49ers Will Find a Quarterback in the NFL Draft Instead
While signing Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal would solve one of San Francisco’s pressing needs in 2018, it’s important to remember he’ll turn 29 years old this August and would be 30 years old by the time next year starts.
True, some elite QBs hold onto elite-level careers well into their 30s. But those are the rarities. And if we grant the 49ers aren’t going to be competing for a playoff berth until 2019 at the earliest, we can see how there’s a bit of an age mismatch.
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It’s possible, perhaps likely, the Niners wind up with a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Unlike this year, the 2018 draft is supposed to be laden with NFL-caliber quarterbacks.
The more plausible plan would be for San Francisco to use it’s current quarterback, Brian Hoyer, as a bridge to the next signal-caller — a mentor of sorts to find someone who can take over the franchise’s offense in 2019 and do so at a young age.
A young core would then be able to maturate together.
Sure, there are plenty of factors that could change between now and the start of 2018 free agency. Cousins could hit a real regression this season, which would assuredly lower his price tag significantly.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan could be stout about bringing Cousins in regardless of the financial woes and fully expect to bring out the best in the quarterback’s game.
We don’t know.
But if I had to place my bet, I’d go with the Niners targeting someone other than Cousins in 2018.