Did anyone expect it to be this bad? Now, more than one quarter of the way through the season, the Niners seem to be destined to finish the year in the NFL's cellar along with the likes of the Bears, Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Browns. When a team struggles this mightily, fingers are pointed all across the board. It's clear that the 49ers have one of the worst offensive lines in football. However, this team lacks talent at key skill positions – mainly cornerback, wide receiver, tight end, and yes, quarterback. Furthermore, out of all of those positions, the hardest one to replace is undoubtedly the quarterback.
For all of his on-field deficiencies, the nail in Colin Kaepernick's coffin may be his greatest accomplishment – his six year, $114 million dollar contract, which affords him north of $60 million in guaranteed money. This is simply too much to spend on a quarterback who is struggling as mightily as he is.
If his cap numbers were smaller, then the team would have nothing to lose by replacing him as the starter and keeping him on the roster for the foreseeable future as a backup. After all, this is a guy who came within 5 yards of winning Super Bowl 47.
Credit Baalke and others in the Niners front office who gave themselves an out with Kaepernick. Per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez, the 49ers could cut Kaepernick before April 1, 2016 and save $9.36 million in salary cap, as well as the remainder of his salary.
However, this is only half of the problem and it's the relatively unimportant half. The bigger issue is who will replace Kaepernick. Aside from the draft, which will be the route the team will most likely take, there seem to be three guys the 49ers should seriously consider looking at.
Mike Glennon – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Glennon, who was selected in the third round of the 2013 Draft, is by far the most interesting option out there. During week 4 of his rookie season, he took over a struggling 0-3 Buccaneers team that had been led by Josh Freeman. Ultimately, the team didn't achieve much success, but Glennon looked more than serviceable by starting the remaining thirteen games compiling a stat line of 2,608 yards, 19 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, with a 60% completion rating. Keep in mind, he did this for a 2013 Buccaneers team that finished 4-12 on the year. Glennon was also sacked an astonishing 40 times in just 13 games. Kaepernick is on pace to be sacked 57 times by the end of the year, and his stat line looks quite different than Glennon's did in '03.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Then, with the new regime change the following year, Lovie Smith somehow decided that Josh McCown gave the Buccaneers a better shot to win than Glennon. It only took three weeks for Glennon to get back on the field. It happened after McCown injured his thumb toward the end of the first half. Even though Tampa Bay ended up losing 56-14, Glennon finished 17 of 24 passes for 121 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. If you think his performance was attributed to prevent defense, you only need to look to his next performance. With McCown still injured, Glennon turned in a great game against the Steelers completing 21 of 42 passes for 302 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, leading the Buccaneers to a 27-24 victory. It was their first win of the season.
Over the next four games against the Saints, Ravens, Vikings, and Browns, Glennon compiled a stat line of 994 yards, 7 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, with a completion percentage north of 57%. Keep in mind, this was a team playing from behind most of the time due to their lack of talent, so imagine what Glennon could do with a decent run game and defense. Despite Glennon's decent stat line, Lovie once again decided that McCown would return as starter, and Mike has been relegated to the bench ever since.
The 49ers offensive problems will not show significant signs of improvement until major upgrades are made to the offensive line. However, with the mental beating Kaepernick has taken, coupled with his high cap number, Glennon presents an interesting option for San Francisco. Glennon is not available through free agency next year, so a deal would have to get done to send the 6'6" pocket passer to the Bay Area.
Sam Bradford – Philadelphia Eagles
Unlike Glennon, Bradford might be available during next year's free agency. Unfortunately, when everyone thinks of Bradford, the first thing that comes to mind is his inability to stay healthy. Bradford has played in just 56 games over the past 6 seasons, and started all 16 games only twice. In the two years Bradford played a full season, 2010 and 2012, he was sacked just 34 and 35 times, respectively. Compare that to the two years Kaepernick has started a full 16 games, when he was sacked 39 times in 2013 and 52 times in 2014.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams 26th in offensive line efficiency in both 2010 and 2012, the years Bradford was sacked 34 and 35 times. Compare that to when Kaepernick was sacked 39 times 2013 and 52 times 2014; PFF ranked the Niners 9th in efficiency during both seasons. This leads us to believe that Bradford would be able to take less sacks than Kaepernick, even with a pedestrian offensive line. Even this year, Kaepernick has been sacked 25 times, which is second highest in the NFL, only behind Russell Wilson. Bradford ranks 15th in the league, as he's only been sacked a total of 13 times.
