5 bold predictions for 49ers, rest of NFC West in 2021

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers and Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers and Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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John Lynch, Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch (left) with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Niner Noise previews both the 49ers and the rest of the NFC West with these five bold predictions for 2021, including some shockers.

There isn’t too big a question the San Francisco 49ers play in the toughest division within the NFL heading into 2021, the NFC West.

While unlikely, the NFC West could feasibly send all four teams to the postseason this year. And it’s also possible one of the divisional teams could finish with a 9-8 record this season and earn a last-place berth as a result, while that same record would likely earn a first-place finish with a lowly division like the NFC East.

Seriously, the NFC West is that big a gauntlet heading into 2021.

Health obviously being a key issue for any team, including the Niners and the rest of their divisional foes, it’s certainly going to be provocative learning how the pecking order pans out between Weeks 1 and 18.

Nevertheless, let’s come up with some bold predictions for how San Francisco and the rest of the NFC West fare this upcoming season.

Starting off with a potential blockbuster move from the 49ers’ vantage point.

No. 5: 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo before NFL trade deadline

Currently, the Niners are penciling in Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback with the No. 3 overall-drafted rookie, Trey Lance, waiting in the folds as an heir apparent.

The thinking is Lance will develop a full year on the bench, but there are arguments why Lance could end up starting sooner than later. And head coach Kyle Shanahan won’t hesitate to make the switch once he feels Lance gives San Francisco as good a shot at winning as Jimmy G.

Should this happen, the 49ers will want to get out from under as much of Garoppolo’s $26.4 million owed in 2021, saving that money for some much-needed contract extensions pending down the line. And while the quarterback market has cooled a lot since the early days of the offseason, it’ll likely be much different after only a few weeks of regular-season football.

The 2021 NFL trade deadline is expected to be on Nov. 2. If Lance is starting by that point, a $26.4 million backup simply isn’t feasible, and the Niners will look to move Garoppolo for whatever draft capital they can get in return.