March 20, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh answers questions from reporters during the annual NFL meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49'ers Reportedly in Trade Talks with Carolina Panthers

Yesterday, the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers finalized the trade sending CB Darrelle Revis to the Bucs for their #13 overall pick.

Today, a couple of different reporters from are reporting that the draft-pick-laden San Francisco 49’ers, who have 13 selections in the upcoming draft, are looking to jump up into the #13 overall pick (now belonging to the New York Jets) or the 14th overall pick…which belongs to the Carolina Panthers.

No doubt the Niners are playing the two organizations against each other, feasting on the knowledge that both teams are looking to rebuild.

The Jets might be willing to part with their #13 overall choice, but having two of the first 13 picks in this year’s draft is tempting to hold on to as this draft in particular is a bit top-heavy, with the top 15 or 16 rookies being the “top-tier” guys, after which the talent level begins to fall off at most positions.

The Jets could still trade back from 13 overall and still get a quality rookie corner to take (not replace) Darrelle Revis’ roster spot and start immediately, garnering even more picks in the 2nd round and beyond, while holding on to their #9 overall pick.

The Panthers at #14 might be willing to take the Niner’s first rounder – which will very likely be involved in a trade with EITHER squad – along with slightly less compensation in the form of later-round picks to move back and recapture at least another second-round pick with perhaps a later round choice tossed in to round things out.

As for the now-outdated “draft pick value chart,” the difference in value between picks 13 and 14 is not that huge. However, the fact remains that the Niners will NOT have 13 roster spots available on a Super Bowl team that lost by 3 points…and indeed, lost because of their inability to cover kickoffs well.

The San Francisco 49’ers have struggled to find a top wide receiver for years until embattled WR Michael Crabtree finally had a breakout season in 2012. He’s still not what I would call a dominating force, but a lower-tier #1 wideout when you consider WRs on other teams like Megatron with the Lions or Andre Johnson with the Texans, or even Stevie Johnson with the Buffalo Bills. Don’t forget, they added fearless possession WR Anquan Boldin from the team that beat them in that Super Bowl as well, but still lack a guy at WR with great speed, having let the Carolina Panthers get reserve WR Ted Ginn, Jr. as a free agent. They also still have probably the fastest TE in the game in Vernon Davis.

Nov 23, 2012; Ames, Iowa, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Tavon Austin (1) rushes up field against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first half at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Reports say they’re targeting one of the two players I’ve been saying are the two pivot-points for trades in this year’s draft class – West Virginia WR Tavon Austin.

There’s fear I’m sure that the Jets are targeting Austin as well, since they are very thin at their own WR position, despite having drafted physical freak Steven Hill out of Georgia Tech last season. Hill played like a rookie, but showed flashes of ability last season and his production and understanding of the offense should only improve.

Ga. Tech ran a triple-option game while he was in school, so his knowledge of NFL passing offenses was next to nothing when he entered camp as a rookie.

The Jets also lost TE Dustin Keller in free agency to the Miami Dolphins, and in order to give struggling Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez a realistic chance to improve, the Jets are going to have to improve talent both on the offensive line and in the receiving corps. They’re definitely in high-rebuilding mode, especially after trading their best player away just yesterday.

Fans of the Carolina Panthers shouldn’t despair quite yet, however. My early impressions of new GM David Gettleman are that he’s very shrewd and could possibly work a deal with one or more players involved as well. While I don’t see him trading away aging WR Steve Smith, he could work things the OTHER way around and get a solid player from San Francisco’s stacked roster as part of the compensation.

Everything is speculation at the moment, but the Rumor Mill is really churning away on this one. Things could develop quite quickly, so keep an eye on the sporting news world for any developments along this front today!

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