The 49ers desperately need a new quarterback. But that player may not be new to the NFL. In fact, he could be a journeyman whose signing wouldn’t exactly spark excitement among the 49ers faithful.
With Colin Kaepernick expected to test free agency, and No. 2 QB Blaine Gabbert also poised to leave, new head coach Kyle Shanahan needs an effective passer to guide his offense.
Yet Shanahan said recently that the 49ers know they may have to allow the quarterback position to evolve. He said it may be impossible to bring in a franchise-type quarterback immediately.
For the next couple of years, the 49ers may have to get by with a recycled veteran such as Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo or Matt Schaub, or trade for someone such as Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers will have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, so they could take a gamble on a prospect such as Deshaun Watson of Clemson or Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina, but those players aren’t deemed to be certain successes. With so many roster needs, the 49ers might want to strengthen other positions, get by with a place-holder QB while the team improves and then invest in a better quarterback later.
“It’s too important of a position to make an impulsive move,” Shanahan said in an interview on KNBR. “When you make a decision on a quarterback, you don’t want that to be just a short-term fix. You want to make a commitment to somebody. And in order to do that, you better make sure you’re on the same page with everyone else, you’ve put the time in, you’ve talked to people who have been with these guys. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
Also, the 49ers could use a later pick to bring in a young quarterback after the first round – a less costly gamble. Derek Carr, across the bay, was a second-round pick. Russell Wilson and Joe Montana were third-round picks.
“You’ve got to see what’s available,” Shanahan said on KNBR. “If there is a quarterback there that we believe can match that criteria and we believe he can be a franchise quarterback for us, then, of course, you don’t hesitate on that. But if you don’t see that and there’s other good players – 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."