The New England Patriots’ season won’t be over until after they play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, but that hasn’t stopped the steady flow of Jimmy Garoppolo trade rumors.

The Patriots’ backup quarterback turned heads after starting the team’s first two games, wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins, in place of the suspended Tom Brady. And with the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears reportedly targeting Garoppolo already, new San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan might be stepping into the ring.

Shanahan told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Thursday that Oakland Raiders signal-caller Derek Carr and Garoppolo were his Nos. 1 and 2 choices, respectively, at quarterback in the 2014 draft, when Shanahan was the Browns’ offensive coordinator.

“(Garoppolo) was a very good thrower,” Shanahan said. “Tough guy, kept his eyes down the field, could get rid of the ball fast. Really liked the person. Had a chance to go out to dinner with him and stuff. He played at Eastern Illinois, and it was a different type of offense where you can’t always evaluate with how quick they get rid of the ball. But I really thought he was a very intelligent, tough player with a good throwing motion.”

While Shanahan didn’t exclusively say Garoppolo would be on the Niners’ radar, it’s hard to imagine the team wouldn’t at least consider making an offer for the 25-year-old. With Colin Kaepernick expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent, San Francisco is looking at a very underwhelming trio of Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis as their quarterback options.

Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images