The 49ers could be looking to deal a couple of veteran players as the NFL Draft approaches later this month.
Peter King of the MMQB quoted an NFL front-office source as saying, “They (the 49ers) want to trade Anthony Davis and Antoine Bethea.”
The 49ers interest in dealing Davis’ rights is no surprise. Davis abruptly “retired” last June without any warning. After guaranteeing his return on social media throughout last season, Davis has yet to apply for reinstatement off the league’s reserve/retired list.
Davis has already missed the first week of the 49ers’ offseason workout program. Davis wrote on Twitter on April 1 that he will file for reinstatement “later this year.”
He also wrote: “Dealing with Trent is giving me a headache” – an obvious reference to 49ers general manager Trent Baalke.
Davis, 26, started all 71 games in which he appeared for the 49ers in his five-year career. Per CBA rules, the 49ers were within their rights to collect remaining signing bonus money paid to Davis.
In January, Davis responded to a suggestion that he retired to avoid playing last season for coach Jim Tomsula, writing on Twitter: “You are crazy as hell if you think I paid $2 million to avoid a coach.”
The 49ers and Davis could be haggling over the possible return of that signing bonus money. Davis was scheduled to earn $2.35 million in base pay, plus a $1 million roster bonus last year. If he were to return under his current deal, he would play this season under last year's contract terms.
Bethea, meanwhile, is scheduled to make $5 million this season in salary and bonuses. He is returning from a torn pectoral that sidelined him for the final nine games of last season.
The 49ers have invested heavily in young safeties the past three years, selecting Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt within the first two rounds of those drafts. Tartt started eight games last season in Bethea’s absence.
Bethea, 31, a 10-year veteran, was voted as the winner of the Bill Walsh Award as the team MVP in 2014.
When CSNBayArea.com asked coach Chip Kelly at the NFL owners meetings about the 49ers’ youth at safety and the presence of Bethea, he responded, “But he’s a really good football player.”
Added Kelly, “I just see that as a strength. They’ve done a really good job of drafting those guys, whether it’s Jimmie, Jaquiski, Eric. Then you have Antoine.”