The San Francisco 49ers will draft their quarterback of the future tonight in the 2021 NFL Draft. While one quarterback will be joining the club, it seems a Jimmy Garoppolo trade might not happen after all.
When the 49ers traded up to the No. 3 overall pick, packaging two future first-round picks and a third-round selection, they wanted one of this year’s top quarterback prospects. But after the blockbuster deal, San Francisco let it be known that Garoppolo would return next season as the starting quarterback.
As the NFL Draft drew closer, the club’s stance seemed to change. The 49ers started taking calls on Garoppolo, with reports that a draft-day trade could happen. When head coach Kyle Shanahan met with reports earlier this week, he even admitted Garoppolo might not be on the roster by Sunday.
On Wednesday night, there were conflicting reports on a Garoppolo trade. While some reporting hinted the New England Patriots were discussing a restructured contract, national reports pushed back on the rumor. Now, the saga has taken another turn.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning that it’s unlikely the 49ers trade Garoppolo. While the team is still taking calls and multiple general managers have inquired, the odds are remote of a deal coming together in the next few days.
Will the 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo?
Garoppolo isn’t happy in San Francisco, the team has admitted that. After helping this team reach Super Bowl LIV, he experienced an injury-riddled 2020 season. Due to his struggles, the 49ers made the bold move to trade up and Shanahan had a quarterback in mind.
Mac Jones is widely viewed as the likely No. 3 pick, with Shanahan deciding against the advice of scouts. He is a pro-ready quarterback, capable of executing this offense and providing stability at the position. But he isn’t a high-upside talent, meaning there is no reason for him to sit and develop for a year.
Garoppolo, entering his age-29 season, carries a $26.382 million cap hit this season and isn’t looking to mentor a rookie. Both he and Jones have similar skills, meaning there is even less incentive for San Francisco to keep both on the roster for the entire 2021 season.
More than likely, the latest rumors are out of San Francisco. The team is hoping to create trade leverage, hoping the threat of keeping Garoppolo will compel another general manager to increase his offer. But the Patriots are focused on moving up for a top-10 pick and would certainly prefer Justin Fields to Garoppolo.
If the San Francisco 49ers are serious about keeping Garoppolo, it might be a signal Jones won’t be the No. 3 pick. Instead, Shanahan could roll the dice on Trey Lance. While transitioning from the FCS to the NFL takes time, his physical skills are vastly superior to Jones’ traits. If it’s Lance, he can sit behind Garoppolo early in the season and then take over later in the year.