PFF believes quarterback is the 49ers' top offseason need originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
It's time to state the obvious once again: This isn't the season the 49ers expected.
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, San Francisco still is holding onto the slightest of slight playoff hopes with a 5-8 record. It's no surprise the outside focus has turned to the offseason and the 2021 NFL Draft.
The big question is, what position is the 49ers' biggest offseason need? Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus believes quarterback is the obvious answer.
"Jimmy G was far too much of a roller coaster this past year, with some dreadful performances, and he has had too many health issues over the past few seasons to feel good about relying on him to lead a Super Bowl-caliber roster in 2021," Renner wrote. "They can get out of his $26.9 million cap hit with only $2.8 million in dead money; they could either use that cap space elsewhere or find another quarterback altogether."
Garoppolo helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season and was six minutes away from becoming a hero. Instead, he crumbled when it mattered most and has been inconsistent this season when healthy. He hasn't even played six full games this season due to two different high ankle sprains, and has seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
The real question is Garoppolo's contract. Do the 49ers really think he's worth that much money next season? Probably not.
Coaches, teammates and the front office spent the offseason defending Garoppolo. Then, when healthy this year, he looked far from elite following his Super Bowl flub.
The 49ers can easily get out of Garoppolo's contract, and the entire quarterback room might look different next season. C.J. Beathard will be an unrestricted free agent and Nick Mullens is a restricted free agent after this season. At least one of the three almost is guaranteed to be gone.
With three games remaining in the regular season, the 49ers still have a lot of questions to be answered. The real questions, however, will come in the offseason -- and it all starts with Garoppolo.