I thought the 49ers made a statement with their trade up with the Dolphins to secure the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Because with the move, San Francisco declared its interest in one of the top three quarterbacks of this class. Making a trade to pick No. 3 suggests the team is comfortable with whomever QB3 happens to be. But also, will do cartwheels if QB1 or QB2 falls into the team’s laps with the third overall pick.
What wasn’t made clear at the time of the trade was the team’s intent with Jimmy Garoppolo.
Leave it to 49ers GM John Lynch to clear that up:
49ers GM John Lynch: "We felt like we had a team that can compete. … We went to ownership, said 'hey things are looking good, we want to make this (trade), but we don't want to say good bye to Jimmy.'"
Ownership signed off on keeping both a rookie and Jimmy Garoppolo.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 29, 2021
Alright, so Lynch insists the team isn’t looking to trade Garoppolo right now.
That is, unless a team comes through with an offer the team can’t refuse. At least, that’s the word from Head Coach Kyle Shanahan:
49ers also open to trading Garoppolo if "blown away" by offer, per Shanahan.
— Vincent Frank (@VincentFrankNFL) March 29, 2021
I’m only typing this because you’re thinking it, too: Don’t you dare do it Ryan Pace. Lose the number. Get a new phone. Block anything from a 628, 415, 408, and 669 area codes. Put any contacts you have from the 49ers on mute/silence/whatever. This is a trap. And if you’re not going to spring the trap, don’t bother even picking up the phone.
The Bears have long had reported interest in Garoppolo, a Chicagoland native who played his college ball at Eastern Illinois. There was even a point in 2017 when trading for Garoppolo was reportedly “far and away” Chicago’s top offseason priority. As we know now, that never materialized. But what did happen was a Bears-49ers trade in the 2017 NFL Draft that we’re trying to pretend never happened. So rather than bring up the specifics, just know that history repeating itself would be problematic.
To be clear, Garoppolo is an alright quarterback. The 29-year-old Arlington Heights native has a career 98.9 passer rating in 48 games (32 starts) and has been solid with San Fran. Garoppolo threw for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions, to go along with a 102.0 passer rating in his only fully healthy season with the 49ers in 2019. Injuries have slowed Garoppolo down in other years. And moving forward, his contract — which comes with a cap hit of $26.4 million this season — would be tough to swallow (even on a short-term basis).
Had the Bears not moved quickly to sign Andy Dalton, I’d have been intrigued by the idea of trading for Garoppolo. But only on the condition he re-worked his contract to free up much-needed cap space for the Bears. However, the Bears have done their deed and will roll with Dalton as #QB1. Well, at least until a better long-term option presents itself.