The Aaron Rodgers pipedream lasted roughly 40 hours. On Tuesday, he told Pat McAffee that he expects to return to Green Bay next season.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that teams are already calling Detroit to see how much it would cost to acquire Matthew Stafford, but that’s not as much of an update as it is common sense.
“I followed that along because I am such good friends with George,” Warner said. “That’s like my brother.”
“I did watch closely with how George went throughout the process,” Warner said. “And ultimately they were able to work something out where he became a Niner for a long time. (I) was super happy for him and he earned every bit of it.”
“I haven’t really thought too much into what my situation is and what lies (ahead) for me in the future,” Warner said. “I kind of let my agent, and John and Kyle and all of them handle that side of things.
“I’m going to let the cards fall where they may. That’s just not in my hands. That’s something that will ultimately be up to the team.”
Speaking of the Kyle Shanahan offense, a mouth-watering fit would be for him to get hold of Matthew Stafford this offseason. Shanahan has created really good offenses in San Francisco out of mostly spare parts at quarterback, and while Stafford is not the mint condition signal-caller he once was, he is still an upgrade.
With Stafford, the 49ers’ offense can work more parts of the field. In fact, the last time Shanahan had a quarterback who could throw anywhere on the field — Matt Ryan in 2016 — his unit led the league in many offensive categories.
San Francisco ranks dead last in percentage of throws over 20 yards during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Only 7.3% of their throws were targeted downfield. That changes in a heartbeat with Stafford.
Elijah Molden, Washington
Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
D.J. Daniel, Georgia
Tre Norwood, Oklahoma
Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas
Molden is the best of the bunch, and can fit into K’Waun Williams’ spot if he moves on in free agency. Molden was the highest-graded corner by PFF in the Pac-12 this season, and should be a top-five corner taken in the draft.
Melifonwu could turn heads this week. His older brother, Obi, did so and was selected by the Raiders in the second round of the 2017 draft. The 49ers signed Obi earlier this month. The younger Melifonwu brother is 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds. His size and athleticism jump off the board, and he could really help his draft stock this week.
Of course there will be human concerns with Smith if he returns to the Bay Area. But if both parties feel comfortable with the reunion, and Smith ($2 million in 2020) is in a favorable environment, there’s no denying the talent he would bring.
Some others that would bolster the unit and should be under $2 million include Denver’s DeMarcus Walker (4.5 sacks in 2020), the Jets’ Tarell Basham (3.5 sacks and 13 QB hits), the Chargers’ Isaac Rochell (2.5 sacks) and Chicago’s Mario Edwards (four sacks).
Whether it’s Golden or Hyder, Smith or Jordan, Curry or Blair, or Rochell or Willis, the 49ers must restock their defensive line this offseason.
Stafford is the only player on this list that will be a lock to be traded given that the Lions and he have already agreed to part ways. He and Ryan were often lumped together this season as trade candidates but Stafford’s contract was more amenable to a trade. Stafford counts for $33 million on the Lions salary cap and will cost $19 million in dead money when traded or cut, a savings of $14 million. Some people have speculated that the Lions putting it out there that they are done with him will kill his trade value but I don’t see that. Stafford is just 33 years old and you are going to trade for a contract that will cost just $20 million in 2021 and $23 million in 2022. As a matter of perspective Kirk Cousins just signed an extension for two years that costs $66 million, so it would cost a team far more in salary to sign him as a free agent than to trade for him. Odds are he will get a three year extension but with the $46 million locked in, even a three year, $105 million extension would work out to be $30.2 million a season.