The San Francisco 49ers are in their bye week after playing seven games on their 2016 regular season schedule. Well, I can just call it their 2016 schedule, because there will not be any playoffs this year. Whatever the case, the team is just under halfway through their schedule, so the timing of the bye works for providing some midseason thoughts on the roster.
The team has a ton of question marks heading into the second half of the season, and the potential of a new general manager after the season means roster predictions are tough to assess. That being said, I thought we’d look at each position group and consider where it currently stands, who the teams own free agents are next year, and what the draft class looks like. Yesterday, we took a look at the running backs. This morning, we looked at tight ends. Now, we’re on to quarterbacks, because why not end the week with a bang?
Depth chart: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder
Practice squad: None
Injured reserve: Thad Lewis
Blaine Gabbert: 87 of 150, 890 yards, 5 TDs, 6 INTs, 172 rushing yards (4.4 ypc), 2 TDs
Colin Kaepernick: 29 of 63, 330 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 150 rushing yards (8.8 ypc)
Where things stand
It’s not pretty. Gabbert was the starter in Week 1, and held the job for five weeks. He had some good moments, but was wildly inconsistent. Part of the reason he secured the starting job for Week 1 was Kaepernick spent most of the offseason rehabbing his three late 2015 surgeries. Kaepernick did not throw in team drills for OTAs, but did get in some work at minicamp. He was ready to go to start training camp, but a sore shoulder sidelined him for the first two preseason games.
Gabbert struggled and Kaepernick replaced him in Week 6. Kaepernick has shown some improvement in some areas, looking slightly more comfortable in the pocket. However, accuracy remains a notable problem. The offense is averaging the same yards per play with both quarterbacks, and at some point, there is a chance we could see the team roll out Ponder. The 49ers signed Ponder after Lewis tore his ACL. Ponder was about to retire but got one more crack at things. He has yet to be active this season, but if Kaepernick and the offense do not improve after the bye, he could get a starter before too long.
49ers 2017 free agents
Colin Kaepernick restructured his deal so it is a one-year deal with a one-year option in 2017.
The 49ers could conceivably have no quarterbacks on their roster when free agency opens in March. Gabbert, Lewis, and Ponder could all hit free agency, and is there really any reason to re-sign any of them at this point? I could see Lewis or Ponder as a body, but it’s hard to really get inspired about any of them.
Kaepernick can opt out of his deal, and if he picks up his option, the 49ers could decide to release him anyway. If Kaepernick performs well the second half of the season, he’ll opt out. If he performs poorly and picks up his own option, his 2017 salary is not guaranteed, so the 49ers would likely release him. Kirk Cousins is the only remotely decent quarterback option in free agency, which is telling you something. The 49ers might not think the quarterback of the future is in the 2017 NFL Draft, but either way, they need bodies to develop.
2017 NFL Draft top 10 prospects
Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
DeShaun Watson, Clemson
DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL)
Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Cooper Rush, Central Michigan
Davis Webb, California
C.J. Beathard, Iowa
Seth Russell, Baylor