Sunday, October 2, 2022

49ers linked with $18.9 million California-born quarterback

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Though the San Francisco 49ers continued to strengthen their quarterback space after losing Trey Lance with new addition to the practice team, Kurt Benkert, some believe the team could use another arm to really extend its current Super Bowl window to hug.

After starting the year with Jimmy Garoppolo with a consensus top backup quarterback, the team now finds itself with only Benkert and Brock Purdy, the Iowa State quarterback tied with the last pick in the NFL Draft 2022 was selected. For some, this is a solid unit given that few teams start a season with three proven quarterback options, but considering Benkert and Purdy have only played two NFL-level offensive snaps together, the prospect is that every quarterback is a breeze away from playing is a scary affair.

Luckily, in compiling Bleacher Reports “2022 NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 3,” Kristopher Knox chose to leave a Niners quarterback, Garoppolo, off his list and instead list San Francisco as one of the teams most in need The Dallas Cowboys need a new quarterback.

According to Knox, there are two quarterbacks that should be on the Niners’ radar, with Pittsburgh Steelers signal caller Mason Rudolph ranking seventh on his board but being the highest-ranking player standing for John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and others on The most sensible company is none other than Sam Darnold, the former third overall who grew up in Capistrano Beach, California and played college ball at USC.

Although currently with IR, Darnold is expected to return in Week 5 and could be traded to a team willing to accept his $18.9 million guaranteed contract. Given his West Coast pedigree and experience at center, it’s hard to imagine quarterback-needy teams not discussing Darnold at least as an acquirable option, as Knox has suggested, that is, if they can afford his cap hit.

As of today, according to OverTheCap, only one team in the NFL can afford to act for Darnold without sacrificing salary.

The Cleveland Browns, not the 49ers, hold this rare honor.

No, with just $4.38 million below the $208.2 million cap, the Niners would either have to release salary space at a feverish pace with contract reshuffles, which is technically possible but could potentially require multiple willing parties to pull through, or exchange the required amount of money to carry out a legal trade.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your preference – this trade is very unlikely to happen unless Lynch is able to cast some serious cap magic or trick the Carolina Panthers into taking quite a bit of Darnold’s cap -Hit to eat.

While he may not have been as high up on Knox’s board of directors, a trade for Mason Rudolph is far more realistic for the 49ers from a financial standpoint alone.

Rudolph, currently drafted as the Steelers’ third-string quarterback behind captain Mitchell Trubisky and rookie Kenny Pickett, has appeared in 17 games in 10 starts since he was drafted in the third round from Oklahoma State in 2018. He was inactive in each of the team’s first three games of the season, and unless things change anytime soon, he’s expected to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

According to OverTheCap, Rudolph would only cost $3 million to acquire via trade, putting him within the Niners’ price range not only financially, but also providing the experience the team could crave in a backup quarterback.

“The San Francisco 49ers would be a logical place to land for Rudolph now that Trey Lance is out for the season,” Knox wrote for Bleacher Report. “The Niners can win with Garoppolo, but they have limited depth behind them now. Rookie Brock Purdy is the only other quarterback on the roster.”

According to Steelers Depot, Rudolph had great stock, and with his time in Pittsburgh now having the opportunity to tick off the clock before his free hand, a trade to San Francisco could be a welcome change for the 27-year-old quarterback, who seeks a clear path to the field.

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