Insider Predicts 49ers Will Make a Run at $35 Million Pro Bowler in 2024

Kyle Shanahan

Getty Kyle Shanahan on January 1, 2023 in Las Vegas.

The San Francisco 49ers are yet to be officially settled at quarterback with 2023 training camp one month away. One insider, though, is already looking ahead to the 2024 battle — which he believes will involve a $35 million passer and multiple Pro Bowler.

Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk went on The Rich Eisen Show Thursday, June 22 with this bold declaration, even using the words “mark that down:” Florio sees the 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan making a run at Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings. Florio adds that he’s envisioning one other division rival making a run for Cousins.

“I think you’re going to see — unless the Vikings re-sign him by then, and they can’t use the franchise tag on him, the way his contract is structured — you’re going to see a potential tug of war between Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay for Kirk Cousins next March,” Florio told Eisen. “Mark that down.”

Cousins’ Future Remains in Question With the Vikes

Already, the Vikings have cleaned house following their NFC North title run. And it’s come in June.

Four-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook was released June 9 in a salary cap move. Cook’s name has since surfaced as a possibility for former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh with his team, the New York Jets. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Danielle Hunter is another who has heard chatter that he’ll be on the move via a late trade.

Meanwhile, Cousins is facing his own murky future with Minnesota. His current deal expires after the season and will become free to walk via free agency in 2024. He’s set to make $10 million with his base salary in 2023 per Spotrac.

Cousins does have a connection with Shanahan. Not only was the 49ers head coach born in Minneapolis, but Shanahan was the Washington offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013 when Cousins was in his first two seasons in the league. Cousins, during that time, combined for eight touchdown passes and 10 interceptions while going 1-3 as a starter according to Pro Football Reference.

Additionally, it’s also become well known that Shanahan has been interested in Cousins before in a 49ers uniform, which dates back to 2017 when Shanahan first took the head coaching reins in the Bay Area. NFL insider Albert Breer detailed Shanahan’s past interest in Cousins in this February 2018 column in Sports Illustrated.

Then in March 2020, ESPN NFL reporter Dianna Russini further dove into Shanahan’s reported fascination with adding Cousins in his QB room.

Florio Addresses 49ers QB Room in 2023

Another reason for the bold Cousins prediction: the 49ers are facing future changes in the QB room anyway.

Though the team signed Sam Darnold to $4.5 million, the third overall pick of the 2018 draft is only on a one-year deal. However, Florio believes the 49ers have taken a liking to the former New York Jet and Carolina Panther.

“I think they really like Sam Darnold,” Florio explained. “When they started putting out the word, and it was Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area who said that Sam Darnold may be the most talented thrower of the football the 49ers have ever had, and people lost their minds. And it’s like, well, he didn’t make that up.”

Florio even believes that Darnold, not Brock Purdy, will be the eventual starter as Purdy continues to heal from his ulnar collateral ligament surgery on his throwing elbow.

Read More