NFC Notes: Gabbert, Levy, Rams, Vikings

A first-round bust label notwithstanding, Blaine Gabbert will likely be the 49ers‘ starter to open the 2016 season, Matt Maiocco of writes.

Colin Kaepernick‘s tenure with the team will have probably concluded by then, and San Francisco will be a candidate to draft underclassmen Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff, should they decide as expected to declare, with its first-round pick. The team, however, may opt for a more pro-ready quarterback like Connor Cook soon after, Maiocco offers.

The 26-year-old Gabbert is far ahead of his former pace with the Jaguars from an accuracy standpoint, completing 63.2% of his passes. The former No. 11 overall pick finished his Jags seasons at 50, 58 and 49% connect rates from 2011-13. Kaepernick finished this season with a 59.0% completion rate.

Here are some other NFC items on the eve of Week 15 Sunday.

  • Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy resumed running and lifting after undergoing hip surgery and anticipates an offseason return, Mike Rothstein of reports. The recently extended outside backer said being placed on injured reserve was the right thing for him after injuring his hip during the preseason and re-aggravating it in a 17-snap cameo in Week 5. Levy will be 29 in March.
  • Friday’s approval of new stadium financing by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen didn’t necessarily save football in St. Louis, but the proposal not passing may have ended it, Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. The stadium financing package gives the city a boost in adding a replacement if the Rams indeed trek to Los Angeles.
  • Stedman Bailey addressed the Rams before their defeat of the Bucs in what could be their St. Louis finale, the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Lyons reports. The 25-year-old receiver talked to teammates, many for the first time since being shot in the head twice Nov. 24, via FaceTime. Jeff Fisher told media, including Lyons, the team’s 2013 third-round pick is making steady progress.
  • The Vikings will now contribute $50MM more to their new stadium after winning approval to do so, according to an Associated Press report. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved the new funding. An initial contribution of $477MM, with the city then tabbed for $498MM, for the $1 billion+ U.S. Bank Stadium represented the Vikings’ original cost. But since, their bill has gone up by 31%, and the Vikings portion of the cost could hit $631MM by summer, when the stadium is set for completion.
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