The Panthers have officially brokered a trade for Baker Mayfield, which gives a good indication of what the 49ers potentially could get in return for Jimmy Garoppolo.
After only one season in Carolina, Sam Darnold’s tenure is in question as the club agreed to send a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for Mayfield. The two teams will also share the fiscal responsibility of the $18 million due to the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
While Garoppolo’s 35-16 overall record as a starter in San Francisco is much more impressive than Mayfield’s 29-30 record in Cleveland, the conditional pick indicates what could be on the table so late in the offseason.
Garoppolo remains on the 49ers' roster, but coach Kyle Shanahan shared in June that he still believes the quarterback will eventually be traded. With Garoppolo set to be cleared to throw a football by the end of the month, interest in the 30-year old quarterback could be renewed.
Garoppolo helped the 49ers reach two NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance in the last three seasons. After multiple injuries kept Garoppolo off the field, the club leveraged their future to move up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick.
The plan to trade Garoppolo in order to recoup some of the draft capital spent on the North Dakota State product was derailed when the veteran opted for shoulder surgery in March. Any team that had previously indicated interest in acquiring the play-caller retracted their offer.
If a conditional fifth-round pick is all the 49ers could get for Garoppolo, would it be wiser to keep him as an option as a backup? Would the quarterback be willing to remain in Santa Clara instead of starting anew with another franchise?
After trading Mayfield to the Panthers, the Browns could again be in the market for a quarterback with the short-term future of Deshaun Watson uncertain. The NFL has yet to determine if the quarterback will be suspended for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, which could leave the team with Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs as the only quarterbacks in Cleveland.
The Browns could be an attractive landing spot for Garoppolo that includes a talented roster and a young, offensive-minded head coach in Kevin Stefanski, but what the 49ers would accept in exchange is unknown. While all indications point to Lance being the 49ers starting quarterback in 2021, Garoppolo's future depends on what the club deems reasonable compensation in a trade.