Brian Renick's Latest Articles

  • By Brian Renick
    Apr 13, 2021 at 12:34 PM 3 comments
    The 49ers' front office has hit an absolute home run so far this offseason. Not only did it bring back every priority free agent that was poised to leave the team, it did so on relatively affordable contracts outside of the monster deal that it gave left tackle Trent Williams. The team also cleared significant cap space with some deft contract restructures for defensive end Dee Ford and the likely-to-retire center Weston Richburg. Then the 49ers traded two future first-round picks (2022 and 2023) and a future third-round compensatory pick in 2022--which they received through the NFL's new minority hire rule when Robert Saleh was hired by the New York Jets as their new head coach and Martin Mayhew was hired as the GM for the Washington Football Team--in order to swap...
  • By Brian Renick
    Mar 26, 2021 at 9:29 AM 2 comments
    The 49ers have played the 2021 NFL offseason incredibly well so far. They have spent a significant amount of money in free agency, but they have only signed four outside free agents and the rest of the money they've spent has been on re-signing their own players. After officially bringing back nickel cornerback K'Waun Williams on a one-year deal, the team has all twenty-two starters set for next season. It can't be understated how important it is that the front office has been able to use free agency to plug all of the holes that existed on this roster, meaning that it won't be pigeon-holed into finding a starter at a specific position in the draft. I, for one, did not expect the team to be able to pull off the sheer volume of re-signings that it completed, but it puts the...
  • By Brian Renick
    Mar 17, 2021 at 4:24 PM 4 comments
    In an article I wrote back at the beginning of January, I argued that the 49ers must pursue Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson in a trade. I stand by that take, and in light of the moves they've made this offseason, I think it makes even more sense. However, the likelihood that a Watson deal gets done soon is slim, and it's not a guarantee, which is why there is another QB on an AFC South team that the 49ers should pursue right now: Flint Gardner Minshew II, currently employed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. I've been banging this drum, as well as fellow writer Tim Sprinkles, for about a month now. Today, Ian Rapaport reported that the Jaguars have received calls about the famously mustachioed...
  • By Brian Renick
    Mar 12, 2021 at 2:53 PM 1 comment
    The 2021 offseason officially starts on Wednesday, March 17th. The "legal tampering" period, which is when teams can start contacting and negotiating with players, begins Monday, March 15th. According to Over the Cap, the 49ers will have $24.85 million in cap space when the league year starts. There are some cost-cutting maneuvers they can make (such as cutting Weston Richburg and Dee Ford) to add roughly $10 million more in additional space, for a total of $34.85 million. Based on the current draft picks the 49ers own, they need $9.71mil to sign their draft class. With all of that calculus, the effective cap space the 49ers have for this exercise is $25.14...
  • By Brian Renick
    Mar 5, 2021 at 2:55 PM 6 comments
    The worst-case scenario for the 49ers this offseason would be seeing All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams leave in free agency. Last offseason, the team sent a 3rd-round pick to the Washington Football Team to acquire Williams, and then restructured his deal to give him a small pay bump and included language in the contract that stated they would not use the franchise tag on him in 2021. Looking at the pending free agents at the tackle position, it's easy to see that Trent Williams is far-and-away the best player available. Williams has stated that he would like to return to the 49ers, which is good news, but he also wants to test the market to determine his value, which could be bad news. There are enough teams flush with cap space, even with a cap-tightened season, and a need...
  • By Brian Renick
    Feb 18, 2021 at 12:54 PM 3 comments
    Carson Wentz was traded on February 18th, 2021, from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Indianapolis Colts, for a 2021 3rd-round pick and a 2022 2nd-round pick that can turn into a 1st-round pick if Wentz reaches 75% of the Colts' offensive snaps in 2021 or 70% of the offensive snaps and the Colts make the playoffs. With Wentz headed out of Philadelphia, there is not a single quarterback drafted in the first round from the 2012 through 2016 NFL drafts who is still with the team that drafted him (with some not even in the NFL anymore). That is an astounding stretch of incredibly poor quarterback drafting. It also highlights a very important fact about drafting a quarterback in the first round: there are significantly more busts than hits. The 49ers...
