It appears, so far at least, the 49ers are standing firm in their asking price for Jimmy Garoppolo.
NFL Media’s Michael Giardi reported Monday, citing league sources, that San Francisco still is seeking a first-round pick in any potential trade involving the quarterback.
The 49ers thus far have insisted they have no plans to trade Garoppolo despite dealing the No. 12 pick, two future first-rounders (2022 and 2023) and a future third-rounder (2022) to the Miami Dolphins to move up nine spots to No. 3, presumably to land their next franchise signal-caller. So, it’s certainly possible Garoppolo begins the season as San Francisco’s starting quarterback, with whomever the Niners draft sitting and developing for a year.
That said, Garoppolo carries a $26.4 million cap hit for 2021. Thus, the 49ers theoretically could pursue a cheaper bridge quarterback, especially since there’s no telling how Garoppolo, who turns 30 in November, would feel about entering the season as more or less a lame-duck QB.
If the 49ers really start to shop Garoppolo, they ultimately might have no other choice but to drop their asking price. After all, Garoppolo’s track record of injuries and inconsistency casts further uncertainty over his future.
Of course, the New England Patriots have been linked to Garoppolo more than any team in the NFL, as he spent his first three-plus seasons as Tom Brady’s backup in Foxboro before landing in the Bay Area at the trade deadline in 2017. It’s certainly fair to wonder whether Bill Belichick is open to reuniting with the 2014 second-round pick despite the Patriots re-signing Cam Newton earlier this offseason, although it’s hard to imagine New England relinquishing a first-round pick to facilitate such a return.
For whatever it’s worth, the Carolina Panthers recently acquired quarterback Sam Darnold from the New York Jets in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick and a second-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2022 — a move that could have ramifications for Garoppolo’s trade value, for better or worse.