Sitting at 2-4 on the season and 4.5 games behind the division-leading Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, San Francisco is going nowhere fast this season.
The backdrop here is a quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who has accounted for as many turnovers (seven) as touchdowns (seven) on the season and a head coach, Kyle Shanahan, who is suddenly in over his head as a playcaller.
With a week go to ahead of the NFL trade deadline, general manager John Lynch needs to do something to light a fire under this team. He also must look to beyond what’s seemingly a lost 2021 season. Meanwhile, Shanahan himself has to check his ego at the door and make one pretty obvious move. Here’s a look at three things the San Francisco 49ers must do to get it right.
Related: Updated NFL trade rumors
San Francisco 49ers trade Mike McGlinchey
One of Lynch’s many early-round misses since he took over as general manager, McGlinchey has regressed big time in recent years. There was a point a few years ago when the former top-10 pick from Notre Dame looked like the right tackle of the future. Now, he struggles big time in pass protection.
San Francisco could look to move the still-young 26-year-old lineman inside, but his 6-foot-8 frame and lack of strength might prevent that. Instead, it makes sense to nab a second-round pick and change for the tackle. The 49ers could then insert rookie fifth-round pick Jaylon Moore at right tackle opposite Trent Williams. He drew rave reviews during the preseason and performed well in Week 7 replacing Williams at left tackle.
San Francisco 49ers trade for Xavien Howard
Unlike other teams in San Francisco’s situation, this squad is not going into full-scale rebuild mode. It needs to retool on the fly due to the lack of draft assets and what is still a talented young roster. That’s where exhausting a second-round selection in 2021 and more on a proven shut-down corner makes the most sense.
Roster building has been an issue with these 49ers. How else can we explain the likes of Dre Kirkpatrick and Josh Norman getting a ton of play in the secondary? Having committed 14 defensive pass interference penalties through six games, San Francisco’s cornerback situation is a mess. Adding a 28-year-old corner who has led the NFL in interceptions two of the past three seasons, regardless of his salary and the cost, is a move San Francisco has to make.
San Francisco 49ers bench/trade Jimmy Garoppolo
It now seems laughable that the 49ers were demanding a first-round pick in exchange for Garoppolo during the off-season. Heck, we’re not even sure they could trade the struggling quarterback given his recent performance and still-bloated contract.
What we do know is that it’s time for San Francisco to go with Trey Lance under center. Shanahan’s explanation that the team is still in playoff contention in announcing Garoppolo will be the Week 8 starter is laughable. Keeping Lance on the bench as a way to give him more time to learn the nuances of the NFL is also borderline insanity.
San Francisco has enough talent on offense that Lance won’t be put in a situation similar to what we’re seeing with fellow rookies Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. He’s already shown promise. Give him the keys to the kingdom in a lost season and expedite the hand-off from Jimmy to Lance. What’s so hard about this?