5 Free agent quarterbacks 49ers should target

Brock Purdy’s surgery to repair the torn UCL in his throwing elbow has been delayed. As a result, the only “healthy” quarterback on the 49ers roster is Trey Lance. And that’s stretching it considering Lance has yet to be cleared to return to full activity.

Expect San Francisco to add a quarterback or two when free agency kicks off next month. The legal tampering period begins March 13 with players able to officially sign starting March 15.

During the 49ers season ending press conference, head coach Kyle Shanahan seemed to shoot down the idea of bringing in a starting-level veteran.

“I know we have two starters on our team right now that I believe we can win with, so when you have that situation, you’re not that eager to go looking around,” said Shanahan.

How the 49ers manage their way through this period will also tell us a lot about their feelings towards Trey Lance.

Here are five free agent quarterbacks the 49ers should target:

1.) Baker Mayfield

The first player chosen in the 2018 draft; Mayfield has failed to live up to his draft position.

With coaching change for the Browns prior to 2020 came Mayfield’s best season. The Oklahoma product led Cleveland to an 11-5 record and a playoff win in Pittsburgh before a close defeat the next week to Kansas City.

From that point Mayfield’s career has been in a tailspin. He was traded to Carolina during the offseason prior to the start of last year, and eventually released by the Panthers.

Mayfield was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Rams and led them to two wins over the final five weeks.

The cost to sign Mayfield, likely to be around $5 million for next season, and past issues with standout pass rusher Nick Bosa make this unlikely. However, Mayfield’s athleticism would be fun to see in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

2.) Jacoby Brissette

Throughout a seven-year career with stops in New England, Indianapolis, Miami and last year with Cleveland, Brissette has made 48 starts.

Although he has won just 18 of his starts Brissette has a trait which should be very attractive to the 49ers, he doesn’t turn the ball over. He has thrown an interception on just 1.5 percent throughout his career.

With an expected contract value around $4-5 million, Brissette would be a solid option and be able to efficiently run the 49ers offense if called upon.

3.) Andy Dalton 

San Francisco reportedly showed interest in signing Dalton during free agency in 2021. According to various reports they liked the idea of pairing Dalton as the veteran with Trey Lance.

With Jimmy Garoppolo still on the 49ers roster, Dalton eventually chose to sign with Chicago where he was given the opportunity to start. That lasted just two weeks and he signed with New Orleans for 2022.

Although he is no longer the player he was while leading Cincinnati to the playoffs in five consecutive seasons, at $3 million or less Dalton is the perfect blend of mentor and player for San Francisco.

4.) John Wolford

Wolford isn’t an exciting name, but he has shown the ability to play well when given the opportunity with talent around him.

When Jared Goff broke his thumb late in 2020, Wolford stepped in and helped the Rams secure a playoff berth with an 18-7 win over Arizona in the regular season finale.

Wolford has not been able to duplicate that success since as he struggled with a depleted Rams roster last season. However, Wolford is familiar with Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme and provide a solid third option should Purdy return healthy.

5.) Jarrett Stidham

Stidham was originally selected by New England in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. After three seasons with the Patriots, he followed Josh McDaniels to Las Vegas for 2022.

Stidham made his first NFL start in week 17 against San Francisco. The former Auburn Tiger nearly led the Raiders to an upset win. Stidham showed good athleticism and the ability to hit throws all over the field.

He followed up his performance against the 49ers with another solid outing the following week against Kansas City in the season finale.

The Raiders released Derek Carr earlier this month. That leaves Stidham as the only quarterback on the Raiders roster with an NFL start. However, Vegas is a prime landing spot for Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo. If the Raiders land either of the two it’s unlikely they will push hard to retain Stidham.

This article has 30 Comments

  1. Here is who we should consider

    1. Colin Kaepernick
    2. Nobody else

    Any of those bums listed above would still be a huge upgrade over pretty boy Jimmy G but nowhere near as good as Colin.

    1. Agreed, 100%. Even if Colin doesn’t make the team, it will break the ice to get him back into the league. He deserves at least a shot.

      1. I am glad someone else on here has a brain. Too many fans who obsess over Alex Smith and Jimmy G because of their looks and actually think they are good at football. What a joke!

        1. I love Kaepernick he’s one of my favorite 49ers ever. There is a very very small chance he makes it back to the NFL. He clearly has enough skill to be on an NFL roster. I don’t think playing in the NFL is on the top of his priorities

    2. c’mon Bay!!! Kap’s career ended the day in 2015 when he threw back to back pick 6’s in Arizona!

      1. And who even MENTIONS Alex Smith!?!?!? Let alone obsess over him????? Bay, have you been locked up for the last 10 years or something?? Serious question.

        1. He’s always cut from the same cloth as Cohn…..BAF and his infatuation with Sackorpick6..and Cohn and his never ending disdain for anybody but Lance..

    1. Colin isn’t worthy of another chance in the NFL. He did weird things when the NFL gave him a shot for a workout and rubbed people the wrong way. The guy was a complete jerk in interviews. I do not understand why some Neanderthal’s keep bringing him up.

