49ers Corner: Rams Added Aqib Talib Because They’re Scared Of Jimmy Garoppolo

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

To the delight of San Francisco 49ers fans not overly concerned with landing the highest possible pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo toppled opposing defenses once he finally found the field following his being acquired in a trade from the New England Patriots.

Following a garbage-time debut in which he completed both of his attempts for 18 yards and a touchdown, Garoppolo led the team to five straight victories to end the season, completing 67.05 percent of his passes for 308.4 yards per game in that span.

On Thursday, the 49ers’ NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams sent a fifth-round pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for All-Pro cornerback Aqib Talib.

Two weeks earlier, Los Angeles sent a second-rounder and a fourth-rounder to the Kansas City Chiefs for a sixth-rounder and fellow stud cornerback Marcus Peters, who like Talib was an All-Pro in 2016. They’re joining Lamarcus Joyner and John Johnson, who made the All-Rookie team last year, to form perhaps the stingiest secondary in the league.

Ahkello Witherspoon, a corner drafted in the third round by the 49ers in 2017, has a theory as to why the Rams have put so many resources into their defensive backfield: They’re scared of Garoppolo.

A bold proclamation, that may even be partially true.

But the impetus for Los Angeles’ spending spree likely has more to do with the window they’re afforded by having a franchise quarterback and a franchise running back still on their rookie contracts. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley are owed just $22 million combined over the next two seasons.

The Seattle Seahawks once built a Super Bowl winner around a cheap, young quarterback in Russell Wilson by paying top dollar to build an elite defense with the likes of Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, and Earl Thomas. Their in-division rivals appear to be replicating that strategy. And it’s not great for Garoppolo.