It's true that while Bradford has stayed healthy so far this year, he's struggled to put up decent numbers. However, he's in the same offense where last year's rushing king DeMarco Murray is only averaging 22 yards-per-gam. Also, it's important to note that Eagles receivers have dropped 18 passes, good enough for third highest in the league.
Numbers can be thrown at you all day. What's important is how these guys look on film. Here are some highlights that show Bradford has the touch needed to make almost any NFL throw and his receivers in St. Louis struggled to haul in his throws, just like Matthews, Agholor, Cooper, and Austin have struggled this year.
Matt Schaub – Baltimore Ravens
This is probably the most shocking name on this list, as many believe this guy is as washed up as Val Kilmer, but he deserves another shot. Warner and Palmer revived their careers in Arizona, Brees became elite in New Orleans, and Vick shined in Philadelphia for a few seasons. Schaub's career numbers? 24,000 yards, a 64% completion rating, 130 touchdowns, 86 interceptions, and an 85.9 passer rating.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
There's no doubt that Schaub tanked in his last year with the Texans. He played in only 10 games in 2013, throwing for 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. What really led to his demise were the 9 interceptions he threw in 5 games, along with the record setting 4 straight games with a pick-six. However, in just a year before his dreadful season, Schaub, who made the Pro Bowl, threw for over 4,000 yards with a 64.3 completion percentage, with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, leading to a passer rating of 90.7.
After Houston's brass decided to blow the team up immediately after their 2-14 campaign, Schaub was unwanted by incoming coach Bill O'Brien and traded to the Raiders for a sixth-round pick. He was slated to start for Oakland during 2014, but Dennis Allen, who was fired after just four games, decided to go with rookie Derek Carr instead.
Look, is Schaub going to put up those numbers again? Probably not. But he's a 34 year old pocket passer that may be able to provide some veteran leadership, or even act as a stopgap between Kaepernick and the 49ers' next young quarterback. Let's face it, when is the last time you've seen a 49ers quarterback step up in the pocket the way Schaub does?
I am not saying any of the aforementioned quarterbacks are going to lead the team to the Super Bowl, or even the playoffs. However, what these three guys could do is come to the organization on a relatively cheap contract and provide Kaepernick with some competition if the team chooses to keep him – or act as a temporary replacement while the general manager (hopefully Baalke's successor) finds the next face of the franchise through the draft. Moreover, this needs to get better in every position, so acquiring any one of these veterans allows the team to look elsewhere in the draft if ownership is not sold on or unable to draft any of the top tier college quarterback prospects.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
Which (if any) of these options sounds like a good stop-gap option?
Stay with Kaepernick
None of these options
Date: November 2, 2015 at 10:12 PM
Comment: Why not try Kaep at wide receiver? He is probably faster than most on the most everyone on the roster and would be good for flea flickers.
By: Frank M
Date: November 2, 2015 at 6:44 PM
Comment: How 'bout giving Gabbert a shot...he knows the offense and just could be a pleasant surprise. None of the three you singled out will strike fear in opponents.
Date: November 2, 2015 at 11:56 AM
Comment: Inconceivable to see 44% vote "Stay with Kaepernick". LOL....have any of you 44-percenters actually WATCHED his play this year? He is arguably and easily one of the 2 or 3 worst QB's in the NFL right now...easily!! An NFL QB doesn't miss a wide open, uncovered WR...period! It makes me wonder...what the HELL is he looking at when he comes to the line? How does he NOT scan the field before the ball is snapped?
By: John doe
Date: November 1, 2015 at 4:43 PM
Comment: One game closer til balke and cousin Larry get fired....
By: Lucky Phil
Date: November 1, 2015 at 4:13 PM
Comment: Jimmy T. is like Rocky Balboa with a sign that says "Fuck This" written across his forehead. Jed give this guy a break!!
By: Lucky Phil
Date: November 1, 2015 at 4:06 PM
Comment: Jimmy T. is a Cork Sucker. A Jed Cork sucker. Thats how he got the job. Thats how he keeps the job. Every time I see him on the sidelines, I ask myself how many shots to the face can this guy take? Jed give this guy a break!
