The San Francisco 49ers appear to be locked in on a quarterback at No. 3 in the NFL Draft, and despite what they’ve said about trading Jimmy Garoppolo in the past, some believe his status will be changing soon.
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If that happens, some insiders expect the New England Patriots to make a serious offer to the 49ers to bring Garoppolo back to Foxborough.
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NBC Sports’ Peter King wrote about this scenario in his most-recent version of Football Morning in America. King wrote:
It won’t surprise me if the Niners make Jimmy Garoppolo more available than he’s been. In other words, instead of trying to get a first-round pick for him, maybe considering taking a two for him. I wonder if the Patriots would deal the 46th pick in the draft, or their second-rounder in 2022, for their old friend.
Why Won’t the Garoppolo Rumors Die?
It seems every month, a new path for Garoppolo to return to the Patriots is hatched. The 49ers have said Garoppolo will be their starter in 2021, but many media don’t believe San Francisco will stick to their guns.
The Niners traded up to No. 3 to position themselves to have their pick between North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones. In either case, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan would have his quarterback of the future on the roster.
If San Francisco believed in Garoppolo, who is only 29 years old, was their long-term answer, they wouldn’t have traded up to draft a player at his position. With the belief that the Patriots still covet Garoppolo, his availability will always generate discussions suggesting a return to the team that initially drafted him.
Trading Up for Justin Fields or Trey Lance is Smarter
While there is a storybook feel to a potential Garoppolo return, it’s not the decision that makes the most football sense.
Garoppolo has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career (he has missed 33 games over the last four seasons), and even when he has been on the field, he’s never proven to be a star. Pro-Bowl selections aren’t everything, but Garoppolo has never been elected to a Pro-Bowl team, and he’s never thrown for 4,000 yards in a season.
New England would be better served to stick with Cam Newton as their starter in 2021 and drafting a young quarterback who can ultimately become the team’s leader.
New England could accomplish this objective without trading up, but the prospects of drafting a player with the upside of Fields and Lance is attractive. Both men are plus athletes with the arm strength to make every throw you could want from an NFL quarterback.
Unfortunately for New England, they will have to trade up if they hope to draft either player. Pulling off this kind of trade could wind up as an expensive situation for New England as it will cost them multiple draft picks to get into the Top 10, where these players will be selected.
If the Patriots decide that the price for Fields or Lance is too rich, they could wait until the second round, where New England could potentially select Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond or Florida’s Kyle Trask. Neither man is considered a Top-5 QB in this draft, but we’ve learned that doesn’t always mean anything.
Bank on New England getting a quarterback between April 29-May 1, but if they’re wise, it won’t be Garoppolo.