Injuries devastated and ruined the San Francisco 49ers’ plans to defend their NFC Championship crown beginning in 2020 in 2021. Injuries started early and lasted throughout the year. And while injuries affect a team regardless, when your best players get injured, things get even more difficult. Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, the list goes on and on. It was a snake-bitten year for the 49ers, who will now look to fight in 2021 in a brutally tough NFC West division. After the NFL’s first wave of free agency, there is still a lot of work to be done with this 49ers roster.
San Francisco was aggressive in solidifying its offensive line in free agency. The 49ers brought back Trent Williams in a massive deal and added three-time second-team All-Pro center Alex Mack. This, coupled with a group that was already good enough to start with, will make life comfortable in the pocket for anyone in downtown San Francisco in 2021.
The 49ers have made other moves that don’t have the enthusiasm or enthusiasm of other teams that are bringing in star receivers or backing a Brinks truck for a quarterback like Dallas did for Dak Prescott. But there are moves that are essential for San Francisco operations to be successful again. Transactions like giving up fullback stud Kyle Juszczyk and bringing back Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley to make sure the secondary doesn’t collapse. Those are quiet moves that will keep the foundations strong in San Francisco.
However, there remains a great need and a great question: the quarterback. What’s the plan?
While they obviously won’t admit it, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the 49ers’ future plans as a quarterback don’t revolve around Jimmy Garoppolo. They are rumored to have kicked the tires at quarterbacks all over the map, including Deshaun Watson, Matthew Stafford (before the trade), Kirk Cousins, Gardner Minshew, with many still raising the possibility of them drafting a quarterback early. from 2021..
For what is considered the most important position in the NFL, perhaps in all sports, the 49ers need to figure out what they are going to do. They will most likely face Garoppolo next season, but after that, it gets fuzzier. And things can change quickly. When he’s rumored to have discussed a plethora of different quarterback options internally, it’s hard to imagine that it was all made up out of thin air.
San Francisco has the talent, scheme and training to be successful, regardless of who will take the snapshots in the center of the team. Kyle Shanahan is an offensive guru and his plan is working in the Bay Area. The 49ers have one of, if not the best, tight ends in the entire league in George Kittle. They’ve worked with a ton of different running backs in a rotation for a couple of years and they’ve all shown flashes of brilliance. The 49ers have everything a quarterback could want. They just need to answer the question from the quarterback himself.
What started as a question for the 49ers has morphed into questions about Garoppolo and has now become an absolute necessity for San Francisco. What they do at the quarterback position in 2021 is likely to affect how the dominoes fall for the franchise in the years to come.