Odds on What the San Francisco 49er Fans Will Complain About in 2018
The 2017 season was an up-and-down affair for the 49er faithful. It started out about as bad as it could get. But then something happened along the way; the San Francisco 49ers traded with the New England Patriots to get backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Not only did the season turn around once he became the starter, but the franchise’s future looks very promising with Jimmy G. leading the team.
Unfortunately – not to rain on the 49er parade – there are still many concerns heading into the season and several things that fans have complained about all offseason long. I expect these disgruntled fans to continue some of the complaints well into the season. The following is a list of the 49er faithful’s biggest gripes and the made-up odds that I have attributed to each complaint.
The 49ers Should Sign Dez Bryant (-750)
As of this writing, the former Dallas Cowboys receiver is still sitting in free agency looking for the ideal landing spot. He’s been rumored to be interested in several different teams, including the 49ers. Recently, he posted on Instagram about his interest in joining the 49ers. But is that interest mutual?
If you ask the 49er fanbase, they will say yes. In fact, they’ve already been grumbling on social media in regards to taking a look at the former all-pro receiver. Bryant has seen a dip in his production, but he still has some solid numbers over the last few years and is still a threat in the red zone.
Currently, San Francisco has Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin at the top of the depth chart. Goodwin had an impressive season last year with Jimmy G., and the team is hoping for a repeat performance this year. Garcon was out for the second half of the season in 2017 with a neck injury and didn’t even get to play with Garoppolo. Trent Taylor became a productive slot receiver and has a shot and reclaiming that role. Additionally, the 49ers added Dante Pettis in the draft, who was a productive receiver in college and a solid special teams player.
With all of that said, Bryant could definitely upgrade this unit and make the team even better. He might not be able to stretch the field, but he can move the chains, provides a big body, and would help in the red zone. I expect the 49er fans to keep up the offseason complaints over not signing Bryant well into the season. The only thing that would change this is if Dez does sign with the team at some point.
McKinnon Is Not Worth That Salary (-500)
During the offseason, San Francisco offered Jerick McKinnon a 4-year, $30 million deal. It shocked everyone because McKinnon has never been a full-time starter in the NFL, and his best season was last year when he finished with 991 total yards and 5 total touchdowns. He did have 51 receptions, and I believe that’s one thing that really appeals to head coach Kyle Shanahan.
If you remember, Kyle had a couple dual-threat running backs during his time as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. I believe he envisions McKinnon as another weapon that he can’t wait to get his hands on.
McKinnon does have some upside in his athleticism and his dual-threat skills. He’s a mismatch out of the backfield, and he does have breakaway speed. As a threat to take it to the house, defenses will have to respect the 49ers running back and their running game.
With all of that said, McKinnon is the 7th-highest-paid running back in 2018 based on his cap hit of $6 million. He’s in the top 5 for highest-paid running backs in terms of salary per year at $7.5 million. I expect fans to complain throughout the season over this contract. Until McKinnon can justify this large contract by on-field success, he will be one of the focal points for disgruntled fans in 2018. On the flip side, if he does produce as a top-7 running back in the NFL this season, then the contract will be worth every penny.
Richard Sherman Is Not a #1 Corner Anymore (-200)
For many years, Richard Sherman was the man that every 49ers fan hated. Sherman was at the forefront of the bitter rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks that saw Seattle eventually dominate San Francisco over the last few years. Sherman never shied away from being critical of the 49ers and their fans. Ultimately, his on-field success and off-field comments turned him into San Francisco’s #1 most hated opposing player. And now, he’s on the 49ers via free agency after the Seahawks released Sherman this offseason.
I find it very comical that the man San Francisco fans hated more than anyone else in the league is now expected to step in and lead this secondary. The 49ers’ brass is hoping that Sherman can be a shutdown corner for them and help turn this defense into a top-10 unit.
But do you honestly think that the fans will just forgive Richard Sherman and not boo him any chance they get? I know many 49ers fans, and they were not happy at all that the 49ers signed Sherman. They were even more irate when they found out that the team signed Sherman to a 3-year, $39.15 million contract with $5 million guaranteed as a signing bonus.
Sherman just turned 30 this offseason and is coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon. He was able to play in 9 games last year and recorded 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, and 25 total tackles. Sherman hasn’t had more than 4 interceptions in a season since 2013, when he had 8.
His on-field play hasn’t dipped much in recent years – just his stats. But coming off a significant injury like he is, there are legitimate concerns over whether or not he can return to his all-pro form.
With the longstanding hatred that 49er fans had toward Sherman, and his large contract, I can see the fans booing or complaining about Sherman with every missed tackle and blown coverage this season.
Should Not Have Given Jimmy G. That Much Money (+250)
After the 2017 season ended, and just before the beginning of the 2018 offseason, the 49ers offered Jimmy Garoppolo a massive salary to prevent the young QB from looking for greener pastures. In fact, they offered Jimmy G. so much green that it had NFL pundits and fans in disbelief.
