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.

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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.

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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.


  • Which (if any) of these options sounds like a good stop-gap option?
  • Stay with Kaepernick
  • None of these options
  • Mike Glennon
  • Sam Bradford
  • Matt Schaub
  • 2,123 votes