From their first rumored interest in Tom Brady in 2019 to Matthew Stafford in 2020 to all the rumored destinations for Jimmy Garoppolo last offseason, the 49ers have been heavy in the quarterback rumors. That’s what makes the recent rumors tying the 49ers to Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers unsurprising.
Mike Florio mentioned on his podcast that “at the scouting combine, there was some chatter,” regarding the 49ers acquiring Kirk Cousins via trade.
The report’s timing is interesting for two reasons: 1. The combine was a month ago, and 2) Minnesota restructured Cousins’ contract in March with a dead cap hit of $38.8 million if traded. A trade could benefit the Vikings this year if it happens after June 1, where Cousins’ dead cap number would defer $28 million to the cap in 2024, saving $10 million in 2023.
A trade for Cousins either before or after June 1 to the 49ers wouldn’t make sense. With Cousins scheduled to hit free agency after the 2023 season and rumors swirling that the Vikings could draft his replacement in the upcoming draft. Why would the 49ers burn draft picks on a player who will likely be available next offseason?
Kyle Shanahan has been interested in Cousins after their time in Washington, and the rumors of Shanahan’s interest in Cousins beginning when the 49ers hired him in 2017. While a trade now would solve the 49ers’ quarterback problems, it would be cheaper for Minnesota and San Francisco – in terms of draft picks – to wait for Cousins to hit free agency.
The Rodgers rumor is easier to place. Craig Carton of FS1 mentioned on his show that the 49ers and Packers have had conversations regarding Rodgers, as the Packers’ talks with the Jets have seemingly stalled. Carton also said the 49ers’ offer includes a pair of third-round picks and their 2024 first-round pick.
The 49ers have been tied to Rodgers for about 20 years, but their interest has resurfaced over the last few years. Rodgers even said he intends to play for the Jets next season, and his time in Green Bay appears to be over. So, where do the 49ers come in?
The Jets reportedly haven’t met Green Bay’s asking price on the quarterback, leading to a delay in the trade. That’s where the 49ers’ rumored conversations play a role. This could be that Shanahan and John Lynch are opportunists, seeing a chance to possibly slide in and acquire the quarterback if the rumor is the truth, or the Packers could be trying to force the Jets’ hand if the rumor is just that, a rumor.
The rumored interest in Rodgers shouldn’t be seen as a negative in their view of either Trey Lance or Brock Purdy, but more to have a quick solution to a position that has plagued the 49ers the last few seasons. Although, the possibility of acquiring Rodgers is slim – especially when his cap number is taken into consideration – but the interest from the 49ers makes sense, more than the rumored interest in Cousins.
All this hubbub about the 49ers’ quarterback situation has almost become a new normal for Shanahan and Lynch. Even after talking about the benefits of having two rookie contracts gives to roster building, the rumors persist. Despite the noise, don’t expect much more movement from the 49ers at quarterback.