The 49ers (1-13) are not exactly sure who will be running the team’s personnel and who will be coaching on the sidelines come 2017.
But one universally agreed on sentiment: This team has to try and find a new answer at the quarterback position. Colin Kaepernick (15 touchdowns, 3 interceptions) hasn’t been the main problem, but he kind of is who is at this point of his career: A random playmaker with severe accuracy issues.
Under the assumption that Chip Kelly stays for a second season, ESPN Insider John Clayton has two ideas for a new signal-caller in 2017: Tyrod Taylor and Nick Foles.
Here’s the excerpt:
If Taylor leaves Buffalo, where could he go? One option is San Francisco, where Chip Kelly is expected to continue as the coach for a second season, even if the 49ers fire general manager Trent Baalke. Kelly likes Kaepernick, who likely will void his contract after the season, so there’s a chance he could come back at the right price. But I think Taylor makes sense for Kelly and the 49ers as a quarterback with running ability whom Kelly can try to build his offense around.
Kelly could also bring in Foles, who will almost certainly be released by the Chiefs because he’s owed $10.7 million. That’s far too expensive for a backup. Foles would be solid insurance for the 49ers in case Taylor doesn’t work out. Under Kelly in 2013, Foles had an incredible 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions with the Eagles.
I’m not 100 percent opposed to the Taylor option, but he is not the pocket passer that’s virtually required when trying to find a franchise quarterback. The Bills have a 14-13 record when Taylor starts, but then again, only the Saints and Falcons have scored more touchdowns this season than Buffalo. If Taylor’s the choice the 49ers make, it’ll spawn heavy debate as to whether he’s the actual answer or another bridge quarterback.
Taylor’s stats this season: 14 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 2,694 passing yards, 520 rushing yards, 86.6 quarterback rating. Those are not exactly ideal for a quarterback who signed a five-year, $90 million deal in the offseason — although it’s easily voidable for Buffalo. The 27-year-old is 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. Can he go play-for-play with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson in the postseason? Likely not.
I’d be okay with the Nick Foles option, as long as he was clearly the established backup to a rookie quarterback. As Clayton pointed out, nobody will ever forget Foles’ incredible 27 to two touchdown/interception ratio from 2013 — but he was flanked by DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. If Foles somehow ends up starting in 2017, it will not be considered an upgrade over Kaepernick.
If Kelly has plans to stick around the 49ers in 2018 and beyond, it would honestly behoove him to push for a rookie quarterback in the first round. That would give the 49ers a built-in reason for losing and at the end of the day in a rebuilding effort, job security takes priority over winning.