It was just over a week ago that the San Francisco 49ers pulled off a blockbuster trade all the way up to the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Whether it’s Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones, the goal here is to find a franchise quarterback to ultimately replace Jimmy Garoppolo.
During their post-trade press conference 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch made it clear that a quarterback will be selected with the pick acquired from the Miami Dolphins. They also made it clear that there’s no intention of trading Garoppolo.
“We’ve got a guy in here we know we can win with — a guy that our players love, that we love,” Shanahan told reporters. “We’re excited to have him this year, and we’re excited to have a hell of a quarterback right behind him, learning for when the time’s his.”
Shanahan also noted that San Francisco would listen to trade offers for Garoppolo if the team was blown away. Apparently, that is the hope with various recent reports suggesting that the 49ers are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Garoppolo.
“I was told that, yes, it’d take a first-round pick for the Niners to listen at this point, which of course would be nice for San Francisco to have after it yielded its firsts in 2022 and ’23 to jump from No. 12 to 3,” Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported recently. “As it stands right now? I don’t think the Niners feel any sort of urgency to move Garoppolo, which makes his market value completely irrelevant in comparison to the Niners’ price.”
Michael Giardi of NFL Network, a known New England Patriots insider, reported the same thing on Friday while indicating said asking price “might be too rich” for New England.
San Francisco 49ers Will Not Be Able To Trade Jimmy Garoppolo At Current Asking Price
Right now, it seems as if the 49ers have no intention of trading Garoppolo. Bill Belichick and Co. are highly unlikely to part ways with their first-round pick (15th overall).
While the team is in need of a quarterback of the future, New England seems comfortable with Cam Newton as its short-term starter. And while a trade for Garoppolo would lower his $26.4 million cap number in 2021, the need to build up talent during the draft is of utmost importance. Heck, owner Robert Kraft touched on that recently.
“If you want to have a consistently good team you can’t build it in free agency. It has to be done in the draft,” Kraft said this past week. “The teams who draft well will be consistently good. We haven’t drafted well recently. I’ve seen a different approach this year.”
To be clear, the 49ers are playing a game of cat and mouse with the Patriots. Leaks from within the organization that there’s interest in Mac Jones at three adds another layer to this.
San Francisco knows full well that the Patriots like Jones. They met with Belichick and Co. during Jones’ workout at Alabama’s Pro Day early last week. By trading up to three, the 49ers created another hurdle for the Patriots to find their franchise quarterback. Each of the top-three picks are going to be quarterbacks. The top-five quarterbacks in the class are also likely going to go within the top-10 selections, long before New England is slated to pick at 15.
Barring a trade up, New England is going to be left out in the cold when it comes to the top quarterbacks in an historical draft class. Hence, why the narrative of the team being desperate to land Garoppolo exists.
But the Pats are not desperate enough to give up a top-15 pick for an injury-plagued and inconsistent 29-year-old quarterback. Believing that they might do this is akin to ignoring what we’ve seen from New England under Belichick for the past two decades.
The Market Is Slim For Jimmy Garoppolo
Removing New England from the conversation for a second, the market is extremely thin when it comes to a potential Garoppolo trade. It’s possible only the Denver Broncos would be “bidding” against a couple other teams for Garoppolo.
That’s primarily due to how the market has played out at quarterback thus far this offseason. The Chicago Bears were seemingly a good fit for Garoppolo until they signed Andy Dalton and made the brilliant decision to anoint him QB1. The Washington Football Team added Ryan Fitzpatrick to the mix as a stopgap starter. Those two teams seemed like reasonable trade partners.
As for the Broncos, it’s not a secret that they have been looking to upgrade from struggling young quarterback Drew Lock. Perhaps, the 49ers and Broncos could pull off a trade given the relationship the two front offices share. But Denver’s first-round pick (ninth overall) is a non-starter.
Two other teams in that of the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers could be late arrivals in the Garoppolo “sweepstakes.” Houston is closely monitoring the troubling sexual assault allegations against quarterback Deshaun Watson. They are now reportedly interested in bringing in Alex Smith.
New general manager Nick Caserio also has a built-in relationship with Garoppolo dating back to their time together with the Pats. In fact, he joined Belichick in pushing back against moving Garoppolo to the 49ers in 2017. Even then, the Texans don’t have a pick in either of the first two rounds this month and are not going to mortgage their future (2022 first-round pick) for Garoppolo.
As for the Panthers, it’s known that owner David Tepper is in desperate need of finding a franchise quarterback. Hence, the team’s initial interest in Deshaun Watson and the fact that Carolina offered up its first-round pick (eighth overall) for Matthew Stafford. Does Tepper believe Garoppolo is on the same level as Stafford? Highly doubtful.
That’s it. Those are the teams who might have any type of interest in a Jimmy Garoppolo trade. It’s a limited market, one that makes it nearly impossible for San Francisco to find a team willing to offer up a first-rounder for the quarterback.
Short of general manager John Lynch and Co. lowering their asking price to a second-round pick and change, Garoppolo will not be moved.
It would make for an interesting conversation during training camp and the preseason with an unnamed rookie quarterback being the talk of Santa Clara. It would also mean that Garoppolo is going to be the 49ers’ Week 1 starter. Their unreasonable asking price in a trade adds a completely new layer to this.