The 49ers have made three NFC Championship Game appearances in the last four seasons, but adding one more significant piece to the puzzle could help take them one step further -- and win.
As Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to begin negotiations with other NFL teams at 1 p.m. PT Wednesday, Stephen A. Smith and Marcus Spears made a confident prediction on what would happen if San Francisco somehow landed the dual-threat QB.
“First of all, San Francisco should offer Trey Lance, picks, players, whatever they can get for Lamar Jackson,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Wednesday morning. “Number two, if Lamar Jackson was on the San Francisco 49ers, they’re winning it all. They’re winning it all.”
The 49ers already have a sizable quarterback conundrum on their plate with Lance, Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold, but the 49ers, like many other teams, surely have to take a deep look into how they could acquire Jackson.
And as Spears pointed out, nothing is off the table when it comes to 49ers general manager John Lynch.
“I like the San Francisco 49ers, and I know it’s wishful thinking, but I know that John Lynch and I’ve watched him and Kyle Shanahan make some moves that we all didn’t see coming when we think about what the 49ers have done,” Spears said. “And I think about this offense of the San Francisco 49ers with their current quarterback situation, and I know they just signed Sam Darnold, who I think can do well, but could you imagine Lamar Jackson in that situation?”
Spears agreed with Smith’s prediction that the 49ers would win Super Bowl LVIII with Jackson under center, but he knows the offers will be pouring in come 1 p.m.
“Look, we’re in the offseason, which is a beautiful time. But in reality, Lamar Jackson will be available for a team to put an offer sheet in at [1:01 p.m. PT] today,” Spears added. “And if the San Francisco 49ers put that offer sheet in, in my heart I think the Baltimore Ravens are going to match it, if it’s something they think that they can do.
“But ultimately if that thing is not matched and he ends up in the Bay Area, close the door on everybody. … It’s going to be the hardest task in the NFL if Lamar Jackson is playing for the San Francisco 49ers to beat them.”
After not being able to agree on a long-term contract extension, the Ravens placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on their 2019 NFL MVP quarterback, which pays him $32.42 million for one season and allows him to engage in contract negotiations with the rest of the league. If Jackson accepts an offer, Baltimore has five days to match or will receive two first-round picks from that team.
That's where the 49ers find themselves in a pickle.
RELATED: Breaking down 49ers' free-agent losses at start of offseason
San Francisco is without a first-round pick in 2023 after trading up to select Lance with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. But, it's still possible. Baltimore could forego the two first-round picks and work out a different package for Jackson.
The 49ers, nor the NFL media, are ruling out Jackson playing with the Niners in 2023. And while free agency gets football lovers obsessed with pondering about dream scenarios in the league, it is fun to think about how Jackson would elevate an already elite 49ers offense.
The good news is the wait likely won't be much longer.