NBC Sports Matt Maiocco weighed in on whether some of the young stars on the 49ers are untouchable and the answer may surprise you. Kyle Juszczyk was close to signing with the Bills nearly four years ago:
“The next day, I told my agent, ‘Hey, if you can get San Francisco to just match [Buffalo’s] offer, I’m there,’” Juszczyk said. “So, he came to them with that, and they did it.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to have the career that I’ve had these past eight years that I’m definitely going to have a lot of options,” Juszczyk said. “But I also absolutely love San Francisco. I love playing for Kyle. I love playing for Mike McDaniel. Bobby Turner, my running back coach, is an absolute OG. I want to send him out the right way.”
“I want to be on a competitive team,” he said. “I know the Niners, we can get back to where we were a year ago, so it’s tough for me to just want to give up on what I started.”
No. 3: Working out who to upgrade in 2021
Every team has 11 starters on offense and 11 starters on defense, but it’s no secret every starter isn’t created equal.
Mike McGlinchey isn’t as good as Trent Williams at tackle, and Kerry Hyder isn’t as good as Nick Bosa at EDGE.
You can always stand to get better, and it’s up to DeMeco Ryans to decide how the team can get better personnel-wise in 2021 and how that can be achieved. With the current relative lack of cap space (especially given the number of free agents San Francisco has), the most likely candidate to do this is via the draft.
If Ryans thinks there can be an upgrade found at cornerback, then he could consider Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn or Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. If he thinks the team should just find a new EDGE opposite Bosa, could Jaelen Phillips or Gregory Rousseau from Miami be the pick?
1. Gore is cheap, unlike, for example, Jerick McKinnon.
Gore probably would play for the veteran minimum, which is roughly $1 million for the entire season. As opposed to McKinnon, who pocketed $16.66 million to play 16 games in three seasons with the 49ers, or more than $1 million per game.
2. Gore is durable, unlike, for example, Jerick McKinnon.
Gore has missed only three games since 2011. As opposed to McKinnon, who missed all of 2018 and 2019 and has played a full 16-game season only three times in his career. Meaning Gore could keep Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and Deebo Samuel fresh by taking their carries during blowouts. Remember, Samuel pulled his hamstring at the end of a blowout. Gore could prevent him from doing that again. As opposed to McKinnon, whose legs get tired.
It would be excruciating for the 49ers to part ways with any of their young, homegrown stars. But it also might be the best way to accomplish the organizational goal of establishing itself as a perennial championship contender.
Really, the only way a team can reach that level of consistency to compete for a Super Bowl every season is to have one of the top quarterbacks in the game.
Still, there is no way to get around the observation that the best teams also have the better quarterbacks. And the longer those quarterbacks are with an organization, the more those teams pile up victories.
So, yes, as painful as the answer might be, it is also quite simple.
Is there any player off-limits if the 49ers have an opportunity to acquire a young, franchise quarterback?
Wagoner envisions general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan drafting a quarterback at some point in the first three rounds, providing depth behind Garoppolo.
“With the 12th pick, the easiest path would be for one of the top four signal-callers to fall to the Niners,” wrote Wagoner, “but if that doesn’t happen, they could be in striking distance for a trade-up or they could target someone else by moving back from 12 or up from one of their other spots. Regardless, the Niners need to find someone with long-term upside who can push Garoppolo and be capable of stepping in should Garoppolo continue to struggle with injuries.”