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Why Rashad Jennings believes 49ers-Chiefs is clash of two philosophies

Why Rashad Jennings believes 49ers-Chiefs is clash of two philosophies originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The upcoming Super Bowl LVIII matchup between the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs will be a battle between two different types of roster construction models, with both teams having different approaches to team building.

Former NFL running back Rashad Jennings spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Laura Britt on Wednesday at Super Bowl Radio Row and explained how the Chiefs and 49ers have opposite approaches to building their rosters, particularly at the quarterback position.

“It’s not talked about much, but we’re battling the baseline model of how to win,” Jennings told Britt.

“Do you pay a quarterback $500 million and try to figure out the rest of the team, or do you pay the entire team and try to figure out the quarterback, that’s what this is turning out to be and which model is the best. Shanahan’s model: Pay the team, figure out the quarterback. Andy Reid’s model: Pay the quarterback, figure out the team.”

In recent years, NFL salaries for quarterbacks have exploded, with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes having signed a 10-year $450 million contract in 2020, only to see him renegotiate the deal last year. Now Mahomes makes an average of $52 million per year, second only to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow who makes a whopping $55 million per year.

This is in sharp contrast to the 49ers' model, where second-year QB Brock Purdy makes a paltry $870,000 a season, which has allowed San Francisco to build a roster of superstar position players. With such a tiny salary at a key position, the 49ers have been able to pay the likes of Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner. Both models have their merits considering both teams have made it to the Super Bowl.

Mahomes and Purdy represent opposite ends of the NFL spectrum: One is regarded as the best quarterback in the league, and one of the all-time greats, while the other is regarded by some as a mediocre player elevated by the players around him and a "game manager" who lacks the explosive potential to win games by himself.

Still, in the NFL world, where great play from players on cheap rookie contracts like Purdy is the gold standard, all eyes will be on the young 49ers quarterback and how he plays on the biggest stage.

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