While NFL fans and the media see the moves as a Los Angeles team looking to solidify itself as repeat NFC West champions in 2018, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (perhaps jokingly) sees it more as concern about going against his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, twice a year.
Witherspoon, who just finished his rookie NFL season in 2017, is the lone starting cornerback on the 49ers defense. He started nine games and registered 32 combined tackles, seven passes defensed, two interceptions, and a forced fumble. Dontae Johnson, who was benched twice late last season, is scheduled to become a free agent next week and is not expected to be re-signed by San Francisco.
As for Garoppolo, the Niner Faithful are well aware of his 2017 accomplishments, which warranted a new five-year deal worth up to $137.5 million. After starting the season 1-10, Garoppolo guided the 49ers to five-straight wins. He completed 120 of his 178 pass attempts for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions, a passer rating of 96.2, and a rushing touchdown during his five starts and six game appearances with the 49ers.
"You saw a lot of good things," Rams head coach Sean McVay said of Garoppolo last week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "I think when you look at it, a huge amount of respect for [Kyle Shanahan] and the way he's able to put his players in good spots. Then I think with Jimmy, you talk about some of the traits that you're looking for. He's a natural thrower of the football. He can move around, buy time with his legs, change the launch point, showed great feel for the play-action game. So you see why they're excited about him."