49ers Still a Team to Watch in QB Trade Sweepstakes

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Snakebitten by injuries to a degree beyond belief, the San Francisco 49ers cannot be ruled out of the quarterback trade sweepstakes with the NFL draft three weeks away.

That’s the theory by some, and it chiefly applies to Aaron Rodgers, who has yet to join the New York Jets via trade, although the Green Bay Packers quarterback has stated his intention to welcome the trade.

49ers Still a Team
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Rodgers told The Pat McAfee Show on March 15 — three weeks ago — his Jets plan, “I made it clear that my intention was to play for the New York Jets.”

49ers Still a Team to Watch in QB Trade Sweepstakes

And then nothing happened, at least not publicly. The Packers and Jets appear to be stuck on trade compensation where Green Bay feels it should receive at least a 1st-Rounder for Rodgers’ services, and the Jets aren’t in the mood for such a pricetag.

Well, insert the QB-hungry 49ers — apparently.

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By way of FS1’s Craig Carton, Pro Football Talk advanced a Rodgers-49ers theory Wednesday, “If the Packers-Jets deal falls apart, the 49ers could pursue Rodgers, with a pair of third-round picks offered this year and a first-rounder in 2024. The 49ers are an intriguing team to mention in this context.”

“Two years ago, it was the 49ers who called the Packers regarding whether they’d trade Rodgers to San Francisco the day before the draft. The Packers quickly said no. The news of that eleventh-hour effort hit the fan as draft day unfolded. More recently, it’s been believed that the Packers would not want to trade Rodgers to another NFC team, and specifically not to the 49ers,” PFT’s Mike Florio added.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) participate in training camp on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

The 49ers signed Sam Darnold in free agency, so the QB room westerly includes Trey Lance, Brock Purdy, and Darnold — and nobody knows who will start Week 1. Lance is probably the safest bet because of his draft stock from 2021. But then PurdyMania took the NFL by storm a few months ago, and why would any team yank the rug out from underneath a promising prospect?

Of course, Rodgers is a surer thing than all three of those quarterbacks combined, so San Francisco is evidently a lurker to monitor amid the unending Rodgers saga.

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Too, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said in 2021 about Minnesota Vikings QB1 Kirk Cousins, his former coworker, “To say that my prototypical guy is someone like Kirk Cousins. I mean, that’s just, everyone knows my history with Kirk. We drafted him in the 4th round in Washington.”

“I got to coach him for three games. And then, we were fired, I left, I thought we’d have a chance to get him [in San Francisco] in free agency, and I would have loved to have him in free agency until Jimmy came along the year before. Because I thought we could have won with him, just like Minnesota has,” Shanahan added two years ago.

PFT claimed last week that teams discussed Cousins trades at the NFL Combine and subtly linked San Francisco to Minnesota, a theory that has twisted in the wind for about three years.

Cousins is scheduled to become a free agent in 2024, and the 49ers can sign him on the open market then. But until that happens or a Rodgers trade to New York finalizes, the 49ers are a fringe team to watch for any big-name quarterback swaps.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.