Even with the 2021 NFL Draft still a month away, the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins shook up the draft landscape with a blockbuster trade that landed the Niners this year’s No. 3 overall pick.
Although the megadeal doesn’t have much, if any, impact on the Kansas City Chiefs — slated to pick at No. 31 — Patrick Mahomes was at the center of one of the funnier reactions to Friday’s megadeal.
Shortly after ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news, 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle responded on Twitter with a simple “Oh wow.” Minutes later, Mahomes joined in on the conversation, saying, “Seriously tho,” which led to Kittle’s hilarious punchline:
“I just work there I don’t know what’s going on.”
I just work there I don’t know what’s going on 😂
— George Kittle (@gkittle46) March 26, 2021
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49ers Betting the Farm on a Jimmy Garoppolo Successor
San Francisco and its quarterback situation have been among the most compelling storylines around the NFL in recent months. Jimmy Garoppolo, despite nearly leading the franchise to a Super Bowl LIV victory over the Chiefs in 2019, has been the face of trade speculation after missing 33 regular season games due to injuries since joining the team in 2017.
With the 29-year-old still under contract through next season and carrying salary cap hits of $26.4 million and $27 million annually, the 49ers front office has repeatedly committed to Garoppolo as its 2021 starter. Such was the case again on Friday when a source told Schefter that “Jimmy is here to stay. He’s our guy this year.”
Can Fields, Lance or Jones Pay off Like Mahomes?
Whether Garoppolo stays or goes in the coming weeks, it’s apparent that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan are done with middling quarterback play and are willing to bet big on their future. Here was the cost to move up nine spots at the top of the order:
- Dolphins 2021 first-round pick (No. 3 overall)
- 49ers 2021 first-round pick (No. 12 overall)
- 49ers 2022 first-round pick
- 49ers 2022 third-round pick
- 49ers 2023 first-round pick
One thing is certain: Teams don’t surrender that much draft capital to move up for a non-quarterback. With Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson expected to be the first two picks off the board come April 29, the 49ers will have their choice of the best available rookie signal-callers, including Ohio State’s Justin Fields, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones.
Recent history is littered with similar draft trades for young quarterbacks who never panned out. However, when a team identifies and develops the right player — as the Chiefs did by trading up 17 spots to select Mahomes 10th overall back in 2017 — the results can be franchise-altering.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!