All signs seem to be pointing towards the 49ers rebuilding their quarterback room for 2021, and that process should begin with them bringing back a familiar face.
San Francisco appears to be ready to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo and his contract. Once they release or trade Garoppolo, the organization will be left without a quarterback under contract as the contracts of Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard are set to expire following this season.
In recent weeks it has been reported that the 49ers vice president of player personnel, Adam Peters, has been scouting quarterbacks from Boise to Tuscaloosa. This has only increased the speculation that Garoppolo will be gone and that there will be a rookie quarterback coming in April for Kyle Shanahan to groom. This is a move that makes complete sense when you consider the upcoming decrease in the salary cap and the 49ers need to fill more than 15 spots on their active roster for next season.
While the 49ers will likely draft their quarterback of the future on April 29, they should look to their past for a quarterback when free agency starts up on March 17.
None other than Alex Smith.
Yes, that Alex Smith. Smith will turn 37 in May and almost assuredly become a free agent following this season. Washington has their quarterback of the future in Dwayne Haskins and can save $14.7 million in cap space by releasing the veteran.
Last Sunday, Smith made his first start since November 18, 2018 against the Detroit Lions and two things jumped off the screen: his mobility and ability to drive the ball. Watching Smith on Sunday it was clear that he would be a good fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. In spite of the leg injury, he showed that his ability to move in the pocket and scramble when necessary are still there and was far more impressive than what we have seen from any quarterback on the 49ers roster this year. In addition to the mobility, the arm strength that Smith showed was impressive. Whether it was a 20 yard out, a deep route across the middle or a wheel route along the sideline, his ability to accurately drive the ball downfield was stellar.
The addition of Smith is not only about what he can bring on the field -- what he would add to the 49ers new quarterback room is probably more important. As a veteran who has seen just about everything that an NFL quarterback can go through in their career, Smith would be a great mentor to the rookie and whatever other young quarterback the team decides to sign. Having been the first player taken in the 2005 draft, Smith knows all too well the expectations that can be placed on a young signal caller. Passing those lessons on to the next generation could prove to be invaluable for the franchise long after Smith has moved on.