Date: November 1, 2015 at 3:22 PM
Comment: Seriously people? Kap is terrible. Id trade for bradford at the least or tank the season and shoot for the draft. This team is a dumpster fire.
By: Jed York
Date: November 1, 2015 at 1:25 PM
Comment: Three Hours Of Sucking Dick. Niners!!! Whose Got It Better Than Us?
Date: October 31, 2015 at 2:40 PM
Comment: If you are at the point where you think any of those losers are in the galaxy of Kap you have lost your mind.
By: Jaz lim
Date: October 31, 2015 at 9:14 AM
Comment: Kap isn't the problem he needs better supporting cast and better play calling. Look what the teams are doing, blitzing all the time cuz the clowns in the right side of offensive line cannot block .
By: Son of sam
Date: October 30, 2015 at 9:51 PM
Comment: Wtf these picks put us in a no better situation
By: randall garcia
Date: October 30, 2015 at 8:06 PM
Comment: Kaps numbers are not the problem whats so ever its all in the offensive line he has outstanding number last i checked considering how many times he has been hit and how little time he has to get rid of the ball .... anyone who says kap isnt a decent quarterback obviously doesnt watch him play ...... or even bother to check stats ..... if you only look at stats youd think that he was a great qb but you guys just wanna hate because he isnt winning ..... he gets the yards and the completion% despite his shitty line ..... his down fall is he gets the ball with horrible field position due to his defense being unable to defend the long field . And as for his td to int ratio alot has to do with not having time to plant and throw .... he has great numbers for a qb who is running for his life 85% of the time.....!!!!
Date: October 30, 2015 at 3:04 PM
Comment: Mike Glennon almost beat Seattle IN Seattle, leading a winless Buccs team!
Date: October 30, 2015 at 11:34 AM
Comment: Credit Baalke and others in the Niners front office .... HAH ...
the reason we are in this predicament is because of Balke and the idiots in the front office.
Date: October 30, 2015 at 8:00 AM
Comment: Can we keep All and dump the Yorks
Date: October 30, 2015 at 3:33 AM
Comment: How did Joseph Polisena get this gig? They lack talent at receiver??? Based on what, the fact they have no quarterback to get anyone the ball? Receivers don't make quarterbacks, quarterbacks make receivers. Also, yes, they have lost talent along the o-line, but a quarterback can help there too. Ever notice that the spectacular athletes get sacked the most? Because they are the dumbest at their position and can't make pre-snap reads and call out blocking assignments. Nor do they know which receiver should be open. Another thing; you think the team is busting it's ass when they know they have no shot having no qb and no coach? Oh, nice choices with the three non- quarterbacks. Schaub has lost his physical skills, Bradford shotputs the ball, and Glennon, well that's a good one.
Date: October 30, 2015 at 1:17 AM
Comment: Kaepernick straight up sucks. To even be considered a decent QB he has to be accompanied by a dominant top 3 offensive line, a solid run game, and a solid smothering top 3 defense... And even then he couldn't get a decent passing game going. Look at any quarterbacks highlight tape and it's all good footwork and passing. Kaepernick's highlight tape is him running the ball and making 1 or 2 very easy passes. The guy is a runningback playing QB. Bring in anyone else and you'll see improvement on offense.
Date: October 29, 2015 at 10:13 PM
sorry no fixing these losers..dorks are eternal losers..dorks suck ass forever..bring back Eddie d
Date: October 29, 2015 at 10:08 PM
Comment: DORKS ...will be DORKass DORKS.....
By: Eric T
Date: October 29, 2015 at 9:52 PM
Comment: This is the same organization that ignored the bust label attached to Alex Smith for years until he became serviceable. If you think Kap won't open 2016 as the starter your kidding yourself.
By: ryain g
Date: October 29, 2015 at 7:33 PM
Comment: All I got to say put Blaine Gabbert in and take keap out
By: Tyler Rosen
Date: October 29, 2015 at 7:13 PM
Comment: The Niners lost some vets that are irreplaceable, not to mention Harbaugh can't all be on kaps shoulders
Date: October 29, 2015 at 5:15 PM
Comment: This is like putting a bandaid on a broken leg. The problem is that 3/5 of the offensive line should not be in the league. Pears is by far the worst right tackle I have ever seen. He wasn't supposed to be anything but a backup when he was signed and really, he was all that was left. Kap's lack of development is at minimum 50% him and 50% his environment. I actually feel bad for him as I did for Alex Smith having to perform with poor players and even worse coaching.
