Prior to the 2021 draft, Kyle Shanahan described what he perceived as the perfect quarterback.
“A lot of much better athletes are also learning how to play the quarterback position. So, man, you want to find Drew Brees who can move like Lamar Jackson,” said Shanahan.
A dream of many 49ers fans took a step forward on Tuesday when the Baltimore Ravens placed the nonexclusive franchise tag on the 2019 NFL MVP quarterback. Under the nonexclusive tag, Jackson can engage in contract talks with other teams. If Jackson signs an offer sheet with another team, the Ravens have the right to match the offer to keep him or take two first-round picks as compensation. The nonexclusive tag would pay Jackson $32 million this season.
The 49ers don’t have a first-round pick in 2023, however that does not eliminate them from being able to acquire Jackson.
As Bill Barnwell of ESPN pointed out, an option for San Francisco would be to negotiate a deal with Baltimore and do it as a sign and trade.
By waiting until the beginning of the new league year, the 49ers could offer a package which includes their 2024 and 2025 first round picks.
Another option for San Francisco would be to sweeten the pot with a former first round quarterback. A package which includes Trey Lance along with future first round picks is something no other team could offer.
Trade compensation is just the beginning of the puzzle. San Francisco has several players already near the top of their positions in salary and needs to work out an extension for Nick Bosa.
Remember, the salary cap isn’t a myth however teams can move money around in a number of ways to add players they truly want.
One of the many options would be for San Francisco to offer a contract similar to the one Kansas City gave Patrick Mahomes in 2020. The use of a signing bonus upfront and future roster bonuses allows the Chiefs the flexibility necessary to keep a competitive team on the field.
With Jimmy Garoppolo and Brock Purdy at quarterback, San Francisco scored an average of 30.5 points per game over the final ten weeks of the regular season. Imagine how explosive Kyle Shanahan’s offense would be by adding Lamar Jackson to Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, and Deebo Samuel.
Time for Paraag Marathe to live up to his “cap guru” nickname.