Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Why Bleacher Report lists 49ers among teams destined to disappoint in 2021

Mar 4, 2021 at 10:21 AM--

Following an injury-plagued 2020 campaign, many fans are hopeful things are looking up for the San Francisco 49ers. After all, the team was in the Super Bowl just over a year ago. The Niners limped through 2020 without names like Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, and many others for much of the season. San Francisco suffered an absurd amount of injuries, which clearly contributed to its 6-10 record.

The 2021 season will be better, right?

Chris Roling of Bleacher Report and The Bengals Wire doesn't believe so. He lists the 49ers among his five NFL teams that are destined to disappoint during the upcoming season.

Why San Francisco? The team's salary-cap situation is a factor. estimates that the 49ers will have under $13 million available to spend and would like to keep players like Trent Williams and Kyle Juszczyk from departing. Then there's always the tough competition within the NFC West.

However, the first reason Roling points to is the quarterback situation, saying that San Francisco can't seem to "escape quarterback purgatory," referring to Garoppolo's status.

Garoppolo is set to earn $25 million this season. That's not an exorbitant amount for a starting NFL quarterback. However, when you consider that Garoppolo has appeared in just 25 regular-season games while missing 23 over the past three seasons, all while earning over $85 million during that time, that's where the value is seemingly lost.

"The 49ers aren't getting much from Jimmy Garoppolo, who, on the five-year, $137.5 million deal he signed before the 2018 season, has appeared in more than six games just once," wrote Roling. "San Francisco seemed like an obvious trade destination for Matthew Stafford because the front office can shed this contract with only $2.8 million in dead cap, but it will instead have to face him twice per year against the Los Angeles Rams."

Roling notes that the 49ers defense, which, despite injuries, ranked No. 5 in total yards allowed, No. 4 against the pass, and No. 7 against the run, should be "much improved" because it will be healthier. Although, not mentioned is the potential losses in the defensive backfield. Defensive backs Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, K'Waun Williams, Jaquiski Tartt, and Ahkello Witherspoon are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.

The feeling seems to be that San Francisco's brain trust might have to hit several home runs this offseason via free agency and the draft to return to contention in 2021.

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