Pierre Garcon to 49ers: Why Ex-Colts WR Would Look Good in San Francisco
Pierre Garcon, anyone?
The 25-year-old wide receiver has improved considerably in each of his four NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He's played with one of the best quarterbacks of all-time (Manning) and was mentored by another Colts great, wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
Trent Baalke and Co. have reiterated on many occasions that they won't be throwing the bank at any one player. They certainly won't be coughing up a first-round draft pick in addition to that, a sacrifice necessary to obtain the services of Wallace.
With other top receivers off the market already (Stevie Johnson, Dwayne Bowe and Wes Welker), the price tag on wideouts like Marques Colston (my personal favorite) and Vincent Jackson could potentially rise to unreasonable proportions.
With that said, let me present you with four reasons why Garcon would look great in red and gold.
Garcon Is Way More Affordable—and Almost as Explosive as Wallace
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Many folks inside Niner Nation are intrigued by the thought of Mike Wallace in a 49ers uniform, as am I.
And I'm sure he's amongst the top of Trent Baalke's wish list as well. But if last year's free-agency period taught us anything about the 49ers front office, it's that they refuse to overpay for out of town talent.
Wallace is the hottest receiving option on the market, and there's likely a pool of NFL teams swarming like sharks to snatch his services before any competitor has the chance.
San Francisco just won't compete with that. They'll quickly switch the focus to the highest valued player at the position without the enlarged price tag.
At 6'0", 210 pounds, Garcon gives up a slight advantage to the 6'0", 199-pound Wallace in terms of speed. But Garcon is stronger than Wallace and also more capable of run blocking when asked to do so. Both receivers excel at protecting the pigskin, each fumbling just three times in their career.
Take a look at the statistics from each receiver during the 2011 season:
Are the numbers really that different? Remember, Wallace put up these numbers as a No. 1 option while catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger.
Garcon did it as a No. 2 while catching passes from a trio of scrubs (Kerry Collins, Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter.)
Both receivers are 25 years old, but Garcon is much cheaper and won't cost you a first-round pick in a talent-laden draft class.
Just kidding; there is more.
Consistent Production Even Without Peyton
Garcon proved in 2011 he's more than just a product of Manning's success.
Garcon's consistent play in 2011—despite Manning's absence—is a testament to his progress as an NFL receiver.
He's always been a fierce competitor, but required time in the league to develop as a route-runner and learn the fine points of the position.
Even without the pinpoint passes from Manning that allow his receivers to catch and run without breaking stride, Garcon still racked up more yards after the catch (366) than No. 1 options such as Roddy White, Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Bowe.
It's safe to say Alex Smith is a better QB than Kerry Collins, Dan Orlovsky or Curtis Painter, right?
Garcon Could Bring the Best out of Crabtree
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One question will undoubtedly arise upon Garcon's arrival to San Francisco is, who would then be the team's No. 1 receiver? Garcon, or the 49ers' current top option, Michael Crabtree?
Crabtree is actually the reason the 49ers are in this dilemma to begin with. After San Fran drafted him in the first round of 2009 to be the team's No. 1 receiver of the future, things haven't exactly panned out.
However, Crabtree has shown spurts of potential. His 2011 season (72 receptions, 847 yards and four touchdowns) was his best yet, and a little extra competition might do him some good.
Garcon is a sixth-round pick who has flourished in the NFL despite minimal expectations. Crabtree has failed to meet his first-round expectations thus far, and if Garcon were to overshadow Crabtree in 2012, he may soon be looking for a new home as well.
With any luck, the potential threat will actually force Crabtree to make an appearance at 49ers training camp.
Signing Garcon Would Open Cap Space for Other FA's
Signing Garcon would leave some cap room for a long-term fix at right guard.
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While the receiver position is the 49ers most glaring hole, there are a couple of other positions in need of help as well.
San Francisco has zero options at right guard that are currently under contract, and the position was already the weak link of the line in 2011.
The team could also look to bulk up on the defensive line, or possibly at cornerback, in case Carlos Rogers does decide to hit the open market and chase a long-term deal, the Niners may not want to risk giving the 30-year-old corner.
The 49ers' return to relevance could work wonders in luring the right free agents into town. And solving the need at receiver with Garcon might just leave enough money to lure in another notable free agent without dishing out a monstrous contract in return.
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