Report: Patriots gauged trade price for Jimmy G at draft

Jimmy Garoppolo

Prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots seemed like a logical trade destination for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after San Francisco had traded up to the No. 3 spot to select a quarterback for the future.

In his new book "It's Better To Be Feared," ESPN's Seth Wickersham noted that the Patriots called the 49ers to gauge the price to acquire Garoppolo prior to the draft. According to Wickersham, the Patriots wanted to see if the quarterback Bill Belichick drafted to eventually replace Tom Brady could be had for a second-round pick, the same price the 49ers paid to get Garoppolo from New England in 2017.

However, the 49ers reportedly had a higher price tag for Garoppolo and the Patriots were more interested in drafting one of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 class.

Via Wickersham:

"There was an informal call between a high-level representative of the Patriots and a high-level 49ers official. What was Garoppolo's price? New England wondered if a second-rounder would suffice -- calling it even from 2017. But the 49ers wouldn't take less than a first. For the moment, at least, San Francisco was counting on Garoppolo to be the quarterback for 2021. The Patriots reached the same conclusion as San Francisco -- they liked the potential of the available first-round quarterbacks -- and moved on."

Of course, the 49ers selected Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick while the Patriots snapped up Alabama's Mac Jones at No. 15 overall, weaving another tangled web between the two historic franchises.

RELATED: Schrock's observations: More than 49ers' season hinges on Lance

The 49ers entered the season believing they would be Super Bowl contenders with Garoppolo at the helm, giving Lance the time the raw signal-caller needed to develop without the pressure to deliver immediately. But after four straight losses and with the season teetering, calls continue to get louder for the Lance era to begin sooner than coach Kyle Shanahan expected.

Jones won the starting job over Cam Newton in training camp and has been the best of the rookie quarterbacks through seven weeks.

Lance has seen action in four games, including a Week 5 start in a 17-10 loss against the Arizona Cardinals when Garoppolo was inactive due to a calf injury. Lance has shown flashes of his talent, but it's clear the rookie is far from a finished product.

With the 49ers at 2-4, now might be the time for the 49ers to turn to Lance. They traded two first-round picks to move up to select him, so doing what is best for him is what's best for the franchise. As Jones has shown early on, allowing a rookie quarterback to learn, fail and succeed on Sundays can accelerate the development of a young signal-caller if done properly.

As for Garoppolo, the clock has been ticking on his time in Santa Clara ever since the 49ers made their blockbuster draft trade. It's unclear where his next NFL act will take place, but it won't be a return to 1 Patriot Place.

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