The 2017 offseason is officially underway for all 32 teams, and ESPN’s Dan Graziano put together his ten “rock-solid, ironclad predictions for the 2017 NFL season.” Obviously we can take these to the bank, right? A couple of them include jokes, but there are some interesting angles Graziano pursues.
His first prediction is that quarterback Tony Romo will head to the Houston Texans. His second prediction covers the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns. He predicts the quarterback Colin Kaepernick signs with Cleveland, and San Francisco trades for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
No, I didn't just throw darts. Kaepernick is this year's Robert Griffin III -- a formerly successful, athletic quarterback whom Hue Jackson thinks he can work with. You know the Browns are going to decide that none of the quarterbacks in April's draft are worth more than the picks they can acquire in a trade for their first-rounders. So while (bonus prediction!) they'll improve to 4-12, they still won't have their long-term solution at quarterback. As for Cutler? Well, unless new 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan can swing a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, he'll have to go with a secondary solution. He's on record saying he's looking for a "pure thrower," and whatever else Cutler may or may not be, he's that. Cutler isn't the long-term answer in San Francisco, but Shanahan and general manager John Lynch are getting six-year contracts. Their long-term quarterback solution could still be in high school.
I think the Cleveland Browns are more likely to make a move for Jimmy Garoppolo, but if they don’t have a long-term immediate starter for the 2017 season, Kaepernick could be a bridge option. Of course, he could also fit as one for the 49ers, but Kyle Shanahan might want to make a move for Matt Schaub as some kind of temporary option.
Last week, Pro Football Talk suggested Jay Cutler might be someone the 49ers pursue. They did this based on John Lynch’s comments about Cutler in an older interview. The 49ers need some kind of veteran option at quarterback. If they don’t acquire a Jimmy Garoppolo or Kirk Cousins, and instead add someone through the draft, a veteran bridge option will be necessary in the short term. Cutler certainly could be one such option, but I suspect we could make that argument for virtually any available quarterback on the market.