Teams looking to upgrade at quarterback this offseason already have at least a couple of attractive options.
Former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who spent three seasons with Kyle Shanahan while with the Houston Texans, knows what his former coach values. And he believes the 49ers are in the market to replace Jimmy Garoppolo.
“I think they’re probably going to be looking for an upgrade,” Rosenfels said on 49ers Talk.
“You look at those championship games: (there were) four great quarterbacks playing in those championship games.”
The Super Bowl matchup of Tampa Bay and Kansas City features Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Buffalo’s Josh Allen led their teams to the conference championship games.
In late-December, Shanahan gave Garoppolo a vote of confidence but acknowledged the 49ers would always look to improve at every position.
“Now, you look into every avenue and you see if there’s something out there that can get you a ton better,” Shanahan said.
Rosenfels said he believes the 49ers can do worse than Garoppolo. But he also thinks there is no question they can do better.
“Do they have a great quarterback? They don’t. In my opinion, they don’t have a great quarterback,” Rosenfels said. “They have a good NFL starter, I think. But not a great quarterback, and they’re definitely on the hunt for that.”
The Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford reportedly have agreed to part ways after 12 seasons together. The Lions expect to trade Stafford this offseason. And Deshaun Watson has reportedly requested a trade from the Houston Texans.
“I think they are looking,” Rosenfels said of the 49ers. “I think they probably know they can get back if they’re healthy again next year and get to the Super Bowl. They were just in the Super Bowl a year ago.
“They know Jimmy’s probably good enough to get back there. But could we get somebody who could get back there regularly?”
Rosenfels said he expects the 49ers to look for a quarterback who has mobility to escape pressure and make more off-schedule plays outside the pocket.
The 49ers prefer athletic offensive linemen who can run and execute their outside zone-blocking concepts.
Typically, Rosenfels says, those linemen are not best-suited for pass protection. That makes a mobile quarterback more important for Shanahan’s offense.
“To have a guy who can run around a little bit or even occasionally red-zone run, I do think they’d like to have somebody at some point who can do a little more of that stuff because they see how hard it is on defenses,” Rosenfels said.
Garoppolo had a fine season in 2019 in helping the 49ers advance to the Super Bowl. But there are also times when Shanahan’s frustration is apparent on the sideline after failed pass plays.
Rosenfels offered his insight into Shanahan’s body language.
“It’s because the play that Kyle designed, and the play that Kyle saw was there, he got the look that he wanted, and when it’s missed ... you only get one shot at those, right?” Rosenfels said.
“NFL quarterbacks should not miss many throws. They just shouldn’t. And that’s probably when he gets most frustrated.”