NBC Sports

49ers hope to find next Josh Allen after getting diced up by Bills QB

NBC Sports

The 49ers want the next Josh Allen all for themselves.

If it were only that simple.

Allen was the third of four quarterbacks selected in the top 10 of the 2018 draft. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold were chosen at Nos. 1 and 3. The Buffalo Bills took Allen at No. 7.

The 10th pick that year was Josh Rosen, who is with his third NFL organization as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad.

There are no sure things, but it seems as if 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has widened his focus for evaluating quarterbacks.

The new breed of NFL quarterback -- Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray and Allen, just to name a few -- will give the 49ers plenty to consider when they chart their course at the position in the offseason.

The 49ers have seen it up close in a painful fashion within the past 12 months against Mahomes, Jackson, Murray and Allen.

They experienced it on Monday night with Allen, who tore the 49ers’ pass defense to pieces in the Bills’ 34-24 victory in Glendale, Arizona.

Allen rushed for only 11 yards, but he did plenty of work with his legs to escape the 49ers’ pass rush whenever defensive coordinator Robert Saleh dialed up pressure. Allen completed 80 percent of his pass attempts for 375 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions against a thoroughly confounded 49ers’ pass defense.

 

The 49ers have nobody at the game’s most-important position who even compares.

That is not to say that the 49ers must move on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason. But we can all be sure Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will give this topic serious discussion when the season is over and the organization can easily get out from under Garoppolo’s contract.

The 49ers could cut ties with Garoppolo to save $24.1 million in cap space in 2021. The cap will fall somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million due to NFL revenue losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shanahan has been calling plays as an offensive coordinator in the NFL since 2008. He has always seemed to be partial to traditional drop-back passers, but he made it work when Robert Griffin was a rookie in Washington. Shanahan re-designed his offense to conform to the skills of a college read-option quarterback.

But a lot has changed since those days, and the mobile quarterbacks who are changing the game have more than just one way to beat defenses. The NFL is being populated by quarterbacks with immense arm talent who also happen to be exceptionally mobile and athletic.

 Download and subscribe to the 49ers Talk Podcast

Shanahan spoke earlier this season about noticing a dramatic change in the quarterbacks who have been coming into the NFL in recent years.

“I think some of the challenges over the last, at least in my career, is you get some of these unbelievable athletes who've never had to sit in a pocket and really go through that because they could just win games in Pop Warner just running around,” Shanahan said.

And it would not stop there, Shanahan observed. Those same players who were youth football stars could to go high school and dominate, and then use the same style of play to have successful college careers at major programs.

“Then eventually you get in the NFL and there's times that you've got to do that and it's really tough,” Shanahan said. “But I think there's more and more guys coming out who have been doing both forever. When you have that, then you've got a chance to do both and that's why you can see that the league is finding more and more of those guys."

RELATED: Assessing 49ers' 2021 QB options: Jones, Trask or Jimmy G?

The 49ers have won a lot of games (24) with Garoppolo at quarterback since his arrival in a trade from New England in 2017. But Garoppolo has also missed a lot of games (19) due to injuries.

It makes no sense for the 49ers to replace Garoppolo if they are unable to make a corresponding move that supplies them with an upgrade at quarterback.

But it is only reasonable to believe after experiencing the difficulties of attempting to defend Allen and others of his ilk, the 49ers will look for ways to catch up on this quarterback movement.