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Chris Simms has three ideas of how the 49ers could upgrade at QB this offseason

Sign a better backup, draft, or Darnold

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

NBC Sports’ Chris Simms has been in the news during the past week as Simms released his QB rankings for the upcoming NFL Draft and had BYU’s Zach Wilson as the top quarterback and Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond rated higher than Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.

I don’t see the big deal as Simms is allowed to have his own opinion. Most of the time, people are regurgitating what they see from others anyway when they come up with “their” rankings, so Kudos to Simms for being bold enough to stick to his guns.

On Monday morning, Simms listed three ways the 49ers can upgrade their quarterback position this offseason:

  • Sign a better backup for Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Draft their new guy
  • Trade for Sam Darnold

Let’s go through each option. Again.

Fixing the backup QB situation

This is a scenario where more than one thing can be true. Improving your backup, so you don’t have to worry about blowing “winnable games” if Jimmy G is out, as Simms said, makes sense. The 49ers lost to the Eagles, Washington, Dallas, and Seattle twice this past season. San Francisco wins comfortably if they had a competent starter for four quarters in each of those games.

Kyle Shanahan probably has nightmares for all of the throws and plays left on the field from the 49ers 2020 regular season. The other thing that is true here is that we will never have to talk about a backup quarterback so long as we don’t have to worry about the starter missing time.

I’ve been writing about football since 2013, and I’ve spent more time discussing backup quarterbacks during the past couple of months than in each of the previous seasons combined. A backup quarterback should be relied on for two to three games, at most.

Draft their guy

Simms QB rankings go like this:

  • Wilson
  • Lawrence
  • Mac Jones
  • Mond
  • Fields
  • Lance

He believes each of those quarterbacks is worthy of being taken in the first round. We can count on five of those players going in the top-15 picks and maybe Mond sneaking in at the end of the first round.

For every available option, investing in a quarterback with their first pick feels like the best move the 49ers could make now and in the future. It’s not often you get two swings at a franchise quarterback. San Francisco had a chance to do so in 2017 and here again in 2021. Wilson, Lawrence, Fields, and Lance all qualify as franchise quarterbacks. I’m lower on Jones, but I believe he’ll be a starter in the NFL.

There’s this thought that Shanahan is against a mobile quarterback as if he didn’t have a ton of success with RGIII back in 2012. Also, Shanahan has said multiple times that he’s evolved his thought process on evaluating quarterbacks.

It’ll cost you to move up, but it may cost you even more down the line if you pass on another franchise QB in a draft. I’d have no issue trading up to one of the top spots to select Wilson or Fields.

Trade for Darnold

Peter King, Albert Breer, and a couple of other national writers mentioned Darnold to the 49ers on Monday morning. I say no for a few reasons. One is Darnold’s injury history. Two, he’s a turnover machine that has shown no signs of improvement in that category.

Rich Madrid is working on a QB piece where he charted all of Darnold’s career interceptions. Thirty-two of Darnold’s 39 career interceptions were his fault. That doesn’t count all of the other head-scratching decisions Darnold made to throw the ball.

Yes, he’s more athletic, has a bigger arm, is cheaper and younger than Jimmy G. That doesn’t guarantee you’re getting a better on-field product than Garoppolo.