The 49ers might not have any immediate plans to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, but it doesn’t sound as though San Francisco is unequivocally committed to its current starting quarterback.
Garoppolo, who already was the subject of trade rumors over the first month-plus of the NFL offseason, saw the chatter surrounding him reach new heights last week. The Niners swung a monster trade roughly a month ahead of the 2021 draft, moving up to No. 3 via trade with the Miami Dolphins. San Francisco all but surely will select a quarterback with that coveted draft pick, and the blockbuster to acquire it suggests the organization doesn’t have Garoppolo in its long-term future plans.
That might be true, but according to Peter King, Garoppolo is in line to be the 49ers’ starting quarterback when next season commences. However, King is under the impression a rich offer could open the Niners to move Garoppolo, who might be on a short leash in the Bay Area.
“The Niners, as of today, do not plan to trade Garoppolo before the season,” King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports. “An offer to blow them away could get Garoppolo –Carolina? New England? — but otherwise, Garoppolo and the new man will be in camp for the Niners in August. The 49ers have played very nice with Garoppolo since the end of the season, with GM John Lynch saying several times Garoppolo is their guy. Well, there?s a cost for going cold down the stretch of the Super Bowl season, and for missing 23 of the 48 regular-season games over the past three years. The cost is drafting a man likely to beat him out. The Niners are no longer willing to let a quarterback injury ruin their season.”
Judging from King’s take on the matter, it appears the Niners are going by the blueprint the Kansas City Chiefs used a few years ago. Patrick Mahomes effectively red-shirted as a rookie in 2017 when he backed up Alex Smith before bursting on the scene a season later. In a perfect world, Mac Jones, Trey Lance or whoever San Francisco selects at No. 3 can be Garoppolo’s understudy in the upcoming season and take over the reins in 2022.
But things rarely go exactly as planned in the NFL, and the 49ers might have to make a tough decision if a desperate team comes calling.