The 49ers have likely set an internal value of what it would take for them to trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the coming days.
But it also might be a moving target based on a lot of factors, including how needs are bound to change among interested teams before, during and after the draft.
Let’s take the New England Patriots, for instance. The Patriots are widely expected to add a quarterback to compete with Cam Newton.
With their first-round selection scheduled for No. 15 overall on Thursday night in the 2021 NFL Draft, New England coach Bill Belichick could look to fill that need with the acquisition of a veteran quarterback before the draft.
If the Patriots make the move before the draft begins, then they do not have to trade up and they can select a player at a different position in their original draft slot.
If the 49ers play hard ball, they could lose a prospective trade partner if the Patriots feel compelled to trade up to draft. Or, perhaps, a strong quarterback option remains available when they pick at No. 15.
There are other considerations for the 49ers and any interested team when it comes to a possible trade of Garoppolo.
The 49ers already have nine scheduled draft picks. As their roster is currently situated, it seems unlikely more than five or six rookies will make the 53-man roster after an offseason in which so many veteran players signed one-year contracts.
The 49ers should be aiming to build up their 2022 draft.
However, there figure to be a lot of teams over the next three days that will be willing to deal picks in this year’s draft to stockpile selections for next year.
There remains a lot of uncertainty about many of the prospects in this year’s draft due to the high volume of players who opted out of the 2020 season over safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As 49ers general manager John Lynch revealed this week, generally teams are able to conduct 350 thorough physicals with draft prospects. This year, that number was cut to 150 physicals.
Teams around the NFL do not feel as strongly about football evaluations and health information as during a normal draft. There should be fewer questions and unknowns about the prospects a year from now.
Therefore, it makes sense for the 49ers -- and most teams -- to want more picks for the future.
Another element that complicates a potential trade of Garoppolo is his contract.
Garoppolo has a no-trade clause. That part is not a big deal, considering Garoppolo knows he has no future with the 49ers and would assuredly want an opportunity to go to a team that expresses a desire to have him on the team.
It is also obvious Garoppolo wants to collect his entire non-guaranteed scheduled pay of $25.5 million.
The Patriots have $15.4 million in cap space, so they would not be able to fit Garoppolo on the team without restructuring his deal or finding cap savings in other places.
The Carolina Panthers’ trade this week of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos might serve as a template for a Garoppolo deal.
The Panthers picked up only a sixth-round pick for Bridgewater. Moreover, they agreed to pay $7 million of Bridgewater’s 2021 salary. The Broncos are on the hook for the other $3 million.
The 49ers might have to enter into a similar agreement to move Garoppolo. Such a move would open the door for the new 49ers quarterback to take over in Week 1 and remove any potential drama or unknowns from the 49ers' locker room.
And while it would force the 49ers to cut another large check to Garoppolo, it would also save considerable money that can eventually be rolled over into contract extensions for Fred Warner, Nick Bosa and others.