The 49ers signed Garoppolo to a 5-year, $137.5 million contract with $74 million guaranteed. It breaks down to roughly $27.5 million per season, which was the highest contract in the NFL at the time of the February signing. Atlanta’s quarterback Matt Ryan has broken this salary mark since then.
Garoppolo has only started 7 games in his career, and this massive contract really rubbed non-believers the wrong way. The die-hard 49er faithful loved locking up Garoppolo, but there was a large contingent of San Francisco fans who felt this contract was too much. They questioned whether or not the 49ers had to make Jimmy G. the highest-paid player in the NFL.
If you look deeper into the contract, you will realize that the 49ers can get out after the 3rd year and recoup some money. There are many NFL pundits who are more educated than most of us in regards to contractual numbers who say that this deal is essentially a 3-year contract with team options for the last two years.
In my opinion, 49er fans do have a legit gripe with the initial signing of this contract. And if Jimmy G. doesn’t provide an early return on this money, then fans will be right to complain during the season. But if Jimmy G. starts winning games right out of the gate, leads the 49ers to a winning record, and produces top-12 QB stats, then those complainers need to keep silent and thank the NFL gods that the team has a franchise quarterback.
The New Throwback Jerseys Are a Waste of Cash (+750)
In late May, the 49ers unveiled their new throwback jerseys to the fans at their state of the franchise event. Initially, this unveiling was met with some mixed responses, as many fans rushed out to buy the new throwback jerseys, while others took to their Twitter handles to complain. The most common gripe I saw on social media and web sites was that some fans felt like this was just a ploy to get more money from them. Well, duh! That’s what all teams do. They’re running a business, not a non-profit organization.
The jerseys are a throwback to the 1994 Super Bowl season. They look sweet, and many fans have already blown up the 49ers online store in a rush to get these jerseys. According to SacBee.com, within the first week of sales, the 49ers had already , and Jimmy G’s jersey was the top seller at 63% of all sales. After Jimmy, fans were buying up jerseys of popular 1994 players like Rice, Sanders, and Young.
It’s unclear as to when the team will wear these jerseys during the season. There has been no official announcement as of this writing. But you can expect some fans to complain about these jerseys when the team wears them for a game, even if they look really cool.
Jed York Needed to Vote on the Anthem Policy (+1000)
Every NFL fan knows about the protests that players have been doing over the last two years during the national anthem. Without leaning one way or the other, this topic has been at the center of controversy for the last two years, and it was finally addressed by owners on May 23rd when they voted on the NFL’s new anthem policy. The majority of owners unanimously voted in favor of this new policy. Well, all but one.
In short, the new policy states that players are no longer allowed to do anything that is perceived to disrespect the anthem. If a player violates this policy, then the team will be fined by the NFL. Players who want to protest are allowed to stay in the locker room during the anthem.
San Francisco owner Jed York was the only NFL owner not to vote on this policy, which is rather weak in my opinion considering his former players were at the forefront of this movement. There have been many 49er fans grumbling over , as they believe he should’ve made his vote count due to his previous support for players like Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid. Instead, York abstained and decided to now close the stadium concessions during the anthem. According to ESPN, York made the following comments about that decision:
“I don’t think we should profit during the national anthem. If we’re going to ask people to be respectful, I think that’s something we should do to be successful. We want to make sure we have an all-encompassing sort of solution to how we look at this and not point the finger at one group or another.”
Needless to say, this concession decision seems silly considering the 49ers are still making money off other services during the anthem. Anyhow, without getting into a huge debate over this topic, there are fans that have lambasted York over his handling of anthem protests and his decision not to vote. Additionally, these fans have also taken to social media to ridicule York over his concession decision.
Should’ve Released or Should Trade Reuben Foster (+2000)
When the news hit over Reuben Foster facing two felony charges for domestic violence this spring, many 49ers fans wanted the team to cut Foster immediately and/or trade him. Fortunately for Foster, the legal process played out, and he was vindicated of all charges after the “victim” recanted her accusations. The felony charges were dismissed, and Foster was able to return to the team, where his peers and coaches have welcomed him with open arms.
Foster is expected to slide into a starting role this year and help lead an improved 49ers front 7. San Francisco drafted the former Alabama linebacker with the 31st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was signed to a 4-year, $9 million deal and finished his rookie season with 72 total tackles in 10 games. Foster did miss 5 games due to an ankle injury.
Foster is a dynamic young linebacker who got caught up with the wrong person. It happens to the best of us. Ultimately, he was very fortunate to be vindicated of the felony charges and to be proven innocent. He is still facing a misdemeanor charge for possession of an illegal firearm, which was reduced from a felony charge.
As for the fans who wanted to give Foster the boot, this is why you wait to see if someone is innocent before branding the person guilty. Despite his innocence and assumed on-field production this season, there will still be some knuckleheads complaining about Foster and demanding that the team move on from him.