For those hoping the 49ers move on from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, an intriguing possibility became more likely this week.
The Detroit Lions axed much maligned head coach Matt Patricia after another disappointing loss on Thanksgiving. With the Lions essentially bottoming out this season, a full rebuild is on the horizon, and now discussions are ongoing around the league regarding what the Lions should do with veteran quarterback Matt Stafford, who will be 33 before the 2021 season.
According to one NFL offensive coach, the 49ers should trade for him if he’s made available.
“They would win a Super Bowl,” an offensive coach said via Mike Sando of The Athletic. “Stafford would be in a real organization finally. He would bend to Shanahan and that offense because there is such a history of success with that system. And Stafford would know he’s not going to get hit in the head all the time like in Detroit.”
Imagining Stafford as the 49ers’ QB is all well and good, but acquiring him wouldn’t necessarily be all that easy. First off, Stafford has a cap hit of $34 million next season and nearly $28 million in 2022. That’s more than the $26.4 million and $27 million that Garoppolo is owed in the next two seasons, and would likely hinder the 49ers’ ability to re-sign a few of their many upcoming free agents that includes Trent Williams and nearly the entire secondary.
It all depends on what the Lions want in return and how much the 49ers value a quarterback nearing the end of his prime. Stafford’s arm talent is fairly undeniable, and he’s still putting up numbers (261.5 yards per game, 18 touchdowns to 8 picks, 92.7 rating) on a very questionable Lions team.
Sure the 49ers as currently constructed with Stafford could be Super Bowl hopefuls, but would what they lose in bringing on Stafford keep them in that conversation?