Everything happens for a reason, or so they say.
That much certainly appears true for the 49ers, who had the parameters of a trade agreement in place back in early March that would have sent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the Washington Commanders, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday, citing sources.
The deal came about at this year’s NFL scouting combine, per Schefter, and would have involved “multiple draft picks." But talks quickly dissolved when Garoppolo opted to undergo shoulder surgery.
For reference, the combine began March 1 and its last day was March 7. Garoppolo had surgery on March 8 -- a move 49ers general manager John Lynch said came as a surprise to the team when he spoke to reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings later that month, and one he admitted derailed any talks of trading the veteran signal-caller.
“The decision that was made for Jimmy to have surgery certainly cause a lot of teams to pause and at least slow down the process to do their due diligence,” Lynch said. “He made a decision for his long term, along with doctors, that he needed that surgery.
“We all blessed that, but that did affect his market. So now we hold onto him.”
ESPN's Tim Keown and Nick Wagoner also reported last week that the 49ers thought a Garoppolo-to-Washington trade was likely prior to the quarterback's shoulder surgery.
The Commanders ultimately ended up trading two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts for Carson Wentz in a move that has worked out splendidly for the team so far.
And despite the 49ers remaining steadfast in their attempts to trade Garoppolo throughout the following months, everything worked out OK for them, too, as he now is starting in place of Trey Lance after the 2021 No. 3 overall pick suffered a broken ankle in Week 2.
But three draft picks for Garoppolo, what Washington ended up dealing for Wentz, would have been quite the haul considering how the quarterback market moved afterward.
In the weeks after the Wentz trade, the Carolina Panthers nabbed Baker Mayfield by surrendering only a 2024 conditional draft pick to the Cleveland Browns, while the Colts acquired former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan for a 2022 third-round pick.
No other trade partners came forward for Garoppolo after the quarterback shuffle, and that ended up being a good thing for the 49ers.
The 30-year-old agreed to take a pay cut to remain with the team as Lance’s backup once the preseason had concluded and now looks to lead them to the playoffs once again with their young starter sidelined for the season.
And in retrospect, the team’s failure to trade Garoppolo might end up feeling pretty great … baby.