  • By Brian Renick
    Jan 26, 2021 at 8:39 AM 10 comments
    Once upon a time, Kyle Shanahan had a mobile, playmaking quarterback leading his offense. His name was Robert Griffin III, and he took the NFL by storm his rookie year, leading his team to the playoffs and winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Then, in the team's first playoff game, against the Seattle Seahawks, RGIII tore some ligaments in his right knee and broke Kyle's heart. And just like a spurned lover, he vowed never to have his heart broken like that again. As George W. Bush once famously said, "fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." Before, and since, the ill-fated RGIII experiment in Washington, Kyle Shanahan has had a very specific flavor of quarterback leading his offenses. They're all shades of Kirk Cousins,...
  • By Brian Renick
    Jan 21, 2021 at 11:52 AM 8 comments
    Last offseason, the San Francisco 49ers had a brief flirtation with Tom Brady. The Bay Area native was a free agent for the first time in his career, but the 49ers had just come off a Super Bowl run with Brady's former heir apparent Jimmy Garoppolo under center, so the flirtation was brief. Eventually, Brady signed with the Tampa Bay (Tompa Bay?) Buccaneers, who will be playing in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers (fun tidbit: Tom Brady has been to more NFC Championship games in the last 25 years (1), than the Dallas Cowboys). Even though the future Hall-of-Famer didn't sign with the 49ers, he still could help the team in the 2021 season. Jimmy Garoppolo learned a lot under Tom Brady in New England. One of Brady's best attributes as a QB is his...
  • By Brian Renick
    Jan 10, 2021 at 12:40 PM 14 comments
    The smoke that began rising on Twitter earlier this week about Deshaun Watson being unhappy in Houston has consistently gotten thicker as the week has progressed. Typically, where there's smoke, there's fire. The 49ers absolutely must pursue all avenues available to them to bring Watson to Santa Clara. He would instantly transform this 49ers squad into a perennial Super Bowl contender. Watson finished the 2020 season as the second-highest rated passer in the league behind likely MVP Aaron Rodgers. He accomplished this on a team that was relatively bereft of talent on the offensive side of the ball, and was mired in a terrible coaching situation (Bill O'Brien was fired after four straight losses to start the season). Despite the dysfunction, Watson still led the...
  • By Brian Renick
    Jan 2, 2021 at 12:10 PM 12 comments
    49er fans have been spoiled by the Joe Montana and Steve Young eras. From 1981 (Montana's first year as a starter) to 1998 (Young's last full season), fans grew accustomed to having an MVP-level QB starting for their team each season. Every quarterback who has started for the Red and Gold since 1999 has been judged, fairly or not, against the success of those two legends. One year removed from a Super Bowl run, and after another season derailed by an injury, a majority of fans and 49ers' Twitter have determined that Jimmy Garoppolo is not the future. They have been clamoring for the team to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft to get one of the top 4 QB prospects coming out of college: Trevor Lawrence from Clemson, Justin Fields from Ohio State, Zach Wilson from BYU, or Trey Lance...
  • By Brian Renick
    Nov 2, 2020 at 3:00 PM 7 comments
    I don't think Jimmy Garoppolo is a bad quarterback. I think he is a good quarterback who, when surrounded by a good team, can lead said team to a Super Bowl, as evidenced by the 2019 season. I also don't think it is fair to judge Garoppolo as harshly as some have this season because, according to reports, the guy has been playing on torn ligaments in his ankle. When healthy, Jimmy has done quite a bit of winning in his career. The only quarterbacks with a higher winning percentage (with at least 30 games started) than Garoppolo's .743 are Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady, in that order. That's pretty good company. However, there has only been one season in his career during which he has played a full 16-game season, and that was 2019. Football is a violent game, and injuries...
