Whether it’s here on Niners Nation or during podcasts, one of the things we have preached is that actions speak louder than words. The smartest way to evaluate a team is to judge them by what they do rather than what they say. Now that the 49ers have given Fred Warner a considerable amount of money, one thing is clear: This team thinks they can win a Super Bowl this year, regardless of who starts at quarterback.
No team has been on more of an emotional roller coaster over the last five years than the 49ers. In 2017 they acquired their potential franchise quarterback and closed the season with five straight wins. In 2018 that QB got hurt, and the season was over by Week 3. The year after that, Jimmy Garoppolo stayed healthy, and the team went to the Super Bowl. That offseason Tom Brady almost became the new starting quarterback. As for last year, well, you know that story, and after that debacle, they made the biggest draft trade in team history for another potential franchise quarterback.
The point of that trip down nightmare lane is to say that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are fully aware of how fast things change in the NFL. Before they inevitably change again, this team is doing everything in its power to win its sixth championship.
(Levin Black and I dove into this topic in today’s Niners Nation Gold Standard Podcast. Click below for more)
In George Kittle, Trent Williams, and Fred Warner, San Francisco employs three of the highest-paid players at their respective positions in the NFL. Two of those contracts, Williams and Warner, came this offseason. Teams that are building for the future do not commit that kind of cash to multiple players unless they fully believe this year’s Lombardi Trophy is within reach. Particularly when one of those players is a frequently-injured tight end, and the other is a 33-year-old left tackle who hasn’t played a full season since 2013.
Super Bowl contenders, however, do commit that kind of cash to lock down what they see as the core pieces of a championship-level roster. Super Bowl contenders do bring back multiple veteran players that already know the system on one-year deals. Super Bowl contenders do mortgage multiple years of first-round picks to draft the missing piece in a potentially explosive offense.
The 49ers know Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury history. They know that history says Trey Lance will be forced into starting at some point even if he doesn’t win the job right out of training camp.
They just don’t care because they’ve built a team they think has enough redundancies to withstand anything the cruel winds of circumstance can throw their way.