By, KALLE SORBO
Let’s play the game of hypotheticals:
As much fun as the games themselves are to watch, we watch the NFL for the storylines. Powerful stories pop up every year that make us remember why we love sports. There have been some great stories this year so far: James Connor, Phillip Lindsay, Khalil Mack to the Bears, and the Ascension of Pat Mahomes to name a few. A lot of these story lines weren’t even a thought in most people’s minds a year ago. In the spirit of that idea let’s play a game of hypotheticals. Here are some future storylines, that while unlikely would be incredibly entertaining.
The 49ers have two franchise QBs:
The 49ers lost this week and Nick Mullen fell back to earth after his otherworldly performance against the Raiders. Even though the 49ers lost Mullen still played well. We was 29 of 37 for 250 Yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. The stats don’t jump off the page, but if you watch the game you know Mullen did not play poorly. The two picks were both tipped passes, and the man was a miracle worker on third-and-long Monday night. If he continues to play well, the 49ers could pull off four or five more wins the rest of the season.
Here is the hypothetical. If Nick Mullen balls out the rest of the season, and shows real progress as a possible franchise quarterback the 49ers have the greatest problem in the world. They would have what appears to be two franchise quarterbacks. They could use it to their advantage and have one of the most comfortable backup QB situations in football. But most likely the value they could get for either player would be too enticing for John Lynch to pass up. They would have a decision to make. If their play is similar enough the obvious choice is to go with Mullen on his cheap contract, and trade Jimmy G. But if they feel like Jimmy G is clearly better, trading Mullen for at least a first round pick would become an option.
This would create potentially an entirely new Quarterback market next season. If Mullen is great, and the 49ers go with him, Jimmy G could make a lot of teams instantly interesting. Jacksonville, Denver and even the New York Giants would be immediate contenders with a real franchise guy. Imagine Jimmy G under the bright lights of New York City. That feels big, doesn’t it?
Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb are the next Jared Goff and Todd Gurley.
Cleveland is already in the market for a new head coach after firing Hue Jackson after a 2-5-1 start. They are obviously going to go after a young offensive minded coach, as is the trend right now. If they hit on the next play calling genius an LA Sean McVay, Cleveland could be incredibly interesting as early as next year.
Jared Goff had one of the worst rookie seasons in memory, and with the right coaching the following year he popped. Baker Mayfield, on the other hand, has shown moments of brilliance, and a lot of promise. If he were, for example, paired with Lincoln Riley, his coach from Oklahoma, Baker could be a real talent in this league.
Nick Chubb had a career day this weekend. He had 209 total yards, and averaged 8.8 yards per carry, highlighted by a 92-yard touchdown run. The Georgia product has been the team’s feature back since they traded Carlos Hyde. It shows how much confidence GM John Dorsey has in his second round pick.
The Browns have invested heavily in the offensive line over the past few years. Expect them to grab a Left Tackle high in next year’s draft as a long-term replacement for Joe Thomas. Their defense is already real. With a serious offensive line, a brilliant coach, and a star QB and RB duo, the Browns would be the favorites in the AFC North for years to come. The very unconventional power structure in the AFC North would be fun for all football fans outside of Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
PHOTO OF THE 49ERS COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS