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Golden Nuggets: Kirk Cousins is the flavor of the week

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Tuesday, February 2, 2021

NFL: JAN 11 NFC Divisional Playoff - Vikings at 49ers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week, it was Matthew Stafford. This week, we’re off and running with Kirk Cousins. The Vikings quarterback isn’t in the same stratosphere as Deshaun Watson, but that doesn’t make him an awful quarterback. It’s a bit surprising to see some of the pushback when talking about Cousins, the player.

Barrows: Should 49ers have pushed for Matthew Stafford? We’re going to find out

If Shanahan could draw up his ideal quarterback, would a passer who excels at making off-schedule plays be what he comes up with? Shanahan wants someone who plays within his system.

There’s some irony here. When Garoppolo first started playing for the 49ers in 2017 he only had a cursory grasp of Shanahan’s offense. The magic he displayed was largely based on instinct, ad-libbing and gunslinging. He won all five of his starts and the 49ers signed him to a massive, five-year deal shortly thereafter. They’ve been methodically turning him into more of a system quarterback, and thus wiping away his 2017 magic, ever since.

San Diego State CB Darren Hall calls Senior Bowl meeting with 49ers ‘great’

Hall says that he met with all 32 NFL teams, but Hayes reportedly noted that the Los Angeles Rams were not present.

Hall recorded 134 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, six interceptions, 25 passes defensed, and three forced fumbles during his collegiate career with the Aztecs, per Pro Football Reference. He racked up 37 tackles, two tackles for a loss, three interceptions, and six passes defensed as a junior in 2020.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo focused on durability - San Francisco 49ers Blog- ESPN

For Garoppolo, things have never quite come together. He was at the controls for the entire 2019 season as the 49ers surged to Super Bowl LIV. Garoppolo’s second-half struggles in that game generated more questions about whether he could evolve into the quarterback the Niners need to get over the hump.

All of which has created a surge of speculation the Niners could move on from Garoppolo. After all, they boast a roster capable of competing for Super Bowls, but that task is made nearly impossible with backup quarterbacks under center the majority of the time.

In the meantime, the rumors will continue to swirl. As Garoppolo notes, that’s part of the deal as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

5 quarterback options for SF 49ers in wake of Matt Stafford trade

SF 49ers Option No. 4: Sam Darnold

While the Niners are a year removed from a Super Bowl, all those potential free-agent losses mean there’s a lot more work to be done, and the stronger reality is a legitimate championship contender is probably at least another year away now.

San Francisco knows this and could end up treating 2021 as a retooling year, which could still involve moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo.

With a limited array of options elsewhere, however, the SF 49ers may have to settle on a reclamation project like the NY Jets’ Sam Darnold.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who just left his role as the Niners defensive coordinator, hasn’t fully committed to Darnold. It makes sense. After all, Gang Green owns the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which is laden with top-end quarterbacking talent.

What a Deshaun Watson trade might look like for 49ers

Two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a pair of young defensive starters is a steep price for any one player. Some teams would argue though that no price is too high for a 24-year-old franchise quarterback.

One of the possible hurdles San Francisco would have to clear in acquiring Watson is just the sheer number of assets it might take. They have their own first-round picks to work with, and their own second-round selections, so the draft compensation wouldn’t be difficult.

It’s hard to imagine San Francisco would deal their franchise’s defensive cornerstones along with all the picks. A quarterback is important, but dealing Bosa and Warner would effectively signal a complete rebuild for a defense San Francisco already spent three years piecing together. Watson is great and quarterback is the most important position on the field, but blowing up the foundation of the defense that spearheaded a Super Bowl run just a season ago seems drastic.