We all know we need a franchise QB, but many are not accepting the fact that there is no QB worth the number one spot. G Smith, M Glennon, T Wilson, or M Barkley would be a huge reach. Many will say we have to reach and I would agree with that idea, but I don't think we have to reach in April. I think we can have our cake and eat it too.
We have two high profile free agents set to hit the market this year in Albert and Bowe, with only one franchise tag. I think we should tag Albert as his trade value is much larger than. I would sign Bowe to a long term deal, we should be able to offer him the best contract on the market with our massive cap space. Albert is worth at least a late first round pick similar to Jason Peters to the Eagles a few years ago. Chicago, who I predict will be picking in the mid 20s would jump at the chance to solidify their weak offensive line with Albert's services. This would allow us to take BPA with the first pick and nab our 1st round QB with our 2nd pick in the draft.
Many will not like this idea because there is a fear that other QB needy teams will reach and we will be left with nothing. Lets look at our competition for a QB...
Cardinals - they will want a proven vet as they are in a win now mode. Alex Smith would love to play with Fitz and get revenge on Harbaugh.
Jets - Once again, they are in a win now mode and will want a vet. M Vick makes a lot of sense for them. Sparano likes mobile QBs to run his gimmick and Vick can throw too.
Jags - I think the Jags would be risk adverse to drafting another 1st round QB after taking Gabbert only two years, plus they will be reaching just like us.
Raiders - They have Palmer so they aren't desperate at the position and may opt for the 2nd round or trade back into the 1st.
Eagles - They have Nick Foles who they may want to see what they have in him. So I doubt they reach for a QB, especially with concerns over their offensive line.
Bills - pretty much a lock to take a QB. If all those teams above pass on a QB then I could see them taking Geno Smith, especially if Gailey is retained since he likes mobile QBs.
This would allow the Chiefs to take Glennon, Barkley, or Wilson with their 2nd 1st rounder. They may want to trade up a little if they are worried a team will try and jump them. I think you can make a case for all 3, but my vote would be for Glennon. I think he has the best combination of measurables, mechanics, and intangibles you want. As for our 1st pick, it could be Star, T'eo, or Joeckel. You can make a good case for each guy, but my vote would be for Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah). I like Donald Stephenson and I think it's hard to justify taking a MLB one overall. If we aren't drafting a QB we need to get a guy to stop the opposing QB. We need more of a pash rush from the defensive line and Star could provide that while also being stout against the run.
Another benefit from trading Albert is the money we will save, allowing us to use those resources to other positions. Brent Grimes (CB, Atlanta) would be a great FA acquisition that would solidify our secondary. We shut down the Packers because Carr was on the roster. Having a pro bowl CB across from Flowers would give us that dynamic duo once again, preventing teams from gaining matchup advantages.
We can also sign some value free agents to fill other holes. Guys like Moore (QB, Dolphins), Edelman (WR, Patriots), and Maualuga (ILB, Bengals). Maualuga has struggled in Cincinnati, known only as a hard hitter that takes bad angles and sucks in pass coverage. However, I think he flaws can be minimized in a 3-4 scheme, like at USC, where he will only have to worry about one side of the field opposed to sideline to sideline. He won't be highly saught after and we could probably get him as a one year stop gap. Moore had a 91 QB rating in his last stint as a starter with a team that had very little talent. Edelman would give us a legit threat at the slot, pushing McCluster off the roster via a cut or trade.
So even if we dish out all this money (including a Bowe/Colquitt extension and Jackson restructure) I believe we would have 10 million plus in cap space to carry over for next year in case Houston holds out after a monster season. And we will still have high value picks at the top of the 2nd and 3rd to fill other holes like at FS and SILB. If they are there I would take Eric Reid (FS, LSU) and Shane Skov (ILB, Stanford). So we downgrade (hopefully only slightly) at LT, but have major upgrades at the other major positions: QB, CB, DE.