The 49ers are less than two hours away from making their franchise-altering selection at No. 3 overall, and, at least for now, Jimmy Garoppolo still is alive and a 49er.
While many expect the 49ers to trade the oft-injured starting quarterback during the 2021 NFL Draft, San Francisco reportedly would need to be overwhelmed to trade the 29-year-old. After the Denver Broncos' trade to acquire Teddy Bridgewater on Wednesday. the potential landing spots for Garoppolo have shrunk.
The New England Patriots remain the most obvious potential landing spot, but that would require Garoppolo to restructure his contract and waive his no-trade clause. Garoppolo being traded back to the Patriots seems like an obvious fit, but there could be a potential roadblock.
Boston Sports Journal's and longtime Patriots reported Greg Bedard reported Thursday that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't like Bill Belichick and that could be part of the hang-up in a Garoppolo trade.
"I also have heard from sources that Shanahan doesn't really like Belichick all that much," Bedard writes. "Mike Shanahan and Belichick get along well, and Kyle goes along for that reason and this has devolved into one big pissing match between the two, similar to Belichick's old rivalry with agent Tom Condon that caused the Brandon Lloyd deal to take forever."
It's fair to take this report with a grain of salt. During Super Bowl LIV Opening Night, Shanahan said he spoke with Belichick following the Atlanta Falcons' collapse in Super Bowl LI and Belichick "has been great."
“It was really cool that he reached out to me after the Super Bowl just to talk,” Shanahan said Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night. “I was able to spend some time with him at the  NFL combine, which I was very appreciative of. Any time that guy talks, everyone in the world listens. That was especially true for someone like me who aspired to be a head coach. He has been great. It’s not like we talk a ton or anything, but he’s a humble guy who likes to help people.”
Of course, Belichick and Shanahan, along with 49ers general manager John Lynch, worked out the trade that landed Garoppolo in San Francisco in 2017.
"I know Bill was a big fan [of Garoppolo], and I mean, I enjoyed talking to him about it," Shanahan told reporters before the 49ers' visit to Foxboro last season. "It helped me out with stuff, stuff that will probably stay between Bill and I, but he was a great guy to deal with. It's always hard to get trades done, but when you deal with someone who's just about football and pretty simple and everything else, it's easy to get stuff done. That’s why it's really fun dealing with someone like Bill when you're trying to make two teams better."
Perhaps the initial Garoppolo trade was a product of circumstance -- both Shanahan's need for a QB not named Brian Hoyer, and Belichick's need to try and rid himself of some of the palace drama surrounding himself, Garoppolo, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft -- and not of mutual respect.
The 49ers don't need to trade Garoppolo, and would like to have a competent quarterback on the roster along with the rookie they draft at No. 3 overall in order to ensure a solid depth chart at the sport's most important position. The Patriots, on the other hand, are in need of a quarterback to compete with Cam Newton during camp, and Garoppolo is the likely fit for obvious reasons.
But it's unclear if the 49ers truly want to move Garoppolo and if they'd be willing to send him back to New England.