We may not have a quarterback, but we've got each other. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Yesterday evening Mr. Jesse from Anchorage, AK posted a FanPost about whether the 49ers should consider pursuing Chad Pennington as a transition quarterback while the team develops a younger quarterback. Whatever your thoughts are on Pennington aside, bignerd had an interesting question that hasn't been discussed from quite this angle:
Would someone please explain this stopgap QB plan?
This very basic question raises all sorts of issues for which we don't really have any answers at this point. And given the state of labor relations between the NFL and NFLPA, we may not have answers anytime soon. The NFL Draft is in late April, while free agency is scheduled to start in early March. Of course, if there's no CBA by then free agency will be delayed indefinitely.
If you're Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh, that increases the degree of difficulty for the 49ers this offseason. You've got a lot of talent among the skill position players, and you've got a developing offensive line that should hopefully take a strong step forward in 2011. The 49ers have a variety of options they can consider this year:
1. NFL Draft: Select someone high in the draft or select someone in the middle rounds. I suppose they could roll the dice with a late round pick or UDFA, but I don't see that happening. The 49ers will draft a quarterback in April, but it's just a matter of when.
2. Free Agency: The team can try to snag an older veteran that's available now or will be released at some point whether it be a Pennington like mentioned above, or the Donovan McNabbs of the world.
3. Trade: This is where the Kevin Kolb's and Josh Johnson's of the world fit in. Both will enter the final year of their respective contracts and both have reasonable base salaries and thus won't be cut this offseason.
The question really becomes what combination of these options do the 49ers utilize? The team will be adding at least two quarterbacks, if not more. The problem with the combinations is that options two and three are not going to be available to the 49ers until a CBA is done. Normally you'd likely know heading into the draft what you've done via free agency and trades.
This year Baalke and Harbaugh might still be waiting on a new CBA entering the 2011 NFL Draft. If that's the case, what do they do with the QB situation? Do people think the plan is for a mid-round QB no matter what the situation is with the CBA? As we've discussed before, the potential "worst case" is the lockout drags into August and by the time it gets figured out, it's too late to conduct free agency so rosters freeze for the season until the 2012 offseason. There are so many different ways this plays out that it's hard to tell what the team is going to do.