The San Francisco 49ers didn’t have any healthy quarterbacks in the middle of the 2022 NFC Championship. Trey Lance was injured a few months ago, Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot in December, Brock Purdy tore his UCL against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, and veteran journeyman Josh Johnson was concussed about an hour later.
Accordingly, the Eagles spanked the 49ers, 31-7, because that’s what happens when an opponent has no quarterbacks.
49ers Loss Ignites Fresh Kirk Cousins Trade Theories
Of course, this affects the Minnesota Vikings, as quarterback Kirk Cousins is eternally linked to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. The two worked together in Washington — a long time ago — and every offseason, folks bang the drum of the “Cousins to 49ers” what-if.
The 2023 offseason is no different. This time, the speculation involves Trey Lance.
VikingsTerritory’s AJ Mansour explored the Cousins-49ers idea after the NFC Championship. Mansour explained, “Kyle Shanahan, the current head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, is known for his ability to develop and work with quarterbacks. His passion for the position is evident in the way he runs his offense and his unwavering support for his signal-callers that he’s been dealt by general manager John Lynch. One quarterback who has continuously had a special place in Shanahan’s heart is Kirk Cousins.”
The plot thickened, too, on Monday as for-now QB1 Brock Purdy’s injury isn’t minor. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Brock Purdy suffered a torn UCL that will sideline him six months, per source.”
Six months. That tosses the 49ers offseason entirely in doubt, as the franchise must now decide whether to allow an injured Purdy a chance to keep his job — or revert to Lance, who was the plan heading into 2022.
Purdy’s recovery timeline slaps him back on the field at the beginning of August. That’s six months for the 49ers to vacillate between Purdy and Lance, about two months to decide on a theoretical trade for Cousins, or an undetermined time to examine Jimmy Garoppolo’s role as a contingency plan.
SKOR North posted twice about the idea of trading Cousins, evidently excited by a possible Cousins departure. The first around 9:40 am Monday:
And then a full link to a show about the topic about three hours later:
The Shanahan connection is always substantiated because of, well, his affinity for Cousins. In 2021, the 49ers head coach said, “To say that my prototypical guy is someone like Kirk Cousins. I mean, that’s just, everyone knows my history with Kirk. We drafted him in the 4th round in Washington.”
“I got to coach him for three games. And then, we were fired, I left, I thought we’d have a chance to get him [in San Francisco] in free agency, and I would have loved to have him in free agency until Jimmy came along the year before. Because I thought we could have won with him, just like Minnesota has,” Shanahan added.
On the whole, this is a familiar spot. Until Cousins’ contract is extended or he is traded, folks will chat about Cousins to San Francisco. It’s a magnet for gossip.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).
All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.