Breaking news: Trouble for 49ers… Read more
Breaking news: Trouble for 49ers… Read more.49ers will start free agency with no quarterbacks on the roster.
The San Francisco 49ers have four quarterbacks on the roster, but next week they’ll have zero. Three are set to hit free agency and only Colin Kaepernick was set to be under contract for the 2017 season, until he informed teams Tuesday that he will opt out of his contractwith the 49ers and become a free agent.
So the top priority for new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is repopulating the depth chart at the position.
“We don’t have anybody on our roster,” Shanahan told reporters at the NFL Combine on Wednesday. “Who you guys see on the free agent market, who there is in the draft, and trade possibilities, and our guys who were on our roster last year — that’s really the group we’re picking from.”
Blaine Gabbert started five games for the 49ers in 2016, but was eventually replaced by Kaepernick in the starting lineup. But San Francisco doesn’t appear ready to bring Gabbert or backups Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis back on a new contract.
Instead, Shanahan spoke of evaluating the 2017 draft class for a possible quarterback of the future for the team, although he’s behind in the process
“The tape’s by far the most important,” Shanahan said. “If you don’t like what you see on the tape then nothing else matters. It’s a little backwards because just coming to [Indianapolis] first, I get to know the guys a little bit better first. I wish I could do it differently but there’s just not enough time.
“So, here I get to know them and I go back and watch the tape.”
San Francisco could also sign a veteran free agent, but Kirk Cousins received the franchise tag Tuesday and Tony Romo will presumably be interested in playing for a team ready to win a Super Bowl if he’s eventually released by the Dallas Cowboys.
Even if the 49ers are able to land an immediate starter in free agency or through a trade, finding a young quarterback is still an offseason need for the team. Shanahan said Wednesday that he values quick decision-making under duress most in young quarterbacks.
The hunt for passers that fit that mold and will potentially be the team’s quarterback begins for the 49ers this week in Indianapolis.