On the surface, it certainly seems like we’re getting mixed messages from the 49ers’ brass regarding the quarterback situation.
One on hand, both John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan make a point to express their public support for Jimmy Garoppolo, who both say they expect to be the team’s starting quarterback in 2021. One the other hand are consistent reports like the one in The Athletic on Monday, that the 49ers made a call to the Carolina Panthers to inquire about a trade for Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater is due $17 million next year, more than the 49ers have in total cap space, meaning it’s highly unlikely if brought in, Bridgewater would be anything other than the starter.
So what’s going on here? David Lombardi of The Athletic provided some clarification when he joined “Murph & Mac” on Tuesday morning, arguing that just because Lynch and Shanahan reach out about a player, it doesn’t mean they’re interested in that player. Rather, they’re trying to understand how other teams are valuing their players, giving them a better idea of what to ask for if a trade presents itself.
“I think the 49ers front office has done its due diligence in almost every trade situation,” Lombardi said. “I think this is what people need to realize is that they would be asleep at the switch if they didn’t call and at least check to see what the trade market is for each guy that might be available, even if they’re not particularly interested in that player.
“Teddy Bridgewater’s money right now, which is a lot, it’s too high of a price tag for him to be a bridge quarterback or a backup quarterback. You’d have to get him on some kind of different deal. But if the 49ers are gauging trade price, which I think they’ve tried to do for potentially Deshaun Watson, which is a player I think they’re actually interested in, Matt Stafford, they made the phone call there, I don’t know how far they were willing to go but you can tell they’re peaking their head in the door in all of these discussions.
“If they can get that trade price, they’re going to have a better idea of what the market is, because this is a league of not absolutes. I think Aaron Rodgers said it a day or two after they lost the NFC Title Game this year, anything can happen at any time in this wild rollercoaster of an NFL offseason. You have to be prepared so you’re not embarrassed at any given time. You need to know how much each guy is worth, and that includes Jimmy Garoppolo.
“So if the 49ers are checking on Teddy Bridgewater’s trade status, they’re probably going to be better in tune to what the market might be just in case the Patriots, for example, offer them something they can’t refuse for Jimmy Garoppolo. What if all the sudden Bill Belichick decides he really wants Jimmy this year and he offers an unexpectedly big draft haul? Well the 49ers are going to be better positioned to make the right call on something like that, if they know what the market is like. That’s how I read all these rumors.”
For the sake of argument, Lombardi says he doesn’t think Bridgewater is much of an upgrade over Garoppolo, so making a swap wouldn’t make sense. He believes only one QB potentially on the market is worth going after.
“(Bridgewater)’s had a history of injury issues. He’s not going to be a backup with this kind of money. You’ve got to upgrade. If you’re going to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo, who I’m on the record as saying is a plus quarterback when he’s healthy, you’ve got to have a tangible upgrade. I believe the only quarterback potentially on the board, cause he’s not technically on the board right now, who would be an actual upgrade is Deshaun Watson. I feel the 49ers probably think the same thing.”
Listen to the full interview below.