After their loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the defending NFC champions have wasted no time in improving their title hopes for the 2013 regular season. The 49ers have reportedly agreed to trade backup quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for draft picks. Now, they could be making a major play for some of the best available NFL players.
Darrelle Revis has one year remaining on his contract with the New York Jets, while New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker will become a free agent on March 12. Both former All-Pros have been linked to the 49ers this offseason.
The Jets cornerback has been in trade rumors since it was reported in January that owner Woody Johnson would explore dealing him. New York may be unwilling to give Revis the money that he is looking for, so trading him would ensure that they don’t lose him for nothing in 2014.
Revis is currently recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered during the 2012 season, but he’s still regarded by many as the best defensive player in the game. The Jets would likely get at least one first-round pick for Revis, and the 49ers might be the team that’s willing to meet New York’s price tag.
The 49ers have 15 picks in April’s draft, so they could give up a few selections without compromising their ability to acquire good young prospects. In their Super Bowl loss to the Ravens, San Francisco’s weakness at cornerback was highlighted, so the club is looking to make an upgrade.
The New York Daily News lists the 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons as the top suitors for Revis. The cornerback would welcome a trade to San Francisco, calling the possibility of playing for Jim Harbaugh “awesome.”
If the Jets decide to keep Revis, the 49ers will have to search elsewhere for help on defense, even if the cornerback wants to play in the Bay Area. However, if Wes Welker wants to head to the NFC West, there won’t be anything standing in the 49ers way.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Welker won’t re-sign with the Patriots before he is able to test the free agent market. The news comes less than one day after CSNNE reported that the receiver was close to signing a new deal with New England.
Several teams will be interested in Welker, who may be the most consistent receiver in the NFL, over the past few years. Since joining the Patriots in 2007, Welker has registered at least 111 receptions in five seasons. In that time, he’s averaged 1,243 receiving yards per year.
There have been rumors that Welker’s next stop could be San Francisco. Last month, WFAN’s Mike Francesa claimed there had been rumblings that the five-time Pro Bowler could land with the 49ers.
Welker may just be doing his due diligence by becoming a free agent, but there’s a chance his days in New England are over. Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the wide out has a “mild disdain’ for the Patriots because of his role in the offense at the beginning of the 2012 season.
Landing either Welker or Revis could make the 49ers favorites to win the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. The online betting Web site sportsbook.ag has Colin Kapernick and company as 7/1 to favorites to win it all. Tom Brady and the Patriots have the best odds at 5/1.