Every day, it seems a new NFL team is put through the Lamar Jackson test. Quarterback situations and cap space are thoroughly analyzed to see if that franchise will be an ideal destination for the star quarterback. Friday, the microscope was placed on the San Francisco 49ers, who face a bit of uncertainty regarding their QB room.
Their head coach, Kyle Shanahan did his best to dodge any questions about Jackson and a potential link to the Niners. “I’m not allowed to talk about players on other rosters,” Shanahan said, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, despite Jackson having the explicit right to negotiate with other teams. Eventually, he opened up a little.
“Everyone knows Lamar’s skill set. Lamar’s a stud. I’m sure they’ll work it out there. But Lamar’s a great player,” Shanahan said. “We’ve got three quarterbacks we’re pretty good with right now, and we’re pretty set with how we’ve built our roster salary cap-wise.”
San Francisco currently has Brock Purdy (just underwent UCL surgery), Trey Lance (returning from a season-ending ankle injury) and Sam Darnold (has a career 59.7 completion percentage). There are obviously concerns and question marks with all three, some of which even pertain to Jackson. Though, the 2019 MVP surpasses them in upside based on the talent he has flashed in the past.
The problem is the end of Shanahan’s last response. The 49ers would have to make significant maneuvers to clear the expected cap space it will take to sign Lamar Jackson. They would probably also have to part with two first-round draft picks. The organization has willingly taken a conservative approach at quarterback in the past but have shown more desperation of late when they traded up to get Lance.
It is possible the front office would go all in for the Super Bowl by giving Jackson the massive contract he so earnestly desires. The 49ers could be just another dead end, but Shanahan’s reluctance to speak on the Ravens QB has at least made this the most interesting development yet.