Kyle Shanahan: Julio Jones is special, but trading for him would have been tough for us

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Mar 20, 2019
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49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said last week that he’s happy that Julio Jones landed in the AFC after being traded by the Falcons and he took some time on Wednesday to discuss why the 49ers didn’t push harder to keep him in the NFC.

The team was among the early betting favorites to land the wideout and Shanahan knows Jones well after the two men spent two seasons together in Atlanta, but another trade helped block a strong run at the wideout.

Next year’s first- and third-round picks went to the Dolphins in the trade that landed the team quarterback Trey Lance with this year’s third overall pick. They have a third-round compensatory pick thanks to the Jets hiring Robert Saleh, but dealing more picks for Jones would have left the 49ers too shorthanded for Shanahan’s liking.

“Everyone knows we don’t have a first-round pick,” Shanahan said, via 49ersWebzone.com. “But what happens when you don’t have a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick, and you lose a number of guys in free agency, which you never can for sure count on? Then you end up going into a draft, and you’ve got to get six new spots, but all you have is a third- and a fifth-round pick. It’s kind of tough to build your team that way and to consistently do it. But he’s a hell of a player. He’s going to definitely help Tennessee. And everyone knows how special he is, but you’ve got to think about the short-term and the long-term, and that’s why those things are so risky for everybody.”

The 49ers have Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel at the top of their wide receiver depth chart. They’ll spend this summer figuring out how things stack up from there while Jones prepares for his first season as a Titan.
 
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