Whether or not it's a smokescreen, the 49ers have made it quite clear over the last few days they don't intend to trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo before the start of the 2021 NFL season.
Of course, that can always change if a desperate team comes calling with an offer general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan can't refuse.
After trading their 2021 third-round pick, and 2022 and 2023 first-round draft picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 in next month's NFL draft, the 49ers likely will use Garoppolo as a chance to recoup some of the draft assets they parted with.
It remains to be seen if they can get a first-round draft pick for Garoppolo, who is coming off an injury-plagued 2020 season and a poor performance in Super Bowl LIV, but MMQB's Albert Breer reported Wednesday in a Mailbag article that the price the 49ers are seeking right now is a top pick.
" ... I was told that, yes, it’d take a first-round pick for the Niners to listen at this point, which of course would be nice for San Francisco to have after it yielded its firsts in 2022 and ’23 to jump from No. 12 to 3," Breer wrote. "That, of course, is subject to change. Maybe a veteran stopgap they see as comparable to Garoppolo could come along, and they’d then be motivated to move him (I’m not sure who that would be). Maybe the rookie will arrive and blow everyone away over the summer, and the Niners will want to play him."
Now, if Garoppolo starts ahead of the rookie quarterback that Lynch and Shanahan draft with the No. 3 pick, and he helps lead the 49ers back to the Super Bowl, his value could skyrocket and net San Francisco the future first-round pick they desire.
But as NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote Wednesday, a more likely package would be a future third-round pick and a current player on a team's roster that was a recent third-round draft pick.
That type of package would be similar to what the Kansas City Chiefs received for Alex Smith when they traded him a year after drafting Patrick Mahomes in the first round.
Maiocco hypothesized that potential packages could look like defensive end Chase Winovich, who was chosen with a third-round pick in 2019, and this year's third-round draft pick (No. 96 overall) from the New England Patriots or running back David Montgomery, another 2019 third-round pick, and the No. 83 overall draft pick in April's draft.
Both of those packages are a far cry from a first-round pick, but according to Maiocco, that's the scenario that resembles the 49ers' current situation.
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So unless the 49ers lower their asking price, the most likely outcome is holding on to Garoppolo for the 2021 season and finding a new home for him next winter when more teams are actively looking for a quarterback.
And if all goes well for Lynch and Shanahan, Garoppolo will have raised his trade value with a bounce-back season, and they can acquire the first-round draft pick they are looking for.