Injuries ravaged and ruined the San Francisco 49ers’ plans of defending their NFC Championship crown from 2020 in 2021. The injuries started early and carried throughout the year. And while injuries affect a team regardless, when it’s your best players getting hurt, it makes it all the more difficult. Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, George Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo, the list goes on and on. It was a snake-bitten year for the 49ers, who will now look to fight back in 2021 in a brutally tough NFC West division. After the first flurry of NFL free agency, there’s still plenty of work to be done with this 49ers roster.
San Francisco was aggressive in solidifying its offensive line in free agency. The 49ers brought back Trent Williams on a massive deal and added three-time second-team All-Pro center, Alex Mack. This, adding to a group that was already pretty good to start with, will make life comfortable in the pocket for whoever is under center for San Francisco in 2021.
The 49ers have made other moves that don’t have the zest or flare of other teams who are bringing in star wide receivers or backing up a Brinks truck for a quarterback like Dallas did for Dak Prescott. But there are moves that are essential to operations for San Francisco in finding success once again. Transactions like resigning stud fullback Kyle Juszczyk and bringing back Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley to make sure the secondary doesn’t fall apart. Those are quiet moves that will keep the foundation strong in San Francisco.
One big need and one big question remain though: quarterback. What’s the plan?
While they obviously won’t admit it, it’s become more and more apparent that the 49ers’ future plans at quarterback don’t revolve around Jimmy Garoppolo. They’ve been rumored to have kicked the tires on quarterbacks all over the map including Deshaun Watson, Matthew Stafford (before the trade), Kirk Cousins, Gardner Minshew, and many still bring up the possibility of them drafting a quarterback early on in 2021.
For what is widely considered the most important position in the NFL, maybe in all of sports, the 49ers need to figure out what they’re going to do. Odds are that they will likely roll with Garoppolo next season but after that, it becomes blurrier. And things can change fast. When you’re rumored to have discussed internally a plethora of different quarterback options, it’s hard to imagine it’s all just being made up out of nowhere.
San Francisco has the talent, the scheme, and the coaching to succeed, regardless of who will be taking snaps under center for the team. Kyle Shanahan is an offensive guru, and his scheme is working in the Bay Area. The 49ers have one of, if not the best, tight ends in the entire league in George Kittle. They’ve worked with a bunch of different running backs shuffling through a rotation for a couple of years now that have all shown flashes of brilliance. The 49ers have everything a quarterback could want. They just need to answer the question of the quarterback itself.
What started as a question for the 49ers morphed into doubts about Garoppolo and has now become a flat-out need for San Francisco. What they do at the quarterback position in 2021 will likely impact how the dominoes fall for the franchise for years to come.