We are now one week away from what will almost certainly go down as the most important offseason of the Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch era up to this point.
It unsurprisingly comes at a time when the future of the quarterback position is at it’s most uncertain. Jimmy Garoppolo was injured but also not good when he played sparingly in 2020, on the heels of some questionable performances in the 2019 postseason.
Garoppolo also has a $26.2 million cap hit in 2021, and in an offseason that will see a shrinking salary cap and 27 players hitting unrestricted free agency, it’s time to take a long hard look at whether Garoppolo is the future.
If the 49ers look to trade Garoppolo, there will certainly be a market; he did take the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season after all. If that is the route they look to go, 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows pinpointed two destinations that might be interested.
“I would say that if the 49ers were in the market for trading Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots would be one of the possible suitors,” Barrows told Zakk on KNBR about Garoppolo’s former home.
“The Patriots are very interesting. For years and years everybody called Bill Belichick a genius. As soon as he loses his franchise quarterback, all the sudden that’s a mediocre team, and suddenly he doesn’t look like a genius anymore.”
What makes a trade to the Patriots awkward, is that they don’t have an above-average quarterback to trade in return, meaning the 49ers would likely only ship Garoppolo to New England as part of a long-term plan to select, and possibly trade up, for one of the top QBs in the upcoming draft.
If you’re looking for a destination that could include a quarterback swap, Detroit would fit the bill, considering they have Matt Stafford. They are also the top suitor for 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who Barrows believes would be interested in bringing Garoppolo along with him.
“The other possible suitor is wherever Robert Saleh might end up. Saleh isn’t going to just take some defensive assistants with him, he’s going to take one of Shanahan’s offensive lieutenants with him. It’s probably going to be Mike LaFleur, because Saleh is quite close to the LaFleur family. If that’s the case then they are going to run the Shanahan offense, and they’re going to want a quarterback that is going to hit the ground running, so that would be an interesting scenario whatever Saleh’s new team is.”
Listen to the full interview below.