It’s easy to connect the 49ers to a free agent or a player who has been made available—especially if the position is of need for San Francisco. On Monday, multiple reports surfaced announcing the Arizona Cardinals will part ways with CB Patrick Peterson.
Peterson has a decorated career as he’s been elected to eight Pro Bowls and has been a first-team All-Pro selection three times. Peterson turned 30 last year, and we know that history isn’t on his side.
Peterson traveled with No. 1 receivers for most of his career, which didn’t change this past season. Peterson allowed a 62.1 completion percentage on 66 targets, had four pass breakups, three interceptions, but also gave up six touchdowns, per Sports Info Solutions. Peterson also missed a tackle 12.3% of the time. SIS had Peterson for 29 total points saved this past season, with Peterson allowing 8.6 yards per target.
Let’s compare that to Jason Verrett, assuming the 49ers spend “big” on one cornerback during free agency. Verrett allowed a 66.1 completion percentage on 6.5 yards per target. He broke up five passes, had two interceptions while giving up one score. Verrett also missed a tackle 10.4% of the time, per SIS.
The difference between the two is that 2019 was the only time Peterson missed multiple games during a season, while 2020 was the first time Verrett played double-digit games since 2015.
Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline believes the 49ers are calling about both Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold:
Will the Philadelphia Eagles trade Carson Wentz?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could be involved in a trade package in just a matter of days. So, where will he end up?
Moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo for Wentz would bring this place down. I’ve seen some fans say the team doesn’t have to get rid of Jimmy if they were to acquire Wentz but invested that much in a backup quarterback doesn’t make any sense, especially if you’re up against the salary cap.
Wentz has physical tools that are superior to Garoppolo, allowing Kyle Shanahan to do more on offense. Physical tools only get you so far, though. If you have to second-guess yourself about a quarterback, from how he plays on the field to if he can hold up injury-wise, he’s probably not your guy. In this case, I’d let somebody else fix Wentz if I were the Niners.
As for Darnold:
Carson Wentz isn’t the only quarterback that might be traded. Sam Darnold is the other quarterback whose name has recently been thrown around as a signal-caller on the move. This is more the result of teams inquiring about Darnold rather than the Jets actively shopping their 2018 first-round pick.
Sources tell me they feel it’s a real possibility the Indianapolis Colts end up with Darnold. Yet, the 49ers will also be in the mix.
I’ve watched enough of Darnold to form an opinion. The Jets had next to nothing as far as passing options went this past season, especially early on in the year. Their offensive scheme was a disaster. Darnold makes some ‘wow’ throws that will make you sit up straight. Darnold will follow those throws up with a few stinkers that make you want to turn the game off. Darnold is a terrific athlete that can run out of pressure and turn negative plays into positive plays thanks to his mobility.
All of these are true when it comes to Darnold. It’s easy to understand why a coach like Shanahan would be interested in Darnold. Unlike Wentz, Darnold doesn’t need “fixing,” so to speak. He needs to be reeled in if that makes sense. Essentially, the 23-year-old quarterback needs to know that it’s OK that he’s not going to make the home-run play every time he drops back.
I know if you’re not familiar with Pauline’s name that it’d be easy to dismiss these rumors, but he’s been around for a while and is generally plugged into what’s going on around the league. It’s also understandable to have fatigue on quarterback rumors that are tied to the 49ers.
The team is making calls. It’s naive to think otherwise. Yes, Albert Breer reported that the 49ers weren’t in on Matthew Stafford. That means Vegas, Peter King, and Adam Schefter were wrong. On Sunday, Schefter reported that the 49ers were one of the teams who reached out to Stafford.
If they [Jets] decide to trade him [Darnold], there will be plenty of interest. If the Colts can’t get Wentz, they would make a big push. The San Francisco 49ers would consider him a possible upgrade over Jimmy Garoppolo. And don’t count out the Carolina Panthers.
There are too many connections to ignore the Niners' potential interest in Darnold. If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, then it’s probably....