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The San Francisco 49ers’ brass held a press conference Monday afternoon to discuss the blockbuster trade they made with the Miami Dolphins for the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Head coach Kyle Shanahan seemingly broke some news in the process.
That’s a major backdrop as the 49ers prepare for a franchise-alteringdecision in the draft late in April, the status of current starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo included.
“It’s gonna be hard to find a QB that gives us a better chance to win than Jimmy right now,” Shanahan told reporters.
At least from what the 49ers are telling us publicly, they believe that Garoppolo gives them the best chance to win in 2021 compared to a rookie quarterback the team plans to select No. 3 overall in April.
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San Francisco 49ers open to trading Jimmy Garoppolo
This is a major backdrop to Monday’s press conference. Shanahan indicated that the 49ers were open to trading Garoppolo should they be “blown away” by a trade offer. Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen.
Garoppolo, 29, has missed 23 of a possible 48 games to injury over the past three seasons. Shanahan made sure to note that Garoppolo was also “disappointed” when learning that the trade with Miami became official. The head coach spoke to his current starting quarterback immediately after the news broke with general manager John Lynch talking to Garoppolo later on Friday.
Does a Jimmy Garoppolo trade make sense?
One of the themes here was San Francisco’s brass doing everything possible to boost Garoppolo’s confidence level during the press conference. They could have also been sending signals to the New England Patriots that a potential trade is not going to come cheap.
The question here is whether San Francisco firmly believes that an unnamed rookie quarterback could lead this Super Bowl roster to contention. Shanahan talked on that, indicating that it’s going to be hard for an inexperienced signal caller to learn his offense and be ready Week 1.
“You have a veteran starter, who you like and are comfortable with, that’s usually the direction you want to go and not throw someone else into fire until they’re fully ready,” Shanahan said. That’s the situation we’re at.”
What does this all mean? At least from a public standpoint, the 49ers are making it clear they plan on Garoppolo being the starter next season. It makes sense. He did lead this squad to the Super Bowl 14 months ago. That can’t be lost on the whole thing.
However, there’s other things to take into account here. Primarily, Garoppolo’s injury issues and the fact that he’s set to count $26.4 million against the cap in 2021. If the 49ers are indeed hoping to contend next season, that figure is pretty problematic. Shanahan and Co. touched on this while bringing up the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether this plays a role in the Garoppolo situation moving forward remains to be seen.
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Who are the 49ers targeting with the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Obviously, San Francisco moved up from the 12th spot to select a quarterback. Shanahan and Lynch confirmed that during their presser on Monday. They also made it clear that the expectation is Trevor Lawrence will go No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars while the New York Jets are more than likely to take Zach Wilson with the second pick.
This leaves Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trey Lance (North Dakota State) and Mac Jones (Alabama) as the three choices with the 49ers’ newly-acquired pick.
Shanahan talked about the pre-draft process and how the 49ers would be spending their time. Contrary to previous reports, they will have a chance to see Justin Fields throw in-person. Shanahan and Lynch are attending Jones’ second pro day with Alabama this week. They are also going to go see Fields at some point ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
As for Lance, there is some concern within the 49ers’ organization that he was only able to play one game at North Dakota State this past season. The small sample size will seemingly play a role in San Francisco’s decision-making process.