Nothing can happen unless the San Francisco 49ers decide to make QB Jimmy Garoppolo available to the highest bidder, but the former New England Patriot has been called a “natural fit” to return to the team that originally drafted him in the second round back in 2014.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss talked about several possibilities for the Patriots at the game’s most important position. Reiss wrote about a potential trade for Garoppolo, “Jimmy Garoppolo would be a natural fit to return, but that would require the San Francisco 49ers be open to moving him. No guarantee there.”
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What Would It Take for the 49ers to Trade Garoppolo?
As of now, Garoppolo is the 49ers’ best option at QB. However, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, they could be interested in trading several assets to acquire disgruntled Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, and he said that, according to “sources,” the 49ers are fond of the New York Jets’ Sam Darnold.
Lastly, sports analyst Lance Zierlein linked the Niners to North Dakota State rookie QB Trey Lance in his mock 2021 NFL Draft. San Francisco has the 12th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and some believe they will use that selection to take Lance and make him their starting QB of the future. This would obviously only happen if the team is unable to pry Watson from the Texans or elects not to swing a deal for Darnold.
In any of these scenarios, it would appear the 49ers are open to moving Garoppolo. When healthy, Garoppolo has proven to be effective, but he’s been on the shelf as much as he has been on the field.
San Francisco gave Garoppolo what the Patriots never did, and that’s a chance to play. After appearing in just 17 games (two starts) in three seasons with New England, the Niners traded a second-round pick for him in 2016 and made him their starter.
For his career, Garoppolo has a 24-8 QB record, and that includes a 13-3 run in 2019 when he helped lead the Niners to the Super Bowl. However, durability has been a major concern, and that could be the reason San Francisco ultimately elects to look in another direction at QB.
Garoppolo missed all but six games in 2020, and he has been out of 33 games over his four years in San Francisco. Clearly, that is less than ideal availability.
Is Garoppolo Really the Answer in New England?
Obviously, we can’t answer that question definitively, but among the QBs expected to be available, few can match Garoppolo’s upside. Keeping him on the field is the biggest challenge. And he’s still only 29, so when you look around the QB carousel, Garoppolo is only definitively bested by the 25-year-old Watson, who is a three-time Pro-Bowler.
With a Super Bowl appearance, Garoppolo has proven more than Darnold, who has yet to come close to a winning season since entering the league. While the Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz has his own stellar 2017 season to point to, his recent resume (16 TDs and 15 INTs on 57% completion rate in 2020) is less attractive than Garoppolo’s 67% completion rate, seven-touchdown and five-interception performance in just six games.
New England could do worse than Garoppolo, but they can’t make that move and feel as though they have definitively found the answer.
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