Shanahan addresses 49ers' potential Jackson interest amid chatter


Kyle Shanahan preferred to take the easy way out.

When asked this week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix if the 49ers had any interest in quarterback Lamar Jackson, the coach answered, “I’m not allowed to talk about players on other rosters.”

But Jackson isn't under contract to the Baltimore Ravens. He's their non-exclusive franchise player, and currently a free agent allowed to speak with other teams — and have other teams speak to and about him.

When assured nothing he said could get him in trouble with the NFL for tampering, Shanahan made it clear the 49ers’ plan doesn't include a pursuit of Jackson this offseason.

“Everyone knows Lamar's skill set," Shanahan said. "Lamar's a stud. I'm sure they'll work it out there. But Lamar's a great player.

"We've got three quarterbacks we're pretty good with right now, and we're pretty set with how we've built our roster salary cap-wise."

Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, reportedly is seeking a contract worth $50 million guaranteed per season.

The 49ers have encountered more than their share of injuries at quarterback in recent years. And Jackson's production fell off dramatically the past two seasons as he missed 10 games with ankle and knee injuries. Since 2021, Jackson has thrown for 33 touchdowns with 20 interceptions while posting a 88.9 passer rating.

Meanwhile, the 49ers have three quarterbacks on their roster who, combined, account for $14 million on the team’s 2023 salary cap.

Brock Purdy played well enough in eight games at the end of his rookie season to earn the starting job, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said this week. However, Purdy faces an approximately six-month period after elbow surgery for his full clearance to resume playing football.

Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and newly signed Sam Darnold are expected to take the bulk of the practice snaps in the offseason and training camp.

The relatively small amount the 49ers are devoting to their quarterbacks enabled them to sign former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million contract as a free agent this offseason. The team also has large financial commitments to Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Jusczyk, George Kittle, Trent Williams, Arik Armstead, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw and Charvarius Ward.

RELATED: Shanahan details what drew 49ers to sign veteran Darnold

Moreover, the 49ers are eyeing lucrative multiyear contracts for NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa and 1,000-yard receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

And if Jackson were to come to the 49ers, some of their other top-line players likely would have to exit.

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