Kyle Shanahan and Kirk Cousins have a history dating back to their days together with the Washington Football Team. Cousins plays for the Minnesota Vikings now, and has been suggested by some as a potential 49ers target to supplant Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback next season.
NFL Media analyst Ian Rapoport joined the “Pat McAfee Show” on Monday to weigh in on the 49ers’ quarterback situation, saying he doesn’t envision the team making a move for Cousins this offseason.
“I would never say anything is impossible as you guys know,” Rapoport said. “This NFL world taught us anyone can be traded. That one I would be very surprised about. For one, I am not sure that it benefits the Vikings. I don't know if Cousins is an upgrade over Jimmy G. When they’re both healthy, are we sure that Cousins is that big of an upgrade for what it's going to cost?”
While the 49ers were reportedly in pursuit of Matthew Stafford, he has since been shipped to the Los Angeles Rams. The trade packages to acquire superstars like Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson via trade will probably be too exorbitant for the 49ers.
Unless the team decides to commit to moving up in the draft to select one of this year’s talented college quarterbacks, the 49ers might be better off with Garoppolo at this point. In theory, Cousins would be able to make a seamless transition with the 49ers since he is already familiar with Shanahan’s system.
The 49ers coach has said the team was considering acquiring Cousins in 2017 before shifting focus to Garoppolo before the trade with New England. David Lombardi of The Athletic put the Shanahan-Cousins rumors in context.
Garoppolo is due to make $26.4 million against the salary cap next year while Cousins is on the hook for $31 million, according to Over The Cap. The 49ers could acquire a quality player or two for the difference between the two quarterbacks and financial wiggle room is expected to be at a premium with a shrinking salary cap.
Cousins is more durable than Garoppolo and tossed a career-high 35 touchdowns last year while ranking eighth in the league with 4,265 passing yards. But the ceiling for the 32-year-old doesn't seem much higher than that, and the 49ers can make it work with Garoppolo at a cheaper rate.
The history between Shanahan and Cousins is enticing, but the financial realities of this offseason make this swap hard to envision.