3 Quarterbacks the 49ers Can Add to Replace Jimmy Garoppolo
By Max Staley
Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the most polarizing quarterbacks in the NFL today. On one hand, he led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance (and near victory) in his first season as a full-time starter. On the other, most analysts credited Kyle Shanahan's offensive genius, a loaded skill-position group and elite defense for that run.
But it's impossible to debate the merits of Jimmy G as a franchise quarterback if he's not on the field. And that's consistently been a problem for him. He's missed huge chunks of time this season, sat out 13 games in 2018 due to a torn ACL, and he couldn't even make it through a four-game stretch without getting hurt back in 2016 while taking over for the suspended Tom Brady.
Given his injury history and the legitimate questions surrounding his play when he is on the field, there's absolutely a chance San Francisco elects to move on this offseason. If that's the case, here are three QBs they could target to replace Garoppolo this offseason.
3. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
This feels like a pipe dream, but it's not quite as insane as you might think. Dak Prescott's contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys have been well documented at this point, and his season-ending injury only complicated matters further. If the two sides can't come to some sort of an agreement, Prescott will hit unrestricted free agency this offseason. Interestingly, Garoppolo only carries a dead cap hit of $2.8 million in 2021 so the 49ers shouldn't have much trouble freeing up space to pursue a big-money QB. And putting an elite talent like Prescott into Shanahan's system would be worth the investment. A lot would have to break right for San Francisco, but if he does hit free agency the 49ers would undoubtedly be among the most attractive landing spots for the QB.
2. Zach Wilson, BYU Cougars
If the season ended today, San Francisco would hold the No. 12 pick in the NFL Draft. With the way things are trending, that could quickly turn into a top-10 selection. That's not high enough to give the 49ers a shot at the likes of Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, but the 2021 QB class looks pretty loaded. If they do land in the top 10, Zach Wilson could be their man, and Trey Lance, Kyle Trask and Mac Jones could be in the mix as well. But Wilson's lightning-quick release and mobility could make him an excellent fit in a Shanahan offense that's predicated on shorter, quicker throws that allow playmakers to rack up yards after the catch.
1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan had the best season of his career under Shanahan, so a reunion between the two could make a ton of sense. In fact, that 2016 Atlanta Falcons' offense was one of the most efficient in NFL history. From the 49ers perspective, they should be able to absorb Ryan's contract without too much trouble, financially. Things get much trickier from Atlanta's side, however, as trading or cutting Ryan would leave the Falcons with an absolutely massive dead cap hit. Still, the organization fired its head coach and GM this year, so there are certainly signs suggesting the team wants to rebuild. If Ryan does become available, you have to think he'd want to reunite with the man who helped win him the 2016 MVP.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.