**Update** Speaking of quarterbacks, Matt Maiocco reports, and I've confirmed, that Nate Davis will be signing with the Seahawks. Look for Davis, whom the 49ers allowed to become a free agent last week, to sign a future deal with Seattle that will make him part of their roster for 2011.
It's long been assumed that the 49ers will have to turn over every offseason stone to restock their quarterback cupboard. New general manager Trent Baalke confirmed that today in a radio interview with NBC Sports' Mike Florio. Baalke said the main thing the 49ers need to do to live up to their potential is to get better execution from the quarterback position.
"We've got three ways that we're going to approach it," Baalke said. "Obviously, you've got the draft. You've got potential trades. And you've got free agency. Is the quarterback of the future on this roster? I think it's obvious that he isn't at this point, but things could change and they will change through one of those three vehicles."
Florio pointed out that in most seasons, the 49ers would be able to sign a free-agent quarterback, or trade for one, prior to the draft. This year, however, that order could be reversed if there is no collective bargaining agreement before the April 28-30 draft.
Said Baalke: "Regardless of the order that it falls -- and that's obviously up in the air at this stage -- you've got to be prepared for all three. You have to have a plan for the evaluation process and the guys that are coming out in the draft. And you have to do the same thing for free agency and you have to do the same thing via the trade. We're going to look at our options and make decisions based on how we have the guys evaluated."
One of the top free-agent quarterbacks promises to be Alex Smith. Baalke's words appear to confirm the consensus opinion that Smith will not be back with the team in 2011, and Smith has indicated that he won't be back, either. The only quarterback who will still be on the roster after the league year ends March 3 is David Carr. A look at some of the quarterbacks who might (realistically) be available through the three "vehicles" Baalke mentioned.
1. Cam Newton, Auburn
2. Jake Locker, Washington
3. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
5. Christian Ponder, Florida State
6. Andy Dalton, TCU
Free agency (*restricted and unrestricted):
1. Matt Hasselbeck
2. Marc Bulger
3. Seneca Wallace
4. Matt Leinart Â®
5. Bruce Gradkowski Â®
6. Matt Moore Â®
7. Troy Smith Â®
8. ** Donovan McNabb
9. ** Vince Young
1. Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia
2. Kyle Orton, Denver
3. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati
4. Josh Johnson, Tampa Bay
5. Matt Flynn, Green Bay
* Because of the fuzziness surrounding the CBA, it's unknown how many league years will allow a player to be an unrestricted free agent.
** Not technically scheduled to be a FAs but would be if their teams released them.
-- Matt Barrows