The San Francisco 49ers reportedly are looking for a first-round pick to even consider trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
While that asking price seems steep, with Garoppolo’s track record of injuries and inconsistency, Nick Wright explained Tuesday on FS1’s “First Things First” that it might be attainable in wake of the New York Jets trading QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round pick and a second-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2022.
“I think the Jets got about 110 cents on the dollar for Darnold,” Wright said. “Because I don’t think the Panthers are gonna be good next year. So I think that’s gonna be a high second-round pick. And so you’re gonna end up with a pick probably in the high 30s, plus a fourth-rounder, plus a sixth-rounder.
” … I also think this informs why a team like the Niners thinks they can get a first-round pick for Jimmy G. If Darnold’s worth a good (second-rounder), a good (fourth-rounder) and a good (sixth-rounder), then Jimmy G is worth at least a bad (first-rounder).”
Garoppolo, 29, certainly is a bit more proven, having gone 24-8 as a starter in the regular season in addition to leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth during the 2019 season. He’s had some occasional hiccups, though, with health being his biggest issue. Garoppolo, drafted in the second round by New England in 2014 and traded to San Francisco in 2017, has struggled to stay on the field.
Darnold, meanwhile, had three mostly shaky seasons with the Jets after being selected third overall in 2018, though he did show promise during his rookie campaign. The Panthers are banking on a change of scenery doing wonders for the 23-year-old, who wasn’t exactly positioned to succeed with New York but still carries plenty of upside.
Who’s more valuable? Well, that’s obviously a question that can’t be answered without taking into account age and contract situation in addition to skill. And with Garoppolo nearing his 30th birthday and slated to count for $26.4 million against the 2021 salary cap, the 49ers’ first-round price tag seems a bit excessive, even if the Jets were able to land a decent haul in return for Darnold, who turns 24 in June and has a fifth-year contract option the Panthers need to decide whether to exercise.
Ultimately, it might just come down to supply and demand, and a draft class loaded with top-level quarterbacks — something San Francisco obviously is very familiar with, having just landed the No. 3 overall pick in a trade with the Miami Dolphins — only makes the situation more captivating.