Imagine a quarterback in Kyle Shanahan's 49ers offense who can throw every pass there is, one who can air it out and has thrown for over 5,000 yards in a season before. That fits the mold of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, a gunslinger who NBC Sports' Chris Simms would love to see work with Shanahan.
"Yeah, that would excite me," Simms said to NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann. "Him in Kyle Shanahan's offense -- just to be totally real and honest about that -- yeah, I think Kyle could rein him in a little bit to take away some of the mistakes. ... That could be a very dangerous offense.
"That excites me when I hear that."
Why are we connecting Stafford to the 49ers you might ask? Well, one offensive coach recently told The Athletic's Mike Sando that he believes San Francisco would win a Super Bowl with Stafford as its quarterback.
Jimmy Garoppolo of course led the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV last season, but his limitations were on full display in the playoffs, and he has taken a step back when healthy this season. Many believe the 49ers could move on from Garoppolo this offseason, and Stafford certainly would be an intriguing option as a replacement.
"Well, I'm a Matthew Stafford believer -- I am," Simms said. "I'm an apologist of his as well. And I think it's rightly so. ... He is an extremely talented football player, he really is. I mean, we're talking one of the greatest arms and passers in the history of football. He can throw it any which way. I mean, he can really do it all.
"I think he's much more talented and a better player than he's ever been credited for."
Stafford, who turns 33 years old in February, has completed 63.2 percent of his passes this season. He has 2,876 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 11 games this season. Stafford also has thrown for over 4,000 yards seven times, and with limited talent around him.
Stafford is locked up through the 2022 season, but the Lions technically have an out from Stafford's contract after the 2020 season. If the Lions release Stafford after the season, it costs them $24.85 million in dead cap. The same goes for if they trade him, and that would be the most in NFL history.
That also would be a money-saving move for Detroit as the Lions wouldn't owe him more than $40 million in base salary and roster bonuses the next two seasons.
Stafford still is a Lion right now, as Garoppolo is a Niner. If these two teams make changes this offseason, however, Stafford certainly would be a fun QB in Shanahan's scheme.