Peter King heard you loud and clear, 49ers fans.
NBC Sports’ seasoned NFL writer last week suggested a hypothetical three-way trade scenario for Deshaun Watson which involved San Francisco. Under King’s trade proposal, San Francisco would send Jimmy Garoppolo and the No. 12 overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for Kirk Cousins, while the Vikings would receive Watson and the Houston Texans would receive Jimmy G and a bunch of draft picks.
If you thought the 49ers were giving up too much in this scenario, apparently you weren’t alone.
“I think I fully understand the many Niners fans who thought my suggestion of Kirk Cousins for Jimmy Garoppolo and a first-round pick was a crazy overpayment to Minnesota,” King wrote in his latest “Football Morning in America” column. “When they’re both on the field, there’s not that big a difference. I’d rather have Cousins, but it’s a close call. But there’s the 'when they’re both on the field' part. Cousins has missed one of his last 96 games due to injury. Garoppolo has missed 23 of his last 48 games due to injury.”
King’s argument loses water when he says it is a “close call” between the two quarterbacks. A first-round draft pick at No. 12 could be a franchise-changing player, one that’s bigger than the gulf in talent between Garoppolo and Cousins. Perhaps a fifth-round pick or later would be fair, but a first-rounder is a heavy price.
Granted, none of this probably matters since Kyle Shanahan has said he expects Garoppolo to be the team’s quarterback for 2021. But King did further explain his logic to the mock trade, reiterating the importance of Cousins’ health.
“I’m not saying Cousins is the missing piece on a Super Bowl champ,” King wrote. “I am saying, I might rather have the insurance of the 13th-best quarterback [or whatever you’d rate Cousins], knowing he’s likely to be on the field every week.”