The San Francisco 49ers quarterback position remains a talking point for those in and outside of the building. Is it worth the risk to bring back Jimmy Garoppolo for another season when you factor in his injury history and contract? If they decide to get Jimmy G, who would serve as his potential backup?
Ideally, you never have to see your backup play. This year has been the worst-case scenario for the 49ers as Garoppolo’s ankle injury has led to extended action for Nick Mullens. Thanks to the talent on the roster, San Francisco has remained competitive in games. Mullens has repeatedly shown why he was a UDFA a few years ago out of college. He’s competed, but Mullens is a backup for a reason.
I wrote recently about how the 49ers are in difficult cap straits next year, which makes the possibility of fitting Wentz into their lineup a near impossibility. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said this week that he expects to leave the 49ers after the season as a result of their cap concerns, and he’s not the only player who will be on the way out.
If the Niners want to make a change at quarterback, though, they have the flexibility to create significant short-term cap space by cutting Jimmy Garoppolo. Releasing the oft-injured Garoppolo would free up $23.6 million in cap space in 2021, a close match for the $25.4 million cap figure Wentz would occupy after being traded. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said in October that it was only a matter of time before Wentz turned things around; maybe he meant a matter of a move instead.
Wentz is a quarterback that we’ve seen play at a ridiculously high level in 2017, where Wentz had the second-highest QBR, EPA/play, and air yards. Wentz threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Since then, he’s been banged up and inconsistent.
This season has highlighted warts in Wentz’s game, as he’s tried to do too much under center. Wentz would pass up an open receiver underneath to roll out and try to make a play down the field. Too often, he looked “broken.” After watching Jalen Hurts elevate the talent around him and how Philly looked rejuvenized, it’s tough to ignore what a change at quarterback does for your team.
This past preseason, Sports Injury predictor gave Wentz an 83% chance to miss a game this season based on Wentz’s injury history, the same history that led Philadelphia to draft Hurts in the second round. Wentz has the athletic ability to extend plays, the arm strength to stress the defense down the field, and is young enough for Shanahan to mold into what he wants from a quarterback.
If I’m the Niners, and I want to restart at QB, it’s going to be for a guy who wasn’t just benched with an injury history. Where do you stand on the 49ers acquiring Wentz?