With a little over three weeks to go, the 49ers are the most interesting team in the 2021 NFL Draft. After making a blockbuster trade up from No. 12 to No. 3 overall, the 49ers are about to pick their quarterback of the future.
So, what does that mean for Jimmy Garoppolo? NBC Sports' Peter King isn't buying any Garoppolo trade talk right now.
"The 49ers maintain privately they’ll keep Garoppolo, and for 2021, I believe them," King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column. "This trade for the third pick in the draft is meant to enrich the quarterback position more than it is to dump Garoppolo.
"In fact, I’ll be very surprised if they move the oft-injured incumbent, because how can you count on a rookie to play at a high level five months after the draft? You can’t."
Garoppolo, 29, is 22-8 as the 49ers' starting QB in the regular season and helped lead them to the Super Bowl in the 2019 season. But the best ability is availability, and that has been Garoppolo's biggest detriment. He hasn't stayed healthy in the NFL.
The 49ers are in win-now mode. They believe they have a championship-caliber team and Garoppolo can help them get there. It's just clear he isn't the long-term answer anymore in Santa Clara.
Another reason King doesn't believe Garoppolo will be moved this year is because of the New England Patriots. It's no secret the Patriots still think highly of their former QB. That doesn't mean they'll overpay for him this offseason.
"I’m not very bullish on the Patriots making a move for Garoppolo this year. At all," King wrote. "When Bill Belichick worked under Bill Parcells with the Giants, I know he had to hear Parcells harp on availability being more important than ability, and I just can’t see Belichick making a big investment (in a pick and in a contract) in a guy who’s missed 23 games in the last three years due to injury."
King could see the Patriots making a move for Garoppolo next offseason if they don't draft a QB in Round 1, but he doesn't see a reunion happening right now. It might be time to pencil in Garoppolo as the 49ers' Game 1 starter again this season, no matter how fans feel about their current QB.