s what a deal could look like.
Giants give: TE Evan Engram, fourth-round pick #110
49ers give: First-round pick #31
With Big Blue’s continual rebuild ongoing, Engram could be seen as a tradeable asset that they no longer have a use for. Especially considering offensive coordinator Jason Garrett favors a heavy run approach that Engram may not be useful for.
The move would make even more sense if the Giants want Kaden Smith to earn the starting role as he performed admirably in his rookie season with 268 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. The team also signed Levine Toilolo to a legit contract in free agency and has six tight ends currently on its depth chart.
If the right compensation is available for Engram, the Giants should swing the trade and jumpstart the rebuild, but if not, they have shouldn’t overthink this. Engram is turning 26 at the start of the season and still has time to develop and they can’t afford to waste talent.
They shouldn’t just dump him for anything less than solid draft capital as he still has two potential years left on his rookie deal and has shown superstar potential.