New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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On paper, context aside, the 2021 QB class has been closer to a disaster than competent.

The San Francisco 49ers haven’t had a first-round pick since 2021, when they traded heaven and earth for a promising dual-threat quarterback from North Dakota State. Trey Lance hardly saw the field, and the Niners moved Lance to the Dallas Cowboys before the 2023 regular season.

Before San Francisco signed Josh Dobbs to a one-year contract, former New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson was rumored to the Niners to be Brock Purdy’s backup, a deal never came to fruition, as San Francisco would’ve had to pay Wilson north of $5 million, which was double what they paid for Dobbs.

On Monday, Wilson became the fourth quarterback traded from the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Per multiple reports, Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos for a Day 3 pick. Denver ended up moving down around 50 or so spots in the NFL Draft for Wilson.

Here’s a look at each quarterback and what they were traded for:

  • Trey Lance: 4th-round pick — Niners offloaded $6.3 million in cap relief
  • Zach Wilson: 6th-7th round pick swap with $5.5 million relief
  • Justin Fields: 6th-round pick — $3.2 million in salary relief
  • Mac Jones: 6th-round — $2.8 million salary relief

Glass half full: The Niners got the best deal in return. They were also the first to do business, which may have led to their return.

Glass half empty: Well, consider what they gave up for Lance in the first place, and this is hardly a “win.” Plus, they’re playing $5.5 million of Lance’s signing bonus in 2024, which is listed under their “dead cap.

Unless Lance gets a chance or Fields makes the most of his opportunity with the Steelers, Trevor Lawrence is the only saving grace from what was viewed as a promising 2021 NFL Draft class.

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