Happy New Year, everyone!
But Wilson is the guy the 49ers should target if trading up is on the board.
(Let’s be clear: Trading into the top 10 to pick a QB will command a hefty price — one the 49ers likely won’t want to pay. In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams traded two first-round picks (2016, 17), two second-round picks (2016) and two third-round picks (2016, 17) to move up from No. 15 to No. 1 to select Jared Goff.)
This is no knock against Fields. He’s a talented thrower of the football who can beat you with his legs. But he’s struggled mightily against the blitz this season, and he had two sub-par games against Indiana and Northwestern, the two best teams Ohio State played during the Big Ten season. He might be more of a project than a team that is primed to win now is seeking.
In his “sensible plan” to “fix” the Broncos, Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr — who previously suggested acquiring Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota this coming offseason — advised the team to replace offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur with one of Shanahan’s top lieutenants in San Francisco, passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur or run game coordinator Mike McDaniel.
“Punch the accelerator on one of Kyle Shanahan’s two ‘offensive coordinators,’ Mike LaFleur and Mike McDaniel, and see if you can pay through the teeth to get one of them to run your offense in 2021,” Orr urged. “Shanahan held on to both tightly during the head coaching cycle last year, so perhaps some kind of ‘assistant head coach’ title would be necessary to subvert all the administrative red tape. I really think Lock is savable and that Denver has all the pieces to win 10 games. While this would be a temporary fix, given that both LaFleur and McDaniel are on a head coaching track, installing and committing to the Shanahan offense is among the safest bets you can make right now as a head coach.”
New and Notable
Fred Warner Earns NFC Player of the Week Honors Following Performance vs. Cardinals
Fred Warner’s level of play in his third year in the NFL has not gone unnoticed. Last week, the 49ers linebacker garnered votes from fans, coaches and his peers around the league to earn his first-career nod into the Pro Bowl. Warner’s production continued as he received NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors following his Week 16 performance against the Arizona Cardinals.
According to Pro Football Focus, Warner’s overall grade on the season (89.1) and coverage grade (91.6) are the highest among all linebackers in the NFL. His Week 16 outing also earned him a spot on the analytics site’s “Team of the Week.” Read More >>>
Seattle clinched the division last week and is still in the running for the top seed and the lone bye in the NFC in the expanded seven-team playoff format.
The Seahawks will earn the top seed with a win and losses by Green Bay and New Orleans. They can move up to the No. 2 seed with a win and a loss by the Packers or the Saints, which would guarantee them a home game if they advance to the divisional round.
Coach Pete Carroll made clear the Seahawks are “going for it” even though the odds might be against them to get the top seed.
“We’re competing,” Carroll said. “Either you’re competing or you’re not. If you’re letting up, you’re letting up. We ain’t letting up. We’re going.”
Lynch and Shanahan appear united in their support of Garoppolo despite the financial incentive to move on from the former New England Patriot. In an offseason where the cap is anticipated to drop to around $175 million, moving on from Garoppolo would save the 49ers over $23 million, accounting for a dead cap charge of $2.8 million, according to Spotrac.
That money would be extremely useful to a franchise that has a host of other free agents to think about. Re-signing Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was described as a “priority” by John Lynch earlier in December, per Niners Nation, while linebacker Fred Warner – also recently named to the Pro Bowl – is a candidate for an extension.
Yet the Niners know there is no point cutting ties with Garoppolo unless they can acquire somebody better.