Why a Kirk Cousins trade to the 49ers could happen sooner than later

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) Jimmy Garoppolo /

Garopollo experiment not working out

San Francisco is coming off a 2019 season that saw them win 13 games and make it all the way to the Super Bowl. Jimmy Garoppolo was the 49ers quarterback last year, but he was never really the guy people pointed to when discussing why the team was able to be so successful.

Most recently, San Francisco benched Garoppolo during their Week 5 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Franchise quarterbacks don’t typically get benched, do they?

Now, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan did make it seem like he pulled his starting quarterback because of an ankle injury that Garoppolo is still dealing with. But Shanahan probably wasn’t very happy with his starting signal-caller finishing the first half against the Dolphins with a 41.2 percent completion rate, 77 passing yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions either.

So while the San Francisco head coach was able to use the injury excuse this time, this also wasn’t Garoppolo’s first bad performance with the team. Just look at last season’s playoffs when the 49ers quarterback finished with a 75.9 rating in three games.

During his last nine times out on the field (including the postseason), Garoppolo has averaged just 181 passing yards while throwing for a total of eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Those numbers are coming from a guy who has a cap hit of more than $26.5 million in 2021 and 2022.

After the current season, the 49ers can release or trade Garoppolo and it will free up $24.1 million in cap space. At this point, San Francisco sending him out the door in 2021 seems almost inevitable.

If the 49ers actually do end up parting ways with Garoppolo next year, some might think the team would be best to use an early-round selection on a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. But as we mentioned earlier, Shanahan is running out of time to turn San Francisco into a consistent contender and he’s not about to get an additional season or two to wait for a young passer to develop.

So looking for a veteran replacement is more likely what the 49ers would do if they get rid of Garoppolo and the guy over in Minnesota is someone who they could pursue.