The San Francisco 49ers now have their quarterback of the future, and the New England Patriots have Tom Brady.
For the moment, the Patriots still win. Down the road, though . . .
Well, down the road is all the 49ers have, as we all know. And Jimmy Garoppolo is the road they have chosen to travel.
In dealing the higher of their two second-round picks to get Garoppolo, the Patriots’ now former heir apparent to Brady, the 49ers have decided not to spend $30 million on Kirk Cousins, and may even decide to trade down from their place atop the first round list to get more picks to turn into more players.
All of which they need, desperately.
But the baseline is still the same – the 49ers have gone all in on Jimmy Garoppolo as their future, and guessing right solves their biggest problem for perhaps as much as a decade, while guessing wrong sets the franchise back at least three more years.
In short, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have decided to push it all in eight games into their tenure, a level of impatience/urgency that both inspires and frightens. This is the defining moment of their era to date, and if you are an action junkie who lives for trades and trade deadlines, you approve wholeheartedly.
And the only thing that really worries you is this: Bill Belichick doesn’t shed people he thinks are both skilled and cost-effective, and those who deal with him do so at their peril. That’s how he got to be Bill Belichick.
But Belichick is always dealing from strength, and the 49ers are dealing from catastrophic weakness. That they only had to spend a high second pick for a chance to recreate their future speaks to that weakness and to their wisdom in not getting taken for more.
In short, the 49ers have done well to get the deal of the day. But they need it to be the deal of the decade, and then have the draft of the decade, and then the draft of the decade again. Jimmy Garoppolo is the best thing Lynch and Shanahan have done since they got here. Now they have to do it again, and again, and then again.