NFC Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams



  • The Athletic’s Matt Barrows believes 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan was comfortable enough with taking Alabama QB Mac Jones to trade up to No. 3 but now they’ll examine North Dakota State QB Trey Lance and Ohio State QB Justin Fields to see if they can be good fits and bring more upside. 
  • If 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has a good season in 2021, Barrows believes San Francisco will still have a viable market for him in a trade. 
  • Barrows expects the 49ers to look at addressing cornerback and pass rusher in the second round after trading up in the first. 
  • Tony Pauline of PFN reports that sources around the league have told him that their “gut feeling” is that the 49ers will draft Alabama QB Mac Jones at No. 3 overall.
  • However, there’s still a faction of current players that believes in Garoppolo, including RB Raheem Mostert: “I believe Jimmy Garoppolo will be our starting quarterback going into this season.” (Michael Fabiano)
  • 49ers TE George Kittle’s $11.45 million base salary for the 2022 season became fully guaranteed on Thursday. (Adam Schefter)
  • Oklahoma State LB Amen Ogbongbemiga said he had a virtual pre-draft meeting with the 49ers. (Aaron Wilson)  


Cardinals GM Steve Keim said they are still monitoring a “number of players” remaining on the free-agent market but the organization is shifting focus toward the 2021 NFL Draft. 

“There are a number of players are still out there (in free agency) and we will continue to monitor the market,” Keim said, via Darren Urban of the team’s official site. “We have the draft coming up now, and that will be a primary focus. That’s where most of the teams are at this point with draft meetings starting. After the draft, once teams assess their needs, they will probably go back to that market again.”

Keim added that their spending this offseason was based on “self-evaluation” and deciding positions they needed to improve. 

“It goes back to self-evaluation and identifying where you need to improve,” Keim said. “I know people have made comments that we’re going for it, or pushing our chips all in. I don’t really see it that way. I see it as a team that won five games, and then won eight games, and that wasn’t good enough. We had to self-evaluate and see where we needed to improve.”

Keim admitted that Kyler Murray still being on his rookie contract has helped enable them to spend more this offseason. 

“To me you can either sit back and watch it happen or you can be aggressive and take the bull by the horns. We had the opportunity, particularly with (quarterback) Kyler (Murray) on his rookie contract, to make some moves and be aggressive. I’m excited about the players we have added, and also the people we’ve added,” Keim said. 

  • Oregon State OLB Hamilcar Rashed is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, and wouldn’t mind following in the footsteps of WR Christian Kirk and CB Byron Murphy, who were both drafted by the Cardinals: “That would be fun. I see a lot of Arizona people going to the Cardinals. They draft them there and they’re doing great.” (Kyle Odegard)
  • The Cardinals were one of the teams to meet and speak with Oregon CB Deommodore Lenoir at his pro day. (Cam Mellor)


An NFL executive tells Mike Sando of The Athletic that based on what the 49ers traded the Dolphins to move up to No. 3 overall, the Rams did pretty well in their trade for QB Matthew Stafford

“You look at what the Niners just gave up to get the third overall pick and the Rams’ trade for Stafford seems fairly reasonable,” the exec said.

“I’d rather have Stafford,” the exec continued. “I’m not surprised Detroit got what they did for him. I’m surprised the best competing offer we heard about was the dumpy one from Carolina with just the eighth pick and Teddy Bridgewater. All we hear about is how this is a quarterback-driven league, you’ve gotta have one, you’ve gotta make sure you get one. Yet, a good one becomes available and the second-best offer is the eighth pick and a bad quarterback? Come on.

However, there are differing opinions on this, as a separate NFL evaluator tells Sando that he thinks Los Angeles overpaid. 

“I think really the Rams overpaid for Stafford,” an evaluator said. “He’s an upgrade over Goff, but they gave up a ton. They are clearly in win-now mode. Are they better this year? Yeah, but the amount of capital they gave up to get Stafford was outrageous. I don’t think Goff is that much worse than Stafford. He is not as good, but not terrible. Maybe I’m mis-evaluating Goff.”

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