49ers search for relevance @ NFLRT 2/24



This week the crew talks about what they think the San Francisco 49ers need to do to become relevant again as well as if they need to get their franchise QB in this year’s draft and lots more in the this week’s Roundtable…

Kyle Shanahan
Kyle Shanahan

1)With Colin Kaepernick likely to opt out of his contract in early March and the three other quarterbacks on the 49ers roster about to become free agents, the team is in need of a QB. New HC Kyle Shanahan says there are only about seven franchise QBs in the world. With this in mind Shanahan also says the team… meaning he and new GM John Lynch… won’t hurry into picking the next 49er’s long term QB without some serious homework being done, and, if need be, they could wait until 2018 to solidify the QB spot in the next draft and use this year’s draft.

Or is in his words, “… for if there’s a pass-rusher, if there’s a linebacker, if there’s an O-lineman… whatever it is, you need to get the best player possible who you think will help your team the next 10 years.”

Do you think Shanahan is correct in his assessment of the QB situation both presently in the NFL as well as this year’s draft and do you think he can realistically wait until next year’s draft to find the 49ers nest long term answer at QB?

Chad: I believe he is correct when it comes to Franchise Quarterbacks in the league today. However, the main issue is that drafting a QB is always a crapshoot. You can use the measureables all you want but the results are always iffy at best.

Franchise QBs... few and far between
Franchise QBs… few and far between

Ryan Leaf #2 Pick behind Peyton Manning… terrible career; Tom Brady #199 pick in the 6th round… arguably the GOAT in the league.

Dan: I personally don’t think the 49ers need to particularly address the quarterback situation heavily in this year’s draft. Their team is rather bad. They need a lot of pieces. At this point in time, I’d take the best available player who can help them out for the next several seasons at least. Next year’s draft would be a nice time to approach the quarterback situation.

But, I wouldn’t bypass a quarterback late in the draft, if, I were them. They’re in a tough situation, but, they can always try to get a back-up quarterback from another team. Brett Hundley is rumored to be on the trade block and he’s learned a lot as back-up from Aaron Rodgers, so, he wouldn’t be a bad option.

Also, I agree with Shanahan. There’s about 7-10 quarterbacks in the world who are franchise quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, etc…  And, they aren’t exactly easy to find seeing as how Aaron Rodgers fell to 24th after he was supposed to be a top-five pick and Tom Brady was drafted in the seventh round.

Who is the 49ers' #1?
Who is the 49ers’ #1?

David: Franchise QBs.  Brady, Big Ben, Rodgers, Cam, Brees, Wilson, and, uh, Luck, Carr, Winston/Marcus? Are we sure there are 7? Looks like 6 right now. He must be counting Phillip Rivers.

I would agree that you don’t have to have a franchise QB to win the Super Bowl, but, it sure makes it easier.

The smarter observation is seeing where those 6 QBs came from. Cam was the only first overall pick. Rodgers and Ben were outside the top 10. Brees a free agent. And, Wilson and Brady were deeper in the draft.

What the Niners need? Is a guy that will start for the next decade at a need position… no matter what that position is.  

Earl: I understand what Shanahan is saying, and, honestly, I agree with him. But, good quarterbacks do not become free agents in this league. If, he wants to land that long term answer at QB he has to either draft one, or, develop one to that level.

With that said, I do think the Niners would be smart to start over completely at the position and allow all of their current quarterbacks to leave the team. I do not see Kaepernick as a fit, and, I do not see another QB on the roster as a fit.

Now do they draft one at #2 overall? I don’t think so, unless one of them completely blows them away. As of now, I do not see that happening.  

2) Arizona Cardinal’s GM Steve Keim seems to be reading Kyle Shanahan’s mind as he recently said, “To put this organization in a position to have success for a long time, there’s no doubt that we have to identify a franchise quarterbackThere are probably seven great quarterbacks, 10 you can win with in the NFL, and then everybody else is playing musical chairs. We have to challenge ourselves as evaluators, as coaches, as an organization to find the next guy.”

The Cardinals have the 13th pick in year’s draft, but Keim says… like Shanahan did… unless the Cardinals are convinced a QB is capable of being a franchise QB they probably won’t take a QB in the 1st round.

Arizona is much closer to competing in the NFL for a playoff spot than the 49ers so do they need to make a move in this year’s draft for their next QB, or, can they also wait until next year for their potential franchise QB?

Chad: The Cardinals are in a position to where they can look in the later rounds for a QB (Wilson, Brady) that can be developed  into a great QB.

Steve Keim
Steve Keim

Dan: I think Arizona can’t afford to wait. Larry Fitzgerald is playing another year, so, they need something now. Hit the quarterback position in this draft, but, I wouldn’t pick one of the top quarterbacks available. I just don’t feel too high on any of them, besides Trubisky out of North Carolina. Try to find a quarterback in the 3-5 round range.

David: The Cardinals are in a different position. They add Romo and they are in the playoffs. That’s the move. Then, use the 13th to get a playmaker and try and find a QB in round 2 or 3 to groom.

Earl: I think, Arizona can wait, as their situation is not as dire as San Francisco’s. They have Carson Palmer for at least one more season. And, they could probably survive Drew Stanton being a starter for a season or so.

