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Golden Nuggets: Will the 49ers keep Josh Rosen around after this season?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Wednesday, 23, 2020

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

So, Tuesday was a quiet news day for the 49ers. Did anything happen?

Josh Rosen has a two-week audition for 2021 with the 49ers

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Rosen declined multiple other opportunities to leave Tampa’s practice squad for a 53-man roster. The San Francisco offer was, in Rosen’s view, the right one to accept.

Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard will become free agents in March. Jimmy Garoppolo could be gone. Although it’s a stretch to think Rosen would start, he could earn a spot on the depth chart. If Garoppolo stays, there’s a good chance he’ll get injured again, giving the backup a chance to play.

Rosen has had a rough ride since 2018, but he’s still only 23 years old. There’s plenty of football in front of him, if he finds a place where he can develop and grow.

San Francisco can be that play for Rosen is he realizes right away that his best move will be to learn the offense intimately and to run the plays exactly the way coach Kyle Shanahan want them to be executed, with no freelancing or deviation or anything other than following the predetermined path for the O’s when lined up against the X’s.

2021 NFL draft order: 49ers loss doesn’t move them up

San Francisco is one of six teams at 5-9 after Week 15. Four teams have four wins, and two teams have six. There’s a chance for the 49ers to skyrocket up the board or even, in a disaster scenario from a draft perspective, fall a couple more spots.

The first tiebreaker for draft picks is strength of schedule. A team that goes 5-11, for example, with a .400 strength of schedule is presumably “worse” than a team that goes 5-11 with a .500 strength of schedule. Therefore, the lower SOS gets the better draft pick.

The 49ers have a .547 SOS after 14 games thanks in part to a stellar NFC West that may carry three playoff teams. Detroit is one spot ahead of San Francisco with a strength of schedule that sits at just .509.

49ers could have about $38 million in 2021 salary-cap space, but that number will quickly drop

Below are the top five players when it comes to salary-cap hit. The list provides their estimated 2021 base salaries and estimated cap hits, according to Spotrac.

  1. Jimmy Garoppolo, $24.1 million, $26.4 million
  2. Dee Ford, $15.15 million, $20.79 million
  3. Arik Armstead, $6.65 million, $12.5 million
  4. Weston Richburg, $7.85 million, $11.4 million
  5. Jimmie Ward, $8.4 million, $11 million

Right off the bat, Lombardi assumes two of the names above will not be with the 49ers in 2021. They are defensive end Dee Ford and center Weston Richburg. Releasing Ford would save $6.43 million, according to Spotrac’s roster management tool. Parting ways with Richburg would save nearly $3 million. Going by another salary cap data site, Over the Cap, the offensive lineman’s savings would be even higher. Either way, there is money to be saved there.

The most obvious name from the list above is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. However, while his deal was the richest ever at the time of its signing, his average salary of $27.5 million now ranks as the 12th highest among quarterbacks, so it’s not an absurd amount if he figures into Kyle Shanahan’s plans.

NFL Week 16 picks, odds: Will 49ers play spoiler vs. Cardinals?

Line: Cardinals -4

Kyler Murray has given the 49ers problems ever since he came into the NFL and there is zero reason to believe that trend won’t continue this Saturday.

The Cardinals are in the thick of the playoff race and a win would put them in prime position to lock up the final wild-card spot in the NFC.

Nick Mullens has been one of the worst quarterbacks in football since the win over the Rams. The Cardinals’ defense isn’t great, but it has a knack for coming up with big sacks and turnovers. Arizona turns Mullens over a couple of times and Murray puts on a show as the Cardinals inch closer to the playoffs.

Pick: Cardinals 31, 49ers 23

Grading the Cowboys 41-33 win against the 49ers

Defensive Line: A

DeMarcus Lawrence once again came to play picking up another sack on the season. But the player along the defensive line people should be talking about is Neville Gallimore who seemed to be making plays on almost every running play. He was a man possessed in the middle of the defensive line along with Atwann Woods before he left the game with an injury. It’s good to see the defensive line creating pressure and making things easier for the secondary who can now make plays on the football