With playoff hopes extinguished, 49ers fans around the country are looking ahead to the offseason. There are many among the Faithful that would love nothing more than to see the 49ers draft Zach Wilson out of BYU in the first round. But while it’s one thing to say that’s what they should do, it’s another thing altogether to go out and actually do it - especially when the cost could be significant.
In a recent Twitter poll, Levin Black asked fans what route they wanted the 49ers to take at quarterback this offseason. The number one choice for those that responded was trade up for Zach Wilson or Trey Lance.
If that’s the route the 49ers go this offseason, it won’t be cheap considering San Francisco currently sits at 12th in the draft order. Let’s consider a similar deal that happened not too long ago to ballpark the potential costs.
In 2016, the Eagles picked 8th in the first round and traded up with the Browns so they could select Carson Wentz with the second overall draft pick. Here was that deal:
The Eagles got:
The No. 2 pick in 2016
2017 fourth-round pick
The Browns got:
The No. 8 pick in 2016
No. 77 pick (third round) in 2016
No. 100 pick (fourth round) in 2016
2017 first-round pick
2018 second-round pick
Are you willing to pay something in that range this April? Our second poll says you are not.
(You can hear my full conversation with Levin about this topic in today’s Gold Standard Podcast below)
In a separate poll from our podcast Twitter account, almost 61% of voters rejected a similar deal. It isn’t exactly Earth-shaking news that most fans would like their team to acquire premium talent without having to pay a premium price, but it simply isn’t realistic.
While it’s possible the 49ers move up a few more spots if they finish out the year with two more losses, it’s likely they are already in the neighborhood of where they’ll be picking in April. If you want them to make a big move for the quarterback of the future, this is the kind of deal they’re probably going to have to make.
Let’s just keep that in mind before we fire off all the, “why didn’t they move up” hot takes if nothing materializes in fourth months. The draft is the best source of cheap labor for NFL teams, and it’s the only way good teams with highly paid stars can replenish their roster to stay in contention year after year. Giving up multiple cost-controlled assets in multiple years is a big risk to take, and should not be undertaken lightly.