With that said, I don’t see them needing to take a QB in the first round, but, I would take one in this draft. Especially, since their gamble on Logan Thomas failed. 

3) If, the Pittsburgh Steelers hit Le’Veon Bell with the franchise tag they would pay him $12.4 million this year but then face the problem of what do they do next year when he and Antonio Brown are both facing free agency.

In your opinion is it more important to lock up Brown now to a long-term deal and worry about Bell next year long term? Or, just work something out long-term with Bell now and worry about Brown next year?

Chad: With stars like Bell and Brown any chance to lock them up whether it’s long-term or the tag then you have to use it to keep your chances of winning a title intact.

I think a lot also has to do with how long Big Ben wants to keep playing.

Le'Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell

Dan: What I would do, if I were the Pittsburgh Steelers, is sign Bell to a franchise tag. Then, hit Brown with the franchise tag next season and sign Bell to a multi-year deal. After the 2018 season, I would hit Brown with a multi-year deal offsetting Bell by a year, so you don’t have both of their contracts coming back up again at some point when they’re older and then you would really have to make a tough decision. They’re both players you need to keep on the roster… and… together.

Big Ben is a mystery right now, as seems to be pulling a Brett Favre move on if he’s coming back next season. So, the Steelers need to make sure that whoever does step into that quarterback role (whether it be Big Ben or not) still will have two solid offensive weapons to help.

David: If, I had the best RB in the game I would franchise him every year over giving him a 4-5 year deal that cripples your cap when he declines or drops off a cliff.

NOTE: I’m a Panthers fan. I know about Running Backs dropping off a cliff when they are overpaid in years 3, 4 and 5.  

Earl: I think Antonio Brown is a great wide receiver. I do. But, you have to lock up Le’Veon Bell before Antonio Brown. You absolutely have to.

Bell has a few more seasons of greatness in those legs, and, Brown can be replaced. He can. He may think he’s irreplaceable but it’s easy to replace his production.

Bell? Losing him would absolutely cripple the Steelers offense. So, if, they have to franchise Bell this season, then, fine. But, they can’t worry about keeping Bell and Brown after next season when the answer is easy: You keep Bell at all costs.  

4) What do the Los Angeles Rams need to do to become competitive enough to (1) begin the rebuild of the team and (2) to attract fans once the novelty of them being the new kid on the block wears off? 

Chad: The answer to both parts of the question: Build talent around running back Todd Gurley… Period. You can’t win, if, you can’t score.

Todd Gurley takes a hand off from Jared Goff in week 14
Todd Gurley takes a hand off from Jared Goff in week 14

Dan: The Rams need a lot of work. Their defense isn’t bad, but, I think they need to hit a few spots in this draft. Try to make a splash signing in free agency that will both help the team overall,as well as bring fans to the stadium. Fans don’t want to come, if, there’s a bunch of no-name players on the roster. Especially, during a rebuild.  They will come to see bigger names, as well as a good product.

Getting rid of Jeff Fischer was the best move they could’ve made and that was the ultimate beginning for the Rams. He was HORRIBLE.

David: Second part first. No team has a problem selling out in the NFL when they are 12-0. I don’t care how busy LA is, if the Rams are winning that stadium will be full.

Now. What do they need to do? Fire Jeff Fisher and stop giving away draft picks. They need to draft offensive linemen. All else fails- draft for the offensive line.  

Earl: The Rams, like many teams, needs a quarterback ASAP. If Jared Goff is not the answer, that will hurt because they gave up a lot to get him. But, if, he’s not the guy, then they need to find a guy as soon as possible.

Why? On paper the Rams are not a bad team, but, they need someone to lead them. And, in order to do so they have to get the quarterback position solidified.   

5) The New England Patriots are… obviously… the NFL champs. What do they need to do to attempt to be the repeat Super Bowl winners? 

Chad: Keep Brady and Belichick and then try and find those diamonds in the rough through the draft and the waiver wire or sagacious Belichik trade.

Dan: Honestly, the Patriots need to just do what they always do. Don’t deviate from their path, keep doing what they’re doing and they’ll be perfectly fine.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the winningest QB-coach combination in NFL history
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the winningest QB-coach combination in NFL history

Belichick is a great coach and could coach a five-year-old to look like an All-Pro on that team. Tom Brady will be playing for a couple more seasons, according to him, so, you don’t have to worry about the quarterback situation. I’d trade one of the back-up quarterbacks while their stock is high, though, and get a decent return in picks and/or a player in return as well.

But, really, the Patriots have a nice team and they need to stay with the Patriot way because it obviously has worked extremely well for them as evident by how they’re always at the top of the AFC/NFL.

David: Pray Big Ben Retires. Who else is out there? The next best QB is who? Dalton? Luck has a dumpster fire of a roster, and, the Dolphins can’t understand what the words CAP means.

The AFC is weak, and, if, the Pats keep Jimmy… and Romo stays in Dallas… that’s not changing. The Hoodie can spend the entire year watching tape on NFC teams.

Earl: Maintain the course.

Look at the division. The only real challenger to their dominance in the AFC East is the Miami Dolphins. The Bills and Jets both have QB issues and that alone should hold both of them back.

The rest of the AFC does not pose a challenge to the Pats right now. So, as long as they keep plugging along they can be back in the Super Bowl picture next season and for the next couple of seasons to come.

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