The 49ers Passed On Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson Because They Wanted to Sign Kirk Cousins

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

Tim Kawakami published a story on The Athletic today about how the 49ers landed their golden boy Super Bowl quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. It's a charming tale of football guys getting things done before the sun comes up. It also says that Kyle Shanahan's original plan to turn around the Niners prominently featured Kirk Cousins. Via The Athletic:

"Shanahan and Lynch always relished the idea of acquiring then-Washington QB Kirk Cousins, a longtime Shanahan favorite back when he was the Washington offensive coordinator. Cousins was going to hit free agency in March 2018, and Shanahan, represented by the same agency, had a strong indication Cousins would be moving teams, with the 49ers very high on his wish list."

It only took Shanahan and Lynch about 10 minutes to agree that Garoppolo was worth giving up on Cousins, but it was still a discussion. A discussion that had kept them from drafting Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson a few months earlier.

"Still, the prospect of adding Cousins was strong enough to keep Shanahan and Lynch from seriously considering any other options, including using their 2017 first-round pick on Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes"

So the Niners' best-case scenario if Bill Belichick hadn't called and dropped Garoppolo in their laps was that they might have signed Kirk Cousins. That definitely isn't defensible in hindsight. I mean, maybe they're still a playoff team this season. The Niners just beat the Vikings in the divisional round. Minnesota won 10 regular season games and a playoff game with 31-year-old Kirk Cousins. Still...

The 49ers could have still made the Trubisky trade and took Mahomes or Watson. It's funny that because of the way things worked out, the Niners don't take as much crap as the Bears or the Browns for passing on Mahomes and Watson, but maybe they should.

It should also be noted that the third round pick the 49ers received in the Trubisky trade turned into Alvin Kamara. Shanahan might be a great coach, but without Bill Belichick - and Chip Kelly! - make the personnel moves, maybe he and Lynch wouldn't be getting such glowing profiles this week.