  • By Brian Renick
    Sep 24, 2020 at 2:47 PM 1 comment
    Alright, now the sky does feel like it's falling a bit. After the final whistle blew last week against the Jets, the 49ers hobbled to the locker room, heads spinning from the sheer volume of injuries that occurred to key players. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an ankle injury, superstar edge rusher Nick Bosa was lost for the season with a torn ACL, two plays later defensive line cog Solomon Thomas was also lost for the season with a torn ACL, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman both left with knee sprains, defensive lineman D.J. Jones suffered an ankle injury, and linebacker Dre Greenlaw suffered a deep thigh bruise. Add all of those to the list of players who were already sidelined: George Kittle, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, Deebo Samuel, Weston Richburg, Jason...
  • By Brian Renick
    Sep 16, 2020 at 11:43 AM 0 comments
    I have recently discovered one of my new favorite shows on Hulu during this COVID-19 quarantine. It's called Letterkenny, and it's a half-hour comedy out of Canada that brings jokes, wit, and one-liners at a pace that is almost overwhelming at times. There is a LOT of Canadian slang (yes that's a real thing, and most of it comes from hockey), and one of the phrases that main character Wayne, the town's champion fighter and tough guy, says often when confronted by nonsense from somebody is "You better settle down over there or I'm gonna come talk to ya." 49er fans, you better settle down over there or I'm gonna come talk ya! The 49ers' performance against the Cardinals in Week 1 was less than stellar. The offense looked disjointed with its top two receivers, Deebo...
  • By Brian Renick
    Aug 31, 2020 at 9:00 AM 1 comment
    Most people know how important the quarterback position is in football. The 49ers are going to go as far as Jimmy Garoppolo can take them. However, there are other people in the organization that will have a significant impact on whether or not the 2020 season ends with the Niners hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The five 49ers not named Jimmy Garoppolo who will have the biggest impact on the success of this season are Kyle Shanahan, Trent Williams, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, and George Kittle. Kyle Shanahan Shanahan automatically gives the 49ers the edge in every game they play. His play-calling brilliance comes from a deep understanding of defensive principles, tendencies, and schemes. His personnel groupings dictate which players the opposing defensive...
  • By Brian Renick
    Aug 19, 2020 at 3:42 PM 7 comments
    Alex Smith can be a lightning rod for 49er fans. He is, arguably, the poster child for the lean years of the Nolan/Singletary/Tomsula (1 game) era. There is the ever-present "Smith taken ahead of Rodgers" storyline, or the way he was Wally Pipp'd by Colin Kaepernick on the way to a Super Bowl season. All of that aside, Alex Smith is one my favorite 49ers of the last twenty years. It was not his fault that he was drafted #1 overall to a team that was nowhere near ready to compete. It's not his fault that, during his tenure in San Francisco, he had 4 different head coaches and SEVEN different offensive coordinators (Mike McCarthy, Norv Turner, Jim Hostler, Mike Martz, Jimmy Raye II, Mike Johnson, and finally Greg Roman). That is a Murderer's Row of mediocrity and ineptitude...
  • By Brian Renick
    Jun 10, 2020 at 8:00 AM 3 comments
    Last season, the 49ers initial 53-man roster broke down like this on the offensive side: 3 quarterbacks 4 running backs 7 wide receivers 4 tight ends 8 offensive linemen The makeup of the offensive side of the ball from a roster-building perspective probably won't deviate much from last season. The NFL and NFL Player's Association negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement over the offseason. One of the changes from a roster standpoint is the increase in the active game-day roster, from 46 players to 48 players (as long as one of the extra two players is an offensive lineman). So one change that you may see from last season is nine offensive linemen. This would mean there would have to be a reduction in...
  • By Brian Renick
    Jun 1, 2020 at 4:17 PM 4 comments
    49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was 2 yards, or fewer, away from being named Super Bowl LIV MVP. That's how far he overthrew wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for an easy touchdown in the 4th quarter. If Sanders was just a little bit faster, or if Garoppolo's throw had a little less behind it, the narratives surrounding the 49ers and their starting quarterback this offseason would be drastically different. As it is, Garoppolo has faced a barrage of analysis, articles, and tweets questioning whether he is a good starting quarterback, let alone a great one. All of this chatter has come after a season in which he guided his team to a 13-3 record, completed 69.1% of his passes (4th in the NFL), threw 27 touchdowns (5th) and 13 interceptions, and 8.4...
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