They didn’t use the No. 2 pick in 2017 to take one of the best quarterbacks in that draft, as they had their eye on Kirk Cousins in free agency the following spring. On Halloween of that year, the New England Patriots offered Jimmy Garoppolo the second option. Garoppolo did enough to change his mind and get a big contract before Cousins was on the market.
It was a bold move, but not as bold as Friday’s, when they agreed to bring the 12th pick. this year, the first and third picks in 2022, and the first pick in 2023 to the Miami Dolphins. This is only the fourth time in the last 30 draws that a team from 12th place has finished in the top 3. It’s the highest pick the Niners have acquired in a trade since the draft began, according to statistics and information from ESPN.
According to Adam Schefter, source at ESPN, this is the culmination of a multi-week pursuit to break into the top five, which would put them within reach of one of the best quarterbacks of the year.
– Barnwell (E+): Impact of major operations
– Grades (E+): How is each team doing?
– Wagoner: Nines circled for QB
– McManus: Eagles have more options
– Wolf: Dolphins bet everything on Tagovailoa
– NFL Draft Order: Updating of the complete list
It’s a decision that would make Mike Ehrmantraut’s character in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul proud: no more half measures. The Niners will acquire a quarterback for the future.
‘You’re talking about a blockbuster, it’s a 10-year contract for the 49ers,’ ESPN NFL analyst and 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young told SportsCenter Friday morning. And Kyle Shanahan was clearly not happy at the quarterback position. He’s been trailing for a while and we’ve talked about it around him trying to be more aggressive, but the truth is that this is the example they’re going to get their quarterback.
In fact, the 49ers will get their quarterback, which raises two additional questions: Who will be that quarterback and what will happen to Garoppolo? The answers are intertwined.
Teams don’t give up as much as the Niners on third downs if they don’t have an eye on the quarterback. Garoppolo’s injury history – he missed 23 of his last 48 regular-season starts with knee and ankle problems – has put the 49ers in a position where they need to look ahead if they want to compete long-term.
Assuming the Jacksonville Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) first, the 49ers have a chance to select Zach Wilson, Justin Fields (Ohio State), Mac Jones (Alabama) or Trey Lance (North Dakota State). Wilson will likely go to the Jets at No. 2, which means the Niners will have to pick from the other three. Or, in a less similar scenario, the Niners could use the No. 3 as part of a package for another blockbuster trade to acquire a quarterback elsewhere.
It’s hard to imagine the Niners making such a move without having an idea of which quarterbacks they prefer. Fields is a dynamic player with great playmaking ability that the Niners have missed. He has worked with Shanahan in the past as a collective QB. Jones is the type of pocket passer Shanahan has always appreciated, and he looks to restore the precision San Francisco has lacked in its offense. Lance is probably the least known because of his low pedigree in high school, but his physical tools and leadership qualities are hard to ignore.
Marcus Spears says the San Francisco 49ers have the third pick in the draft and should select the quarterback.
Do they all have something in common? Despite their talent, they may not be ready to start in 2021. That’s where Garoppolo comes in. Schefter reported that the Niners are not interested in trading Garoppolo this season. While that could change if the 49ers get an enticing offer, it’s also possible the Niners stay with Garoppolo even if a highly skilled rookie is waiting on the wings, like what Kansas City did with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes in 2017.
It’s a comparison Shanahan alluded to in December when asked about his offseason plans for the quarterback.
You want to use the incumbent as your backup quarterback? Then you have to decide if you want to spend most of your salary on your first and second quarterbacks, Shanahan said. That’s something most teams have a problem with, that second team quarterback, unless they drafted a guy and got their starter from last year. Someone like Alex and what they had with Patrick. So it’s a very common thing. You just hope you don’t lose your friend for a year.
By selling Garoppolo, the 49ers save $24.1 million, but they don’t need that kind of space anymore now that the days of expensive free agency are over.
– Simulation drawings: Kiper | McShay
– Rating: 13 QBs in class, five key stats – Piper’s March mailbag: 15 questions Full score | Pick order | Plus
The Niners believe injuries dominated last season, and with better health, this is a team that is ready to get back in the game. Would that still be the case if the rookie starts as quarterback? History would say not, as no rookie quarterback has ever started a Super Bowl, let alone won one.
Best case scenario outside of an overly tempting trade offer for Garoppolo: He starts, stays healthy and leads the Nine-Niners the entire way. This opens up a lot of trade opportunities for next season, and the Niners can recoup some of their lost capital.
It has long been said that fortune favours the bold. The 49ers have a chance to prove it. If it works, they can create the kind of sustained success that Shanahan and Lynch have been striving for since their arrival. If not, it could be their downfall.
Kyle Shanahan will pick his man, Young said. This will define his coaching career. … This is an incredible, life-changing event for many people in the 49ers organization.
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