Anavarathan: Trading for Jimmy Garappolo doesn't take away from 49ers' rebuild
It was about 5:30 PM PST and it was a fairly slow news cycle for a Monday. The 49ers placed a few players on injured reserve and signed a couple of players to their practice squad. San Francisco was ravaged with injuries across the team and the morale for the fan base was at an all-time low for the season.
Kyle Breitkreutz -- the 49ersHub manager -- sent a text message and all it reads is "OMG Jimmy Garappolo" and immediately I knew the 49ers had traded for the Patriots' backup quarterback. I immediately open Twitter to find Adam Schefter's report that Garappolo was indeed going to be a 49er for a 2018 second-round pick.
The excitement was boiling on the inside. When was the last time the 49ers had a franchise quarterback? Colin Kaepernick for a season and a half? What about before that? Jeff Garcia? It's not often since the may day of Joe Montana and Steve Young do the 49ers have a franchise quarterback in the building.
#49ersTwitter, as we like to call it, was beyond excited with the trade for various reasons. For some folks, it signaled an end to Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard. For others, it meant no Kirk Cousins in the offseason. For people like me, it signaled a potential end to the roller coaster ride at the quarterback position.
About an hour later, I left the office and was heading home. With about a 40-minute commute ahead of me, I got to thinking about what Garappolo to the 49ers really means. Well, in 2017, it doesn't really change the outlook. The 49ers have a putrid offensive line -- especially with LT Joe Staley out for a few weeks and RT Trent Brown coming back from the concussion. It almost doesn't seem fair to put Garappolo behind that line.
The 49ers are already 0-8 and looking towards 2018. They'll have over $100 million in cap space, and numerous draft picks at their disposal to revamp this team. Adding Jimmy Garappolo doesn't mean that San Francisco is going to start winning tomorrow or at any point this season. They're still on path to a 2-14 or 3-13 season -- that's ambitious, isn't it -- but the potential franchise quarterback is in the building.
John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have numerous positions of need to hit on in the offseason in order to field a competitive team next year. Offensively, they need to figure out the contract situation with Carlos Hyde. Even though G Josh Garnett will be coming back, the 49ers should look to add other offensive linemen. WR Pierre Garcon and Trent Taylor look fantastic, but they're still missing a true No. 1 receiver. (Martavis Bryant, anyone?) TEs George Kittle and Cole Hikutini will develop nicely, but they're still rookies in the NFL.
Defensively, where will the pass rush for the 49ers come from? Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead aren't bringing it. The cornerback depth has been poor too. Rashard Robinson isn't living up to the hype and I'm tired of seeing yellow laundry on the field every time he's aggressive in coverage. Reuben Foster needs a running mate, doesn't he? Malcolm Smith comes back, but do you trust Ray-Ray Armstrong and Co.? Jimmie Ward hits the IR and Eric Reid's going to be a free agent.
While adding Jimmy Garappolo takes a huge question out of the picture, don't let it fool you from what the 49ers still have ahead of themselves. Nearly every other position group on the team needs upgrading and while they have the resources to do it, it's now up to Lynch and Shanahan to deliver on the rest of the roster. Adding Garappolo is great in theory, but the wins won't come until the rest of the rebuild is complete.