49ers' interest in Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton shows two QB paths

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What 49ers' interest in Trubisky, Dalton means for QB position originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

John Lynch was one of a handful of NFL general managers who did not meet with the local media in the lead-up to the new league year. Therefore, he did not provide fans of the 49ers with any insight into the organization’s thought process before the frenzy of free agency.

The only hint as to what the 49ers would try to accomplish came during an appearance on the “Eye Test for Two” podcast three weeks ago when he stated an objective this offseason was to improve the quarterback situation behind Jimmy Garoppolo.

“We have to insulate ourselves better,” Lynch said. “We got to have better options if he (Garoppolo) is not there.”

Currently, the No. 2 option behind Garoppolo on the roster is Josh Rosen, who was the No. 4 quarterback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season before the 49ers signed him off their practice squad late in the season.

So, we know the 49ers plan to bring in a reliable backup. And there’s some buzz around two free agents, which the NFL Network has connected with the 49ers: Mitchell Trubisky and Andy Dalton.

The 49ers’ interest in those two quarterbacks is not considered any surprise. But the organizational thinking behind those two unique options paints a picture that everything remains fluid with the 49ers’ approach at quarterback.

Trubisky is a four-year veteran who entered the NFL over-drafted, as it turned out, as the No. 2 overall spot in the 2017 draft. The Chicago Bears traded up one spot with the 49ers to select him.

Trubisky is a solid player. But solid does not cut it when you’re a quarterback chosen ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.Throw out Trubisky’s rookie season, and you’ll find a quarterback who completed 65 percent of his passes with 57 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. In games he started, the Bears were 25-13.

Trubisky also has some athleticism, which could provide the 49ers with a nice bail-out option when nothing is available with the designed play. He rushed for a career-best 421 yards and three touchdowns in 2018.

Trubisky is 26 years old. Yet, it seems unlikely he could end up in a situation in 2021 where he would have a legitimate chance to break training camp as a Week 1 starter.

If he chose to accept whatever deal the 49ers might offer, he would be coming to the 49ers as a backup to Garoppolo. He would have to be convinced coming to the 49ers under Kyle Shanahan is his best option at furthering his career and establishing roots somewhere.

He could impress the 49ers behind the scenes, then be ready to perform if ever called upon.

Then, he would have an opportunity to prove to the 49ers that the organization’s best chance at being a yearly contender is with him as the long-term quarterback.

RELATED: 49ers free agency grades: Ebukam worth taking chance on

Dalton would provide the 49ers with a completely different approach. Dalton would be seen as a stop-gap option as a backup, as well as a veteran presence who could provide Garoppolo with a lot of support.

Dalton is 33. He has been in the NFL for 10 seasons, and has always fit somewhere comfortably in the middle-tier of quarterbacks in the NFL. He started every game in which he appeared for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011 to 2019.

It seems, he was never the reason the Bengals won a game, and he was never the reason the Bengals lost.

If the 49ers brought in Dalton, it would likely be on a short-term deal. He made just $3 million last season as the Dallas Cowboys’ backup. At that price, he makes a lot of sense for the 49ers.

Dalton would be an insurance policy for the 49ers, of course. Ideally, he would never have to step on the field -- just as the Cowboys had hoped last year.

But, if something were to happen and Dalton was needed, the expectation is that he would step in and keep the 49ers’ season from imploding.

In other words, Dalton might not lead the 49ers to win after win after win, but he also would not be signify such a large quarterback drop-off that results in an endless string of losses.

Pay a little less for a veteran stop-gap? Or pay a little more for a player who could be around for a while?

The 49ers appear poised to head in either direction.

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