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Best San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Options for 2021

The best San Francisco 49ers quarterback options is a difficult question, and the answer might not be Jimmy Garoppolo. Despite leading them to a Super Bowl in the 2019 season, Garoppolo has found his value being questioned in California. Whether or not he is the best quarterback option has been severely questioned. The former New England Patriot made the move to San Francisco before the 2017 season and became their face of the franchise. After one bad year, where he was injured, everyone seems ready to toss him to the wolves. 

In an offseason where there are plenty of choices for the quarterback position, San Francisco finds themselves spoiled as they hunt through the best possible 49ers quarterback options. Is the best choice really making the move away from Jimmy Garoppolo? In the games that he has started as a 49er, he has a record of 24-9 (including the playoffs). He has only lost one playoff game which unfortunately was the Super Bowl. 

In the one full season he has managed in California, he threw 27 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 102. He led his team all the way to the Super Bowl and had a lead halfway through the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, he threw the lead away and couldn’t bring a fifth Lombardi to San Francisco. The 49er’s offense was very run-heavy and Garoppolo certainly benefitted from that. Garoppolo was able to manage the games well and knew how Kyle Shanahan wanted to run the offense. 

The number of injuries and the inability to take his game to the next level has rightly raised a few questions. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the best option at quarterback is for John Lynch and the rest of the management to move on. However, if they were to move on, who would be the best 49ers quarterback options? Let’s have a look at potential quarterbacks for the San Francisco 49ers in 2021.

Best 49ers Quarterback Options

In no particular order at all let’s take a look at four of the best quarterbacks John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan might want to consider if they replace Garoppolo.

Deshaun Watson

This shouldn’t take much convincing. In 2020, Deshaun Watson led the league with 4,823 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes. He did all of this despite being sacked 49 times. Only one less than the most sacked quarterback in the league.

Deshaun Watson has made it very clear that he would like a move out of Houston. Now with the news that JJ Watt has been released, he will only want out more. It would be expensive for San Francisco to get Watson, but an expense that would be worth it. San Francisco could get their quarterback for the next ten years if they pulled the trigger on a deal. Despite it costing them a lot, the 49er’s would get one of the best quarterback talents in the league. 

49ers quarterback options
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 03: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans jumps over Ronnie Harrison #36 of the Jacksonville Jaguars for a touchdown was is later disallowed after review during the NFL match between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on November 03, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

Watson has been one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league since he was drafted. With Kyle Shanahan’s offensive mind, a plethora of offensive talent, and one of the best running games in the NFL, Deshaun Watson could lead the 49er’s to another Super Bowl. Expect to hear plenty of rumors this offseason as he’s at the top of the list for the 49ers quarterback options.

Sam Darnold

Before the 2018 draft, Kyle Shanahan was very high on Sam Darnold. If it hadn’t been for the fact that they brought Jimmy Garoppolo in a year earlier, Darnold may have been playing in California. How things could have been different for Darnold. Since he became a New York Jet, Sam Darnold has been playing under Adam Gase and Todd Bowles. Pairings that did not excel. He hasn’t had consistency and has lacked in offensive weapons. Under Kyle Shanahan however, he would have plenty of options to throw to. More importantly, he would have a head coach who actually values him as a quarterback. 

The former top-three pick came into the league with a lot of hype but has failed to build on it. San Francisco needs to decide if they have seen enough positives from Darnold to take a risk on him. Luckily, it is a pretty cheap risk. In 2021, Darnold would only cost the 49er’s about $920,000. Quite a difference from Garoppolo’s 21 million dollar cap hit. 

A young quarterback who hasn’t had a stable environment since entering the league could thrive under Kyle Shanahan, which is why Darnold is considered one of the 49ers quarterback options. If they can work out a trade with the New York Jets, then both Sam Darnold and San Francisco could find their values rising.

Dak Prescott

If the 49ers do manage to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo they would save 23 million dollars in cap space. Those 23 million dollars could be spent on a star quarterback. Before his injury, Dak Prescott was lighting up the league in the 2020 season. In just five games, he managed 1,856 yards and nine touchdowns. That is 371.2 yards per game. He is an offensive juggernaut and dragged his Dallas Cowboys back into numerous games this season. Despite their poor start to the year, Prescott was not to blame. He was the only player performing well for the Cowboys but was let down in other areas.

49ers quarterback options
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 20: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates a first quarter touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the game at AT&T Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

With the Cowboys seemingly unwilling to sign Dak Prescott to an extended contract, the 49ers could make a move for the star quarterback. The only issue with that could be that Prescott will demand too much money from the 49ers. If Deshaun Watson isn’t available then it might be worth pulling the trigger on Dak Prescott. John Lynch and company firmly believe they are in win-now mode, and to do that they need a star quarterback at the helm. If Dak Prescott joins the 49ers they would become one of the heavy favorites in the NFC West, making Prescott an excellent choice for 49ers quarterback options.

Quarterback From The Draft

With the 12th pick in the draft, it is unlikely that one of the top quarterback talents drops to the 49ers. Unless that happens, I don’t see this being the best 49ers quarterback options. That being said it is still an option that the front office needs to consider. To get one of the best quarterbacks in the draft would mean a trade up. This would likely mean giving up future high picks in the draft. For a team that is built to win now, it is unlikely that they roll the dice on a rookie quarterback. 

The benefit to a rookie quarterback is the amount they cost to be on the team. The downside is the fact they are new to the league. If money is the issue for San Francisco they could get Sam Darnold at a low price and he also brings the added value of being in the league for three years. That would make much more sense as one of the 49ers quarterback options.

Being in win-now mode should make this decision easier for the 49ers. Use the 12th pick in the draft to get another playmaker and then find themselves a quarterback in free agency or through a trade who can lead their team to another Super Bowl.

Thanks for reading my article on the best San Francisco 49ers quarterback options for 2021. For more NFL content, follow me on Twitter @Steelers_Mark and also follow OTH_Football.

Main Image Credit

49ers quarterback options
Sep 20, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) is sacked by New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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