      1. Your the neanderthal Bob. You probably think pretty boy Alex Smith and pretty boy Jimmy G were good QB’s. You wouldn’t know good QB play if it smacked you in the face. Colin could come back next season and still be a top 3 QB in the league.

        1. I do not believe in any way, shape or form Colin would be in the top three, period! A good quarterback, with his skill, yes. Top three, NEVER NOW!!!

  2. Andy Dalton would lead this team to at the very least the NFCCG if for some reason both Lance and Purdy weren’t available. Another QB I like who isn’t on the list is Cooper Rush. I think he would come cheaper than Dalton. We will know what level QB they intend on signing as soon as they start renegotiating current contracts.

    1. I’m on board with Cooper Rush. He established himself very well during Dak’s injury.
      He has above average arm strength, quick feet in the pocket and the ability to gain positive yards if he has to run.
      And I believe that he’s about 29 or 30 years old which disqualifies from AARP membership, lol.

  3. I think this conversation is premature. We won’t know our needs until after Purdys operation. If he is only out 6 months I’d hesitate to spend over $1M. I’d probably be fine with a multi year collage starter for the practice squad.

    1. Felix,
      I think they will be forced to pull the trigger around Mar 15 and that will be well before they know how Purdy will recover. Hopefully they will never need the FA QB but for insurance I believe they will need to make a signing worth about 4 to 5 mill. Hopefully much of the contract can be tied to incentives. The last place the 49ers want to be is in Oct. with an injured Lance and Purdy’s arm hasn’t recovered well from the surgery and the only QB available is a late round untested QB. Its like health insurance, you hope you won’t have to use it but you have to have some.

      1. When Purdy has the surgery they’ll know what they need to know. I don’t see them paying 4 to 5m or anywhere close to that for a third string QB if Purdy only has a 6 month recovery.

        1. Dr. Felix,
          I bet Javon Kinlaw’s Dr. thought the same thing after his first surgery. You don’t know how successful a surgery is until the player returns to the field and gets 8 to 10 games under his belt.

          1. OLD,
            Sarcasm will get you nowhere. They will know what the odds are after the surgery and you make your decision then. We will know the answer soon enough.

    2. I can see the 49ers drafting or signing an UDFA QB, but if Purdy isn’t ready by September and Trey is injured, I just don’t see the 49ers handing the reins to a rookie QB. We caught lighting in a bottle with Purdy, I can’t count on that again.

      But you are correct, we won’t know anything re Brock until after his surgery.

  4. Jack,
    Has there been any rumors about the 9ers renegotiating any current contracts? Without those renegotiations there are no FA signings of any matter. Have you heard anything?

  5. I forgot a out Cooper Rush. I like him better than Stidham. But the Cowboys are liable to resign him to an extension. That’s how good I think he did as Dak’s replacement. Anybody agree?

  6. so what do you all think about Lance / Purdy? any thoughts welcome, hoping for a friendly discussion ( offseason boredom setting in)………i certainly have strong opinions…

  7. my first thought- BP showed more than enough for us to finally and confidently move on from JG!
    Prior to BP’s rise……we were playing a dangerous game of chance ( dangerous based on the fact that we have a win now roster, a roster on the very short list of possibly being the best in the NFL with a legit shot at a SB) that TL could fulfill his potential and be as good , if not better than JG.
    I call it a gamble because weather you love or hate JG……hes a lock to win 10 games and get to the NFCCG if healthy.
    At least on this roster with this HC. Im not saying……that he could go to another team and instantly produce in the same manner.

  8. A lot of ppl saw bringing JG back last year as a clear sing TL was trending towards being a bust …….and likely has shaped their opinion of him going forward…..but i strongly disagree with that notion.
    going back to 2016, our starting qb has got hurt and missed considerable time……in every even season
    ’16 Kap hurt….
    ’18 JG knee
    ’20 JG high ankle sprain
    well, it happened again in ’22! predicting it was easy, planning for it was prudent. JG became double insurance…..
    Ins. against a TL injury….
    Ins. against TL not being ready or being a bust!
    most young qb’s go to bad teams and are given more than enough time to prove themselves…..but not always. Geno Smith comes to mind. He was also on a team with a good roster and play off aspirations. This probably led to his short leash …… unfortunately ….for him and the jets, who are STILL looking for a franchise qb.
    When teams lose starting qb’s for long periods of time…..that’s THE END!! just last year…..ravens, rams, cards,….. its rare to overcome that. We did just that! Due to a wise decision by the FO……
    i hope the fanbase finally starts giving credit to the FO….
    and i hope no one is ready to cast TL aside based off of a wise business decision.

  9. IMHO……BP’s injury was about the worst case scenario based on the fact that he didnt get a chance to prove anything!!!! Well, he did prove that he was a steal based on where he was drafted….and proved he can start in this league…..and proved the JG era was over.

    But had he remained healthy and stunk it up……he would have proved that he dosent deserve the starting job handed to him.

    Had he gone on to win the SB……he would have taken the job by force.

    we didnt get either answer…..and thats why i consider it to be worst case scenario.

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