By: David R. Muyco
Date: October 29, 2015 at 5:13 PM
Comment: Sackorpick is pretty much toast after this season so why don't we try someone with a little more experience than plain Blaine?
Date: October 29, 2015 at 4:30 PM
Comment: Get some offensive lineman...you can't pass from the pocket if there isn't one. Defensive lineman are in the back field before the o -line gets out of their stance. Not all kaps fault. This is what happens when good players retire, good players make poor choices, and you chase your coach out of town...rebuild but around kap. Rant over
Date: October 29, 2015 at 4:11 PM
Comment: "Did anyone expect it to be this bad?" Yes, any level-headed, rational fan who's been following this team and its horrendous ownership knew it would be EXACTLY this bad once the Harbaugh stuff started churning up prior to the 2014 season. I had us at 5-11 heading into this year and they'll be lucky to even get that. It starts at the top and this team is irreparably broken at the top thanks to Jed York's ineptitude, petulance, greed, and lack of football knowledge. This is what we will see over and over again for the next decade plus.
Date: October 29, 2015 at 3:03 PM
Comment: Stay with Kap is leading! Smart! Fix the O-line and the owners brain
Date: October 29, 2015 at 2:47 PM
Comment: We already have a stop-gap, Gabbert
Date: October 29, 2015 at 2:36 PM
Comment: It would depend a lot if there gonna be changes on the coaching staff for next season (maybe front office as well). Personally if they could bring a guy like Bill Lazor or Rob Chudzinski then a QB like Drew Stanton seems a very reliable option as a veteran QB who can be ready for week 1 while grooming a rookie passer.
Date: October 29, 2015 at 2:36 PM
Comment: You stupid idiots, we dont need a stop-gap QB, we need an offensive line that can do something besides stand there and watching Kap get sacked. Our O-line is horrible..
Date: October 29, 2015 at 2:24 PM
Comment: How are any of these guys who already suck going to succeed with the same piss poor line Kap has to deal with?
Date: October 29, 2015 at 1:51 PM
Comment: This has to be a joke. Kaepernick might be the only valuable player we got. The truth is ubiquitous. It is Baalke, not Kap.
Date: October 29, 2015 at 1:47 PM
Comment: Who came up with this theory or these options? Really? Let Kaepernick play ball his way and be the mobile quarterback he was and he will transition back to what he was! Example, the few games this season where he was allowed to play his way we either won or came close! Oh by the way how about we revamp the crappy o line! Half the time they look like empty uniforms who forgot how to block! Funny how the quarterback gets the blame, and yeah maybe he looks scared wouldn't you looking down the mouth of the defensive line coming for you 2 seconds after snap! Then you need to get to hold the receivers accountable too! How many throws were caught and dropped or not caught that could have been! Seriously, to me it looks like media and so called fans are making Kap Tue fall guy this year that Harbaugh was last! Team effort is needed, work as a team and stop the damn blame game! On top of that the top needs to get a grip on reality and act like owners and management that cares and not management that just is there! I wonder if some of these fools even know the concept of football!
Date: October 29, 2015 at 1:44 PM
Comment: Of the three, Bradford is by far the best option. In his rookie year, before injury, his OC (name escapes me right now) had him playing a very good version of WCO. He has shown he can battle back from hard times. Not as much a head case as Schaub, accomplished much more than Glennon and does not have the long history of inconsistency that Kaepernick has.
In the end, however, I would not make any move before seeing Blaine Gabbert in 4-6 games this season. Gabbert was rated very highly coming out of college but was stuck in a terrible situation those first two years. Last PS he did not look good but looked MUCH better than Kap in PS this year. I believe we may have the answer already on the roster.
Date: October 29, 2015 at 1:36 PM
Comment: To be honest, all those guys would get creamed behind this offensive line. If I was a fan of another team looking for a QB, and all those players listed included Kaepernick, I'd be most intrigued by Kap. Horrible line, dumb coaches, special needs owner... Of course, I want Kap, he just needs a fresh start.
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