By now, it’s well known that the New England Patriots are looking to pull off a Jimmy Garoppolo trade. This possibility took an unexpected turn last week when the San Francisco 49ers pulled off a blockbuster trade up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
At least initially, it seemed like the 49ers would move off Garoppolo. While the team’s brass continues to push back against the possibility, it must be noted that Garoppolo is not happy about the above-mentioned trade. That could complicate things as the 49ers welcome in a rookie quarterback here soon.
As for the Patriots, they continue to show interest in the Super Bowl quarterback.
“I’ve talked to a bunch of people in the league about this, and enough people I trust have told me that the Patriots’ interest in Jimmy Garoppolo has been consistent,” ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported Wednesday (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area). “This has got to be more San Francisco willing to make the deal and, of course, New England having the right amount of picks and money to get Jimmy to bring him back. And that’s really what it’s going to come down to.”
That’s the biggest issue here. At least publicly, the 49ers’ brass has continually pushed back against the idea of trading Garoppolo. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan firmly believe that he gives them the best chance to win and will be the Week 1 starter.
“We’re in a situation where when you bring in a rookie quarterback, to me, it’s always better, especially on the team that you have, if you’ve got a veteran starter there already who you like and you’re comfortable winning with,” Shanahan told reporters Monday during a post-trade press conference. “That’s usually the direction you want to go and not throw someone else out into the fire until they’re fully ready. That’s the situation we’re at.”
Remember, we’re in a season of misdirection around the NFL. San Francisco seemingly committing to Garoppolo as its starter for Week 1 could be under the guise of upping the ante when it comes to a trade offer from the Patriots or another team. The Denver Broncos come to mind.
The backdrop here is a meeting between Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and 49ers general manager John Lynch on the field during Alabama’s Pro Day earlier in the week. They were on hand to see Mac Jones throw. But we’re sure the conversation involved Jimmy Garoppolo. If the two sides can work out a deal, here’s three potential scenarios.
New England Patriots give up first-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo
Don’t freak out just yet, Patriots fans. There’s a caveat here. While New England would give up the 15th pick in April’s NFL Draft, it would also get back San Francisco’s second-round selection (43rd overall). Looking at basic trade value charts, that’s the equivalent of a high second-round pick.
Selecting 15th overall, New England is not in a position to add a top-end quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. That’s magnified by San Francisco moving up to the third pick for a signal caller. Right now, three quarterbacks are going to go with the top-three picks. It’s also more than likely five players at this position will find themselves as top-10 selections.
This move gives New England an unquestioned upgrade over Cam Newton under center and would come a lot cheaper than moving up for an unproven quarterback. The cost is moving down 28 picks in what is a deep draft. From San Francisco’s perspective, being able to acquire a top-15 pick would enable Lynch and Co. to either trade down and recoup some of the assets lost in last week’s blockbuster trade or select a Day 1 starter at a need position.
Jimmy Garoppolo trade for Stephon Gilmore
This could actually be the best of both worlds for San Francisco and New England. The Patriots get their quarterback of the short term in Jimmy Garoppolo while giving up an expensive cornerback who has been bandied about in trade talks for some time now.
Any move for Garoppolo would include the quarterback lowering his $26.4 million cap hit for the 2021 season. Despite this, the Pats can’t afford to pay Gilmore $15 million against said cap. In need of a cornerback, acquiring the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year would cost San Francisco a mere $7.3 million. To sweeten the pot for San Francisco, New England offers up its second-round pick in 2021.
New England Patriots acquire Jimmy Garoppolo for multiple draft picks
There’s also a scenario here that includes New England picking up Garoppolo for multiple mid-round picks. It would be a way for the 49ers to have selections over the next couple years in rounds that Lynch has hit on in the past (Fred Warner and George Kittle). Heck, the Pats could offer up conditional 2022 picks based on Garoppolo’s performance next season.
At least initially, New England gives up its compensatory third-round pick in 2021 (96th overall) and a fourth rounder (120th) while enticing the 49ers with a conditional second or third rounder in 2022. This could be the most ideal Garoppolo trade scenario to the Patriots.