Last week I wrote that the 49ers must trade with Jimmy Garoppolo before team activity begins. While this would make sense from the point of view of anointing the quarterback they are taking with the third selection in the draft as the new head of the future locker room, it does lead to the question of how the position is to be filled.
As of 2018, the 49ers have had three quarterbacks on the active roster, and a Garoppolo move would leave the team with only Josh Rosen and Josh Johnson as veterans in addition to the rookie.
Let’s take a look at some options that would give the 49ers another seasoned quarterback.
Gardner Minshew – The 49ers have been rumored to have an interest in trading for Minshew this off-season. This makes sense considering the San Francisco coaching team has history with Minshew and coached him during the 2019 Senior Bowl
Minshew has proven to be a decent option despite playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 23 career games, Minshew has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes with 37 touchdowns on just 11 interceptions. Despite the impressive total score, the bigger question is his ability to hold onto football. Minshew fumbled the ball 18 times and lost it four times.
Jacksonville will have its own rookie quarterback. So why not keep Minshew to himself? With the Urban Meyer acquisition, Jacksonville is looking for quarterbacks with more movement skills, and Minshew no longer fits on the offensive.
If the 49ers could pick Jacksonville’s Minshew for a mid-round selection, he would be better than any other available quarterback option and his salary is low. If Minshew competed with the rookie during training camp, it would create the first real quarterback competition in San Francisco in over a decade and could bring out the best for the team as it moves forward.
Teddy Bridgewater – The 49ers have also been linked to Bridgewater this off-season, and with the Panthers hitting a deal to get Sam Darnold, it’s likely that they will try to deviate from the Minnesota Vikings’ earlier first round of voting.
Unlike Minshew, Bridgewater will raise more draft capital and receive a higher salary. It will likely require a round 2 selection in 2022 to bring in Bridgewater, and with the 49ers not already drafting their round one selection, it may not make sense to do so.
Here’s how it works: In order to be able to make the trade for Bridgewater, the 49ers first made a trade with Jimmy Garoppolo. If the 49ers can get a package similar to what the Jets just got for Sam Darnold, a sixth in 2021, along with a second and fourth in 2022, the 49ers could get a veteran while reducing the salary cap, who played at a high level in the NFL.
When Drew Brees was lost for five games in 2019, Bridgewater was able to fill in all five starts and lead New Orleans to victory. Bridgewater has proven that he can win games when he has a good team around him. And if your quarterback isn’t Tom Brady, that’s all you can hope for.