“They are too active, too aggressive to run it back one more year with someone they don’t have complete trust in,” Lombardi wrote in his piece with The Athletic this week.
Lombardi has narrowed it down to two free-agent quarterbacks that would make the Niners move on from Garoppolo.
The first is New York Jets signal-caller, Sam Darnold.
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Why Sam Darnold?
Lombardi suggests the 49ers would trade the Jets a high second-round pick for Darnold. San Fran currently owns the No. 43 overall pick in the second round.
“Why? Because Darnold fits the profile that Shanahan loves at the position: athletic, can throw moving to his left or right, and has the arm strength to make the defense defend every blade of grass on the field,” wrote Lombardi. “The 49ers could acquire him with a second-round pick and then trade Jimmy G.”
Of course, with such a hot take, Colin Cowherd had to chime in on Lombardi’s comments to simply agree with him.
Some pretty good info from Cowherd re: Darnold, Jimmy, and Watson. pic.twitter.com/qh7E982EJY
— Evan Sowards (@2Evan2Furious) March 6, 2021
“If Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have injuries at all, they wouldn’t be moving off him,” Cowherd said on The Herd. “He’s showed he’s good enough to get to the Super Bowl. He’s a B-quarterback talent that, for a year, when he was healthy, played like an A-minus quarterback under Shanahan.
“Well, Darnold, if you ask any scout, is more athletic than Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s got better raw tools. He’s a little bigger, huskier, more athletic, better arm than Garoppolo. So if Garoppolo can get to a Super Bowl, why can’t Darnold?”
So, who is the second QB? It’s Deshaun Watson, duh.
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Why Deshaun Watson?
Lombardi believes the Niners would want Texans star Deshaun Watson over Donald. But, would they be willing to offer up an arm and a leg for him?
“Would San Francisco want Watson? Yes,” Lombardi said. “Would they want Watson over Darnold? Once again, yes. Would they regret trading for Darnold if two days later they hear Houston is accepting offers for Watson? Another huge yes.”
Watson would cost the Niners a lot, including at least two first-round draft picks and possibly on of their own top talents in return. A Watson trade likely won’t happen until post-June 1st because it would be cheaper for the Texans then, but that would be good news so the Niners wouldn’t have to give up any of their 2021 draft picks.
It’s worth noting that these are just accusations and predictions and that the Niners haven’t made any serious moves (yet) for Darnold or Watson. But, the Niners are on Watson’s “preferred” destinations list.