Per ESPN Adam Schefter, the 49ers could deal Jimmy Garoppolo in the off-season for a bundle of picks and then draft a quarterback or go after Washington’s Kirk Cousins in free agency.
The report appeared not even a week after the 49ers swapped a second-round pick to New England for Garoppolo and before he has thrown his first pass as a 49er.
Left unsaid is what Garoppolo may want to do. Without a contract, if Garoppolo doesn’t like what he sees with the 49ers, he could reject their contract overtures and go to the free-agent market next year.
The timing of Schefter’s report can’t sit well with Garoppolo or his agent Don Yee. However, much can happen between now and the end of the season, including Garoppolo actually playing football.
The most likely scenario is that Garoppolo will work his way into the lineup after the bye week and the 49ers and Garoppolo will make their decision then. What seems evident is that the 49ers didn’t just trade for Garoppolo to trade him again. They believe he can develop into an outstanding quarterback and early reports are that coaches are pleased with Garoppolo’s ability to digest the team’s playbook.
However, as many as 15 teams could be hunting for a quarterback and the 49ers might be able to net a first-round choice for him and maybe other picks as well. But that scenario seems unlikely unless rookie C.J. Beathard makes marked improvement while Garoppolo grinds away on the playbook.
If the team were to trade Garoppolo, they might lose the Patriots as a future trading partner, particularly if Garoppolo were traded to a Patriots’ team rival like the Jets.
According to a story by NFL media’s Ian Rapoport, Patriots coach Bill Belichick took the lead on the trade talks and one reason he dealt Garoppolo to the 49ers was because of his respect for general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. He also believed that the 49ers would be a good landing spot for Garoppolo.
The Schefter report could also be the first salvo in what could be a contentious contract negotiation. The whole situation proves the are more games that just the one the 49ers are playing on the field.