In today’s links, you’ll read more about the 49ers QB situation as everyone continues to weigh in, a few potential surprise cuts, and a ‘22 mock, you heard that right, mock draft.
Can we classify the 49ers’ trade up to No. 3 to select quarterback Trey Lance as their best offseason move? No, I don’t think we can do that just yet. We can certainly say it was the 49ers’ boldest offseason move, and one of the boldest moves in franchise history. But Lance has to pan out for the move to earn a gold stamp of approval, and that’ll take time. For now, we can treat it as a tantalizing risk to potentially maximize both the short-term (the 49ers are keeping Jimmy Garoppolo) and the long-term prospects of the franchise. The 49ers’ actual best move of the offseason was their decision to invest heavily in the offensive line. They re-signed left tackle Trent Williams to record money, used an unusually high second-round draft pick on right guard Aaron Banks and finished the beef-up by selecting versatile lineman Jaylon Moore. This investment was necessary and relatively foolproof, as it should benefit both Garoppolo and Lance. — David Lombardi
Lance, meanwhile, joins a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations and, more than that, begins his NFL career behind a quarterback who was in the Super Bowl just two seasons earlier. The 49ers have consistently signaled that Garoppolo is comfortably ahead of Lance and that they would be fine if the veteran is the season-long starter.
That could change, of course, but the team has the luxury of doing what it couldn’t do with Smith — allowing a highly drafted rookie quarterback to soak in the NFL for a season before he takes over a team.
Given that we’re still a few months out from the 2021 college football season, it’s nearly impossible to project draft positions for most players. Injuries happen, players go back to school, performances on the field can buoy or sink a player’s stock. The 49ers used their lone pick in the Draft Wire two-round projections on Northwestern safety Brandon Joseph.
The more jarring thing is that San Francisco’s first pick in the two-round mock doesn’t come until No. 60.
This isn’t a surprise, and picking 60 means the 49ers made the playoffs. Still, after a number of years where the draft was such a vital part of the team’s roster construction, they’ll now be without a first-round pick, and won’t pick in the top 50 if they make it back to the playoffs.
One of the biggest aspects of the offseason that has been underreported is the continuing conflicting reports about the 49ers starting quarterback position. That begs the question how closely aligned are 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, General Manager John Lynch and CEO Jed York regarding the impending quarterback competition? All reports from the 49ers have been that the team is aligned going into the season but there have been several instances throughout the off season that indicate a divide.
Lynch has been a steadfast supporter of Garoppolo ever since the 49ers acquired him in 2017 via trade. This offseason, Lynch has continued to praise Garoppolo’s ability and stated that he is the starter of the 49ers and has remained in the team’s plans for the upcoming season. He also reiterated that the 49ers would not rush Lance to play until he was fully ready to help the 49ers contend for a Super Bowl.
No. 2: 49ers Left Guard Laken Tomlinson
Unlike Jaquiski Tartt, veteran left guard Laken Tomlinson has been one of the Niners’ most reliable players ever since he was acquired back in 2017, missing just that one game that year.
Also 29 years old, Tomlinson has been effective over the four-year span in San Francisco, if not overly flashy. But there are reasons to suspect the 49ers could consider moving on in an attempt to get both younger and cheaper along the offensive line.
For starters, 2021 is effectively a contract year for Tomlinson with his three additional years all voided, per Over the Cap. He’s scheduled to earn $6.59 million this year but there’s zero in guaranteed money, and things tend to get weird for players when their guarantees run out.