Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Baldy: 49ers made a mistake not trading for Matthew Stafford

Feb 15, 2022 at 11:31 AM--

No, Matthew Stafford was not the only reason the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI. The quarterback tossed two interceptions in the game. However, he was good enough for Sean McVay to finally win a championship, and that's all he had to be.

Jared Goff clearly wasn't going to do that, so McVay and the Rams went all-in last offseason to acquire Stafford from the Lions. Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers were interested too but got beat to the punch.

"That was frustrating," Shanahan admitted last year. "... I was trying to get involved in it."

Could San Francisco have won it all with Stafford at the helm instead of Garoppolo? Maybe. They made it to the NFC Championship Game with Garoppolo fighting through thumb and shoulder injuries before being eliminated by Stafford and the Rams.

Los Angeles has been aggressive in recent offseasons, and it finally paid off. San Francisco was more cautious until missing out on Stafford last year forced an aggressive draft trade to acquire Trey Lance. Will watching McVay, Stafford, and the Rams hoisting the Lombardi Trophy change the 49ers' offseason approach?

Brian Baldinger joined 95.7 The Game on Tuesday morning and was asked if the 49ers made a mistake by going all-in for Lance rather than pushing harder for Stafford in the first place.

"Yeah. Yes, to answer your question," Baldinger responded without hesitation. "Because if you put Matt Stafford in San Francisco, they probably win it all. But they built for the future. Now, they've got to figure out how to get Trey Lance up to speed. It's a slow process. I mean, Josh Allen has taken three years, and he still wasn't good enough. And we saw just how brilliant he is almost every Sunday, and he wasn't good enough in the moment to do it."

Stafford had a plethora of offensive weapons in Los Angeles, including Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp. He had a superb defense ready to help bail him out from any costly mistakes. It was still barely enough to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl.

"It is a big task, once you get that guy, to make sure everything around him is just as good as it can be," Baldinger added.

Some, like Joe Montana, question whether Lance is ready to play, even after a whole season of studying and working hard to become Garoppolo's successor. Lance started just two games in 2021, playing 178 snaps compared to Garoppolo's 913.

"He's got to make a monster leap," Baldinger admitted. "... I don't know what the comp is to go from what we saw this year, which was spot duty, a couple of starts, to Super Bowl level. I don't know that anybody has ever made that kind of a jump. Maybe [Patrick] Mahomes might be the only one. ... It's hard to think that anybody can make that kind of a jump."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Baldinger below.

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