The arms race to find an elite quarterback might go hand-in-hand with winning in the NFL.
In recent years, several teams have ditched quarterbacks that were deemed to be just fine in hopes of finding someone better. In 2021, the Rams moved on from Jared Goff when they traded for Matthew Stafford from the Lions. The 49ers took a different approach in trying to replace Jimmy Garoppolo, trading several draft picks, including three first-round picks, in order to move up in the draft and select an unproven Trey Lance.
A year later, the Rams are reigning Super Bowl champs while the 49ers find themselves in an awkward situation with Garoppolo, as Lance sat for much of his rookie season before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 2.
For Colin Cowherd, one question must be answered when making the move at quarterback: You have to find a clearly better solution, and going through the draft isn’t the best way to do it.
“The 49ers’ roster is too good to give it to somebody like a Trey Lance right now, that we don’t know if he can play,” Cowherd said on Thursday’s “The Herd.” “You can’t move Garoppolo for that. You can’t move a Tua and Goff for that. The NFL Draft gives us one great quarterback a year, or about 1.5 great quarterbacks the last 20 years.”
Why Jimmy G, Tua and Jared Goff are the NFL’s ‘most underappreciated QBs’
Colin Cowherd shared why the 49ers, Dolphins, and Lions need to be careful in how they treat their quarterback situations.
The 49ers’ and Rams’ situations are just two of the more recent examples of teams moving on from quarterbacks because they viewed them as good but not good enough. The Dolphins dealt with questions this offseason as to whether or not Tua Tagovailoa was good enough to be a franchise quarterback. (It didn’t help Tagovailoa’s case that Miami tampered with Tom Brady in recent seasons.)
Goff finds himself at the center of another quarterback situation again, this time in Detroit, as the Lions are in Year 2 of their post-Stafford days.
Cowherd ran down the respective résumés for each of the aforementioned quarterbacks. Garoppolo has a 98.6 passer rating with a 2:1 touchdown-interception ratio while winning 69.4% of his 49 career starts. Goff made it to the Super Bowl with the Rams and has posted a 93.5 passer rating so far with the Lions while winning four more games than he’s lost so far in his career. Tagovailoa holds the best passer rating in the league so far in 2022 season and is 16-9 as a starter.
In order to move on from those kinds of quarterbacks, it has to be in a move similar to what the defending Super Bowl champs made a year ago, according to Cowherd.
“If you’re going to move a Garoppolo or Tua, and I’m not a Tua fan, or a Goff, you have to give me an answer or a solution, like [Sean] McVay did,” Cowherd said. “McVay said, ‘I like Goff, but I’m going to upgrade with someone in the league – Stafford.’ OK. If you want to move off Garoppolo for whoever you view in the league that’s better, like Stafford was out there for them, OK. If you want to move off Tua for someone like a Derek Carr, who for me is better, OK.
“But the quarterback play at the top now is so good that we find Garoppolo, Goff and Tua, like ‘Oh, just get me some college guy! Get me an FCS guy that hasn’t played much.’ Are you out of your mind? Do you know how good you have to be to get Garoppolo’s, Goff’s and Tua’s numbers? Two of them have been to Super Bowls. The Rams did it right.”
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