It’s officially the 49ers’ offseason.
Last week, as we know, was not really the offseason.
It was Harbaugh Week.
With that in the rearview mirror, the Niners have crossed General Manager and Head Coach off their offseason must-have list.
Now comes need No. 3: Quarterback.
It’s generally assumed that San Francisco will draft a quarterback in April and sign or trade for a veteran signal-caller to keep the seat warm while the rookie learns.
The latter scenario might not happen for a while. There won’t be offseason trades or free-agent movement until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place. As a result, this could be the first of 117 speculative blog posts regarding the Niners and the most important position on the field (Go ahead, say amen).
So here goes: What if the 49ers didn’t draft a quarterback? What if they could avoid the risk of a first-round bust? What if they could trade for a promising, semi-proven, 6-foot-3, 218-pound quarterback well-versed in the West Coast Offense who would be entering his fifth NFL season?
Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb, 26, made it clear that he has no interest in being a backup next season after the Eagles’ 21-16 wild-card loss to Green Bay on Sunday. Kolb, who has started seven games in his first four seasons, is ready to ditch his clipboard on a full-time basis after serving as caddy for Donovan McNabb for three years and Michael Vick this season (click here for Philadelphia Inquirer story).
The Eagles are expected to retain Vick, who will be a free agent after his brilliant comeback season.
“I love it here, as everybody knows,” Kolb said. “My family’s settled in here. I would love to be starting here. But I want to be starting somewhere.”
Kolb, who has reportedly handled his backup duties with class, was asked how he’d handle a potential fifth season as a second-stringer.
“I can’t answer that question,” he said.
It’s easy to connect the dots here, but the 49ers, assuming they would be interested, aren’t the only team with quarterback needs.
In addition, the Eagles don’t sound willing to unload Kolb without getting a fortune (draft picks, gold, cattle, Vermont) in return.
Vick’s style makes him susceptible to injury and Kolb is not only a tremendous insurance policy, he’ll be a cheap one in 2011. He will earn $1.39 million next season in the final year of his contract.
With that in mind, Philadelphia will request two first-round picks, minimum, for Kolb, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
That’s a lot for a promising quarterback who isn’t a slam-dunk to be a star. Kolb, it’s worth noting, started five games this season and posted a 76.1 passer rating (Alex Smith in 2010: 82.1).
So is that asking price merely a starting point, or an indication the Eagles really have no interest in trading Kolb?
Settle in. That won’t be the only question to arise in an offseason during which answers may not come quickly.