The worst team in the NFL is not one of the league’s winless teams after three weeks. It is, however, a team that may not win another game the rest of the season and is in such disarray on and off the field, they need to tear apart what little remains of it and begin planning for the 2016 season now. I am talking about the San Francisco 49ers.
We all know about the early retirements of three key players, the arrest and subsequent release of another, plus a guy in khaki pants acting like a lunatic leaving. Still, many believed San Francisco had enough talent to make teams earn their victories. They don’t.
In the NFL, when a team gets blown out like San Francisco did in week two against Pittsburgh, it’s always a test of the team and its coaching staff how they respond. In week three, San Francisco announced loud and clear they are just going through the motions with an even worse performance against division rival Arizona.
Colin Kaepernick tossed two first quarter touchdowns … to the other team. Yes, that’s right, not one, but two pick sixes — back-to-back. He ended up with nine completions (to his team) out of nineteen passes.
He also added two more interceptions to the pick sixes for a total of four. Here is the real concern. As bad as his performance was, it was not bad enough for coach JimTomsula to yank him for the mediocre Blane Gabbert.
But a 47-7 loss was not just the fault of one player. It was a team effort, or lack there of. It clearly shows their new head coach is in way over his head and might want to start updating his resume because he is not long for his current gig.
When this season ends, NFL fans will look back and wonder how San Francisco managed to win their season opener against what now looks like a strong Minnesota Vikings squad. As for now, a quick glance at the remainder of their schedule shows they are not likely to win again.
This is important because with the NFL trade deadline set for November 3rd, San Francisco would be wise to deal what few talented skill pieces they have to offer teams in need of someone who might take them to the Super Bowl.
There are five players San Francisco should strongly consider trading for future draft picks. None will warrant a first round pick and only one might bring in a second rounder. However, when you look at a team like the New England Patriots, they remain among the best teams in the league because of the gems they find in rounds three through six.
These are the guys who play hungry and with a chip on their shoulder and often make it possible for them to rid their roster of more expensive players to continually bring in fresh talent in great multitudes. Quick, besides Tom Brady and a guy named Gronk, name one other star on the defending Super Bowl champions.
So who should San Francisco trade and what should they expect in return? I would begin with Colin Kaepernick. A year or two ago, he would have brought the team a first round pick. However, his value has dropped while his mistakes have increased.
Still, the NFL is filled with coaches who believe they are the only one who can fix Kaepernick’s problems and he might serve a team well if they believe they are a good quarterback away from being a great team.
Should Peyton Manning retire after this year, Kaepernick might be viewed as someone to take over for the legend. He might also do well in Philadelphia should Sam Bradford’s knees fail him again and he could not be any worse than Jay Cutler who is bound to be finished in Chicago when this year ends.
Next, I would offer up wide receiver Anquan Boldin for a mid-round pick. Teams like New England, Dallas, Green Bay or Denver would love the prospect of adding him to a playoff bound roster. Basically, they are renting his services for half a season, which might well pay off with a Super Bowl title.
Tight ends are now a big deal in the NFL and coaches would love to have someone with the size, speed, blocking ability, and hands of Vernon Davis. He has been the most under used player in the NFL the last few years and a team looking to bring in someone who can be a difference maker when used correctly would love to get him for a mid round pick.
San Francisco would also be wise to trade NaVarro Bowman. He seems to have come back nicely from a near career-ending injury. He is a human tackling machine who plays the inside linebacker position as well as anyone.
However, with this being his sixth year in the league, he is likely to no longer be a factor once San Francisco has rebuilt their team. Pittsburgh would love to have the former Penn State star if the price was right. Again, a fourth or fifth round pick would be a wise investment.
Along with these trades, San Francisco needs to rid itself of Reggie Bush. He has proven he cannot stay healthy and with this being his tenth year in the league, San Francisco would be wise to replace him with fresher and healthier legs. They could start by bringing up Kendall Gaskin from the practice roster.
San Francisco also needs to give Dylan Thompson the chance to at least get second team snaps at quarterback. If they trade Kaepernick, Blane Gabbert might serve them for the rest of the season, but the 49ers need to find their quarterback of the future. Thompson can speed the process up by being given the chance to see if he is worth keeping next year.
At this rate, nothing less than a total team over haul is needed if San Francisco dreams of greatness again. By trading the players I have mentioned for additional mid round picks to add to their current stockpile, the Forty-Niners will be able to position themselves to rebuild through the draft.
Next season, 2016, won’t be a great year, and 2017 might also be a struggle, but they can pay off nicely if they take what is left of their talent pool this year to have a large and much needed pool of fresh talent to turn into another playoff contending team.
As for this year, the fat lady has sung and it appears to be the blues for the red and gold.
(Top photo: Colin Kaepernick by Claudia Gestro)
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.