Common sense is a funny thing in today’s day and age. Far too many instances over my life and the last 10-years or so, in particular, has shown me that the ability to make sound decisions based on indisputable fact, has become something akin to a superpower.
Look no further for proof of this than a recent Santa Rosa Press Democrat piece courtesy of San Francisco 49ers beat writer, Grant Cohn. In this brilliant article Cohn states that as a result of the Kansas City Chiefs trading QB Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins the 49ers should place the franchise tag on free agent QB Jimmy Garoppolo, trade him to the highest bidder, and then sign QB Kirk Cousins to a lucrative free agent contract.
I suppose none of us should be surprised with the ideas that Cohn churns out from atop his perch at the Democrat, (bestowed upon him because of who his father is) but some topics simply cannot be ignored. This tomfoolery is a prime example of a subject matter that needs to be shut down straight away.
With so many areas to rebut let’s just dive right in, shall we?
Cohn makes a comment that before the Smith trade to Washington, the 49ers were desperate to ink Garoppolo to a long term contract and as a result were behaving like a spurned lover trying to woo back their lost mate.
He also made it a glaring point, (one that he has clung to as his personal calling card in the 49ers-Garoppolo relationship) that because Garoppolo hasn’t at any time publicly stated his desire to sign a long-term contract with San Francisco that he has no intention of doing so. He did manage to throw in the caveat that Garoppolo could be willing to play on the franchise tag for 2018 and then jump ship in 2019 if the 49ers failed to improve.
Cohn obviously forgets that the 49ers can effectively use the franchise tag for the next three years if they so desire. Although anyone who knows how these situations work knows that is the last thing the team wants to do.
He then goes on his rant about how the 49ers don’t need Garoppolo and that they could “take him or leave him at this point” and that they should, in fact, trade him. His reasoning, of course, is that doing so would garner draft picks.
I’m not sure what fantasy world Cohn is living in but he believes such a trade could get the 49ers (at the very least) two first-round picks, a second-round, and a third-round pick. Again I’m not sure what Grant was smoking at the time he wrote this but that return seems a bit high (get it) in our estimation.
Lastly, he states that the 49ers should then sign Cousins to a large contract and have their apparent franchise quarterback for years to come.
So in his mind, it makes sense to break the bank for a signal caller who is going to be 30-years old this August, as opposed to one who will be only 27-years old this November.
Sure Cousins has a much longer history working within Kyle Shanahan’s offense, about 5-years, and 9-months longer. He says that Garoppolo’s trade value is worth more to the 49ers than his athletic ability, which is a purely subjective argument. Especially if such a trade was made and then Jimmy G led whichever team he was shipped off to, to multiple Super Bowl appearances.
Yes, Cousins may be better than Garoppolo, but then he might not. One thing that is not subjective or debatable is that Cousins has had some of his worst games when it mattered the most.
Whether that be a game this past season against the Los Angeles Chargers which the Redskins needed to win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Cousins was 15 for 27 for 151-yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Washington lost that game 30-13, all but ending their playoff dreams.
Or his 2016 Wildcard performance against the Green Bay Packers. He went 29 for 46 with one touchdown and a lost fumble. He also took six-sacks that afternoon. While his stat-line wasn’t bad, he failed to get the Redskins into the end zone after that lone touchdown pass and his team lost 35-18, at home no less.
Cohn also cites touchdown to interception ratio from this season, grasping at straws to make his point. Cousins posted 27 touchdowns and 13 picks, while Garoppolo finished with seven scores and five interceptions, or a “bad ratio” as he calls it.
Once again he takes stats at face value, acting as if their gospel. I can count two of the five interceptions Jimmy G threw as being completely not his fault. If you watched those games you know which ones I am referring to.
Again Cousins does know Shanahan better than Garoppolo at this point, although the last time they worked together was December 30, 2013, in Washington. That’s a little over four years ago.
While Cousins worked with Sean McVay as his offensive coordinator after Shanahan departed the Redskins and McVay cut his teeth as an assistant to Shanahan, McVay is not Shanahan.
Yes, he is a great offensive mind who learned from another even greater offensive mind but his playbook and play calling are different than what Cousins knew from Shanahan.
And no, I don’t believe that Cousins still has a Shanahan playbook laying in his closet.
Cohn then states that Cousins already knows Shanahan’s system, (because we all know that nothing has changed in his system since 2013) and that Garoppolo would have to go back to “Quarterback School 101″ once OTA’s begin in April.
That Cousins isn’t necessarily a better quarterback than Garoppolo, just that he’s a better quarterback for the 49ers.
Also that Cousins, plus the picks the 49ers would receive from trading Garoppolo are worth much more than Garoppolo on his own. He calls this common sense and that it’s beyond debate.
Nothing could be further from the truth because Cousins being a better fit for the 49ers is purely unproven. He could come in and completely fail to deliver, just as he has for his entire career thus far.
Garoppolo has done nothing but deliver since he was served up on a silver platter by New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick to the 49ers at the trade deadline last October.
Even before he came in for an injured CJ Beathard at the end of a home game against Seattle in November, Garoppolo had already integrated himself into the locker room. He had already gained the trust of his teammates, who witnessed his abilities in practice every week.
Once he became the starter on the road in Chicago, he became the face of the franchise, a franchise that has been longing for a return to greatness from its quarterback play.
Yes, the 49ers have seen some successful campaigns in the years since Joe Montana and Steve Young left their hearts and souls on the Candlestick turf.
They have made playoff appearances and have even produced a Super Bowl berth on the back of a stellar defense and good but never great quarterback play.
They long for an elite, franchise QB, who can truly lead this team to the promised land.
There is no way to tell as of yet whether Jimmy Garoppolo is the man who will be that quarterback, or he even has the full ability to do so, we all know that.
There is also no way to tell if Cousins would have any better luck with a slew of draft picks who could turn out to be busts.
What I do know for certain is that I’d put my money on a 26-year old QB, who was raised inside the winningest franchise the NFL has seen since that great 49ers dynasty of the 80’s and 90’s. Not to mention one who has started his NFL career a perfect 7-0.
Cohn would have the 49ers take a soon to be 30-year old who has produced one playoff appearance for his team and then proceeded to get beat down on his home turf in that contest.
He would also have the team go against everything they know to be true. That Garoppolo is the future of this franchise and is the best option to return the 49ers to prominence for the next 10-years, at least.
GM John Lynch knows it, Kyle Shanahan knows it, Jed York knows it, and the fans know it.
The only one who doesn’t know it, is Grant Cohn.
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