The San Francisco 49ers lost more than their quarterback, they lost their franchise. What’s the next step?
Replacing players can be both easy and hard. Losing a quarterback hurts your franchise from a talent drop off perspective yes, but the loss is felt more in the hearts of those who love that franchise.
When Jimmy Garoppolo was carted off the field, it was anything but encouraging. You felt thousands of hearts break for the fan favorite of this storied team.
Taking the NFL by storm after initially going 5-0 after being traded from the New England Patriots in 2017, Garoppolo came down to earth losing his first game as a starter in the 2018 season opener to the Minnesota Vikings. This rebuild the 49ers were expecting was moving in the positive direction much more quickly than first thought.
His numbers were modest (718 passing yards, 59.6% completion rate, 5 TD – 3 INT) but the optimism and life he ignited into the locker room and fan base will surely be missed. What is San Fran to do?
I’ve seen them bring in some veteran free agents but none are legit. I got a little creative with some options beyond the obvious signing off the street.
There’s a few options and I’ll explain each in detail. Depending on where they went to end will determine their course of action. Based on talent, here’s three interesting but logical candidates.
Top Option 1: Trade for Robert Griffin III
Not the sexiest player but head coach Mike Shannahan turned Griffin III into the 2012 offensive rookie of the year during his tenure as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator. Now with the Baltimore Ravens, he’s the third stringer behind Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson.
His contract doesn’t carry a huge cap hit either, so it shouldn’t take much to acquire him. There’s a risk-reward factor and there’s still a possibility to get a higher draft pick given his talent and health inconsistencies.
Top Option 2: Trade for Tyrod Taylor
If the 49ers are serious about winning, Taylor is looking for work. The Cleveland Browns just dumped him as the starter once injury gave way to rookie phenom Baker Mayfield.
Now you may be thinking, are the Browns willing to do that? I’m sure for the right price, hell yes. They love making trades.
Financially, San Francisco can do anything they want practically. They have the cap room to do it. The real question, is it worth trading a 3rd-4th round pick for him just to keep him as a rental? That’s why it’s a harder sell for me.
Top Option 3: CJ Beathard
A third round pick from 2017, this second year player showed moments during his rookie season of being a capable starter. Most of that playing time didn’t translate to winning, finishing 1-4 as a starter.
If the 49ers are more committed to developing him and losing more games to get a higher draft pick, this is their best bet to make it look like they’re trying to win. He’s the backup of the future so I wouldn’t blame San Fran to stay in-house to find their starting quarterback.
Top Option Honarable mention: Colin Kaepernick
In all seriousness, his days of football, especially as a Niner are over. Still, he’s a lot better than everyone (Kellen Clemens, Tom Savage, T.J. Yates) they brought in for a visit. Best of luck to this